Kale may have had its heyday in 2013 in chips, juices, and salads, but its cruciferous cousin cauliflower is shaping up to be the next big vegetable ingredient for 2014. Already, praises of the vegetable’s popularity and versatility have showed up in The Huffington Post food trend predictions and at Metro News, where culinary trendologist Christine Couvelier said that cauliflower will surpass kale in buzz and in menu appearances this year.
Hints of cauliflower’s popularity have already been seen in restaurants like April Bloomfield and Ken Friedman’s Salvation Taco, where a roasted cauliflower taco topped with mixed grains and curried crema is a menu favorite, despite the complete lack of traditional taco filling. And at Dirt Candy in New York City's East Village, chef Amanda Cohen looks forward to the white vegetable’s day in the spotlight.
"Cauliflower is full of flavor and when treated properly, has great texture. It's definitely one of the most versatile species in the vegetable kingdom," said Cohen. "I'd love to see cauliflower become the next 'it' vegetable. It's time for this mutant to take center stage."
Her vegetarian restaurant used to offer a meatless chicken and waffles using cauliflower. The menu has since rotated, but she said that her regular customers have been begging for the dish’s return.
Versatility is one of the big draws of cauliflower, as it can be utilized as either a side or a main dish and "imitate" steak or chicken because of its unique texture. Brooklyn, N.Y.-based nutritionist Jackie Newgent said she hopes cauliflower will become big because it’s low-calorie and high in vitamin C and antioxidants. Her favorite cauliflower recipe is her own cauliflower "steak" Parmesan, which uses thick slices of the vegetable topped with mozzarella cheese and marinara sauce to create a healthier spin on a classic Italian comfort food.