Kale, Brussels sprouts and broccoli have led the menu charge over the past several years.

But a fair-haired sibling is taking the vegetable side of the plate by storm. Cauliflower is king right now.

At my own house, steamed broccoli was my go-to when my kids were little. But as cauliflower gained favor, I started to add it to big pans of roasted vegetables, and I was surprised at how quickly the cauliflower florets disappeared, even before the sweet butternut squash or wedges of tender red onion. We’re also seeing the vegetable roasted in big chunks or grilled like a steak.

Its elevation to a riced side dish (lovely if you caramelize chopped leeks and a garlic clove or two before stirring the chopped or grated cauliflower into the skillet) or even as a pizza crust (I have to hand it to whoever thought of that variation) is pretty spectacular.

Like other members of its cruciferous family, cauliflower has a bitter edge to its flavor. But when roasted with a nice drizzle of olive oil, it becomes almost buttery — really quite comforting and delicious.

Cauliflower can be a blank canvas for all sorts of seasonings, transforming into a luscious Indian side dish with sweet spices and tomatoes or pickled with hot chiles as a condiment for hot Italian sandwiches or tacos. And much more, of course.

Lisa Golden Schroeder is a food stylist and writer. Find her at foodesigns.com.

 

Garlic Lemon Barbecued Chicken With Roasted Cauliflower

Serves 4.

Note: Substitute jarred roasted garlic paste rather than roasting the garlic, if you want to save time. From Lisa Golden Schroeder.

• 1 head garlic

• 1 tbsp. olive oil

• 4 to 6 (about 1 1/4 lb.) bone-in chicken thighs

• Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

• 1 head cauliflower, cut into large florets, then thickly sliced

• 1 tbsp. olive oil

• 1 1/2 c. barbecue sauce

• 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

• 1 1/2 tsp. grated lemon peel

• 3 green onions, chopped

Directions

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Slice the top off of garlic, just exposing the cloves. Place on a 6-inch square of foil; drizzle with olive oil and wrap foil around garlic.

Arrange chicken on foil-lined baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Place chicken in oven; place wrapped garlic on oven rack next to baking sheet in oven. Toss cauliflower with oil; season with salt and pepper. Arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet and place on another rack in the oven. Roast for about 35 minutes, stirring cauliflower occasionally, until chicken is no longer pink near bone (165 degrees internally), cauliflower is tender, and garlic feels very soft when pressed.

Squeeze garlic cloves from their papery skins; mash with fork in small bowl. Stir in barbecue sauce, lemon juice and lemon peel until well blended. Brush half the sauce on the chicken; save the remainder to serve at the table. Serve chicken with cauliflower, sprinkled with green onions.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 420 Fat 12 g

Sodium 1,200 mg Carbohydrates 54 g

Saturated fat 2 g Added sugars 30 g

Protein 24 g Cholesterol 95 mg

Dietary fiber 4 g

Exchanges per serving: 2 vegetable, 3 carb, 3 lean protein, 1 fat.

 

Oven-Roasted Vegetable Linguine

Serves 4.

Note: From Lisa Golden Schroeder.

• 1 lb. fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-in. pieces

• 1 (8-oz.) pkg. button mushrooms, halved

• 1 1/2 c. fresh cauliflower florets

• 3 plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped

• 6 garlic cloves, halved

• 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided

• Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

• 8 oz. uncooked whole-wheat linguine

• 1 (15-oz.) can chickpeas (also called garbanzos), rinsed, drained

• 1/2 c. (2 oz.) shredded Asiago or Parmesan cheese

Directions

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil. Arrange asparagus, mushrooms, cauliflower, tomatoes and garlic on pan; drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned and tender.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain well; toss in serving bowl with beans and remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil.

Serve pasta topped with roasted vegetables and cheese.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 530

Fat 21 g

Sodium 520 mg

Carbohydrates 73 g

Saturated fat 5 g

Added sugars 0 g

Protein 22 g

Cholesterol 14 mg

Dietary fiber 14 g

Exchanges per serving: 3 starch, 2 carb, 2 medium-fat protein, 1 ½ fat.