This is the best version of one of the most talked about sauces on the internet. Cauliflower sauce. We have tried and tested lots of variations from many different blogs, books and videos. Shout out to this youtube video being the main inspiration behind our technique. This journey has lead us to come up with this recipe, we certainly didn’t invent this sauce, but we haven’t tried one better to date.
Often paired with pasta, this is a very common sauce to see on the internet and is typically made Vegan. It has gained its popularity as healthier alternative to creamy dairy sauces. Due to this, most non-vegans and non-fitfam people have steered clear of this sauce mainly because the thought of Vegan and/or healthy alternatives means lack of taste and flavour. Well can tell you with great authority that this is simply not the case (we have tried and tested tonnes of cauliflower sauces). You can make a Cauliflower sauce Vegan and it will taste great, you can make a Cauliflower sauce healthy and it will still taste great.
This recipe is not Vegan and not created with health in mind, although it can be made both healthy and Vegan with some small subtle changes. This recipe teaches you how to make the tastiest Cauliflower sauce there is with no exceptions.
How Do you Make a sauce out of Cauliflower?
A cauliflower sauce is really quite simple to make with only 3 major steps. These steps are:
- Sautée Cauliflower pieces
- Simmer the cauliflower in vegetable stock until soft
- Blend the cauliflower with cooking liquor until smooth and sauce like
These are typical techniques used to make a restaurant quality Purée of Cauliflower which goes absolutely fantastic with Scallops, Prawns and white meat. This recipe does need a blender of some sort. A worktop blender would work the best, but a smooth consistency can easily be achieve with an immersion (hand held) blender. In contrast to the Vegan counterparts this sauce becomes decadent with the addition of butter, full fat milk and double (heavy) cream. To make this a purée simply hold back on the addition of the cooking liquor a little bit.
It’s very difficult to mess up this kind of sauce. The only issue you could have is to perhaps burn the cauliflower when sautéing. The way to avoid this is to simply turn down the heat and turn up the patience. Other than this it’s really straightforward.
Ok, I want to make the sauce. How can I eat it?
The flavour of the base sauce is really really good, like eat straight out of the pan good. Don’t be fooled by the fact it’s cauliflower, it’s extremely creamy and full of flavour from the stock. This sauce is essentially a base recipe which can be enhanced with a variety of flavours from all over the world.
Cauliflower in general takes on different flavours very well. It’s a great vessel to transport dishes into another dimension. For example, it’s possible to hold back on the the cooking liquor to create a thicker consistency, now you have a decadent Purée to pair with delicate scallops, white fish and white meat. It’s possible to add more cooking liquor to create a pourable sauce that can be drenched over a bowl of penne – topped with some fresh chives, parsley and parmesan this is a quality little dish. Moving in a similar direction, add a homemade Masala paste to the Cauliflower sauce base and you have yourself a great tasting curry sauce, just like that.
The best pairing options we’ve found for this sauce are the following:
- Creamy Cauliflower Sauce Pasta with fresh herbs
- Cauliflower Curry Sauce with a homemade Masala paste
- Michelin Star style Cauliflower Purée to pair with delicate fish / meat.
- Cajun spiced Cauliflower soup.
The limit to your cauliflower sauce is never-ending. Play with it and see what you can come up with.
The Ultimate Puréed Cauliflower Sauce
- Large Saucepan
- 1 Large Cauliflower Cut into small equal parts.
- 400 ml Good quality vegetable stock knorr veg stock pot is good if not using homemade, use one pot with 400ml boiling water
- 80 ml Double Cream using plant cream if going Vegan
- 100 ml Full fat Jersey Milk (Grahams) if not Grahams, any full fat milk. If Vegan then any unsweetened Nut, Oat or Soy Milk. Soy milk is neutral.
- 20 g Unsalted Butter Use groundnut oil for Vegan
- 1 tsp English Mustard to add acid, creates balance without a mustard flavour.
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp Freshly cracked black pepper essential for fresh cracked
- 1/4 tsp Freshly grated nutmeg essential
- Cut the cauliflower into equal sized chunks, roughly 1.5inches squared. It's more important they're all the same size so they cook at the same time.
- Measure out the milk, cream, mustard and nutmeg. Set to one side in separate dishes/Jugs.
- Weigh the butter
- Prepare the stock
Cooking the Cauliflower
- Put the large saucepan on a medium heat and add the butter, plus a dash of oil to prevent the butter from burning.
- Add the chopped cauliflower to to hot butter. Sautée until the florets become lightly golden, about 5-6 minutes stirring often. NOTE - Don't overcrowd the pan or they won't cook evenly. If your pan is small, try two batches.
- Add the vegetable stock to the sautéed cauliflower and bring to a simmer.
- Place a lid on and allow to cook at a simmer for about 10 minutes or until the caulifower is fork tender.NOTE - by fork tender we mean, take two forks. Find a large piece of Cauliflower and place on one fork, using the back of the fork press down on the Cauliflower. If it mushes easily it's ready to be puréed.
- Once the Cauliflower is fork tender add the milk of choice to the pan and incorporate with the stock. Cook for a further 2-3 minutes on a simmer.
- Once simmered for 2-3 minutes, drain into the container i.e. large glass bowl. We want to keep the cooking liquor (aka the soup).NOTE - you should have a colander full of soft Cauliflower and a glass bowl full of cooking liquor.
Making the Sauce
- Put the cooked cauliflower into a blender, or if using an immersion blender put back in the pan and blender carefully by hand. Blend until fully smooth with no lumps. Once blended you should be left with a thick purée.
- To loosen the Purée add about 100ml of the cooking liquor to the blender.
- Add 80ml of cream to the purée and blend a second time.
- If the sauce is too thick for you here, keep adding cooking liquor about 20ml at a time and blending in between. Do this until the desired texture and thickness is achieved. If you run out of liquor you can add more vegetable stock - try to avoid water or it will reduce the flavour.
- Add the mustard, nutmeg and pepper and blend once again.
- Taste. Check for seasoning. Add salt if it feels a little lacking in taste. A pinch of salt will bring it out.NOTE - If feeling REALLY decedant, add a knob of butter to really add richness and shine.
- Blend one last time.
- There you have it - freshly prepared, ULTIMATE cauliflower sauce.
- Sautéing the cauliflower in butter first generates brown bits. Brown bits = more flavour. Make sure you achieve this, but do not burn otherwise it will go bitter. Make sure the heat is not too high. Don't overcrowd the pan or they won't cook evenly. If your pan is small, try two batches.
- Cook the cauliflower in stock until fork tender, otherwise the Purée will not become smooth. By fork tender we mean, take two forks, find a large piece of Cauliflower and place it on one fork, using the back of the fork press down on the Cauliflower. If it mushes easily it's ready to be puréed.
- Drain the cauliflower into a bowl. We need the cooking liquor to enhance our purée.
- The cooking liquor is how you achieve a sauce like consistency. Add more or less depending on how thick or loose you want the sauce. For a purée, add less cooking liquor, for a pasta sauce add more etc. Judge it as you go, but only adjust the cooking liquor after you've added the cream so you know where you're at.
- Finally, only add salt at the end after you've tasted it. It may not need it, but it may do. it depends on the stock you use. Taste and check. If it's "flat" add a little salt, combine well and taste again. Keep doing this until the it's well seasoned, but not "salty". If you can actually taste salt, you've over done it. Remember you can't undo the adding of salt.