Not Quite Mom’s: Creamy Chipotle Cauliflower

roasted cauliflower with pepitas

When I was a kid my mom would make a dish she called ‘Hungarian Cauliflower’.  Steamed cauliflower, topped with strained yogurt and toasty bread crumbs with a sprinkle of bright paprika. I haven’t had it in years.  In fact, I hadn’t even thought about it in years – until a few weeks ago.

My mom’s Hungarian Cauliflower was earthy, crunchy, creamy and delicious – a weeknight favorite. It’s funny how old favorites fizzle, though, when you move out on your own.  I can’t tell you why I’ve never made Hungarian Cauliflower, or the famous family ‘Albergetti’ (something akin to homemade Spaghetti-O’s) or even my mom’s potato-chip topped chicken noodle casserole.

But when I stepped into Michael Schlow’s new Boston restaurant, Tico, I can assure you that Hungarian Cauliflower was the last thing on my mind.  I was looking for spicy two textured beef tacos, and sweet tres leches ice cream … not a blast from the past.

Then a small plate of creamy, smoky cauliflower florets arrived on our table, and I was transported. The cauliflower was roasted, not steamed, and the creamy sauce laced with chipotle. But the food memory was there nonetheless.  Tico’s cauliflower was topped with a bit of crumbly, salty Mexican cheese, and crunchy fava beans – not exactly bread crumbs, but quite a flavor combination.

After that meal at Tico, I bought a head of cauliflower thinking I’d make Mom’s Hungarian Cauliflower. Of course, as soon as I got home I realized that we had no bread crumbs – not even a lonely crust of bread from which to make bread crumbs.  Typical of my haphazard shopping. But then again, most of my recipe innovations arise from missing ingredients.

So I roasted the cauliflower and tossed it with chipotle-laced yogurt, sprinkled it with a bit of salty cheese, and a few pumpkin seeds from the back of the cupboard. And I have to say, it turned out quite wonderfully. This recipe has all the nutty flavor and smokey punch of the dish at Tico and all of the homey creaminess of my mom’s cauliflower. And even better… this version is seriously healthy.

Creamy Chipotle Cauliflower

Serves 4 as a side dish

1 medium head cauliflower

1 tablespoon olive oil

salt and pepper

3/4 cup fat free Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon bottled chipotle hot sauce

1/4 cup pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)

1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Cut the cauliflower into bite-sized florets.  Toss the cauliflower with the oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Arrange the cauliflower in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast about 25 minutes until browned on the edges. Cool slightly.

Meanwhile, mix together the yogurt and the hot sauce. Arrange the pepitas on a baking sheet and roast in the 400 degree oven for 3-5 minutes, until lightly toasted. Toss the cauliflower with the yogurt mixture and top with the cheese and pepitas.  Serve warm.

Published in: on May 19, 2011 at 6:42 pm  Comments (15)  
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15 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Roasted cauliflowers with yoghurt sounds and looks really tasty and healthy!

  2. Isn’t food lovely the way that it can reach back into the furthest back of your mind and transport you? I love the sound of the Hungarian cauliflower too! 🙂

  3. Wow – this looks good! I’m always trying to find a good way to get my kids to eat vegetables… same old story. This looks like a winner for them!

  4. I make a lebanese cauliflower fritter with a tahini sauce that is devoured here but i was looking for something new to try and this one is it! Sounds delicious and full of flavor as well. My son’s babysitter was Hungarian and made us a cauliflower soup that I still remember!

  5. This sound delicious! I love oven-roasted cauliflower but never go beyond that. The crunchy pepitas must be delicious mixed into these.

  6. Oh wow. Every cauliflower combination you write about sounds terrific. I can’t decide which one sounds the yummiest, so I am leaning towards cooking each one of them individually.

  7. I just twittered in… and I am so glad I did. This sounds delicious, my daughter and I are both fans of cauliflower… so I will try and WOW her with your recipe…Sorry in advance…if I screw it up!
    Take care…
    I will let you know how it turns out. Happy Friday!

  8. I absolutely adore cauliflower and this looks so so good! I think it might be my dinner tonight….

  9. What a lovely dish. Roasted cauliflowers with yoghurt make a great combination.

    Have a great weekend.

  10. this sounds so good! my hungarian/german grandfather would always steam green beans, top with sour cream, and dill + bread crumbs. similar in concept, and that homey feeling 🙂

  11. I LOVE this recipe, Katie! 🙂 How creamy and homey and scrumptious. 🙂

  12. hmmm, my tiny plastic co-writers and I live just outside of Boston. So we could either hoof it over to Tico, or take a crack at this bad boy ourselves. ‘Love the unusual combo of ingredients and that we’ve never even heard of such a thing before. It’d be easy enough to throw a vegan yogurt substitute in there and voilà! Comfort food is definitely the way to go – looking forward to finding more goodies on here.

  13. I would have never, ever thought of that. It sounds heavenly!

  14. pepitas, yogurt and a great combo I would have never thoght of!! thanks for sharing


  15. this sounds wonderful! I’ll bookmark it so we can make it one of these evenings for dinner. 🙂

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