red sauce cauliflower

There is something inexplicable about food trends. They start somewhere, in the kitchen of a chef, or a notable food trendsetter, and they then become huge – and my concept of huge has drastically changed since I moved to the United States! Fads catch on way more widely than I have ever experienced before, and many of my friends are influenced in a way or another…

Most of the time, food trends spin off from an already familiar food ingredient or concept, and from what I read, most of them are health related. We believe that following the trend will improve our health. Recent health related trends include Gluten-free or Paleo diets, and increased consumption (and recipes!) of vegetables such as kale.

Now, it’s cauliflower’s time in the food-trend spotlight, and I feel compelled to offer you a recipe or two with this unsexy but suddenly “it vegetable”. So here it is for you!

This is a family recipe – I have been eating this quick and rewarding dish since I was a child, and it’s an excellent way of spicing up this otherwise mild-tasting ingredient.

Prep and Total time: 23 minutes

Serves 4 (appetizer or side dish)



  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup canned tomatoes (or a couple of fresh tomatoes, diced)
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • To taste, hot chili pepper flakes (optional but recommended)
  • 1 cauliflower (usually 1 1/2 to 2 lb.)
  • A couple of basil leaves (totally optional – I always forget! Recommended especially if you skip the hot chili pepper)



  • Large pot
  • Colander
  • Chef’s knife
  • Cutting board
  • Large skillet or sauté pan (12 inches wide, I prefer non-stick)
  • splatter screen
 ingredients cauliflower
In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, in a skillet or sauté pan, heat the oil with the minced garlic for about 1-2 minutes over high heat, until the garlic starts to sizzle. Add the tomato sauce or diced tomatoes and salt, stir and wait until it bubbles.  garlic tomato sauce
 Lower the heat and let it gently boil for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. (You may need a couple of more minutes if you have fresh, watery tomatoes, as you need the sauce to reach a thickened tomato-sauce consistency.) Add optional hot chili pepper to taste.  Use a screen for splattering.  cooking tomato sauce

Meanwhile, clean and dice the cauliflower into 1.5-inch cubes. Toss into the boiling water and cook for about 5-6 minutes, until still firm.

 steamed cauliflower
Drain and toss into the previously prepared tomato sauce.  cauliflower red sauce
Sauté the cauliflower over medium-high heat for about 7-8 minutes, until the sauce is almost absorbed by the cauliflower: the appearance will be juicy but not watery.Taste and season more if needed.

Toward the end, toss in a couple of roughly cut basil leaves for a splash of color and pop of flavor, if desired.

 cauliflower red cooking
cauliflower in red sauce

Buon Appetito!


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