Cauliflower-Cheese Rissoles -- a little like Vegetarian Crab Cakes


Cauliflower-Cheese Rissoles -- a little like Vegetarian Crab Cakes

Experimenting recently with ”Riced Cauliflower,” which has come into a certain vogue, particularly among vegetarians and gluten avoiders, I tried making a vegetarian “meatball” for my granddaughter Clara, who does not eat meat. In the course of those trials, I realized I can make something as useful as Riced Cauliflower, but much cheaper, as well as easier to source, from actual cauliflower. And I could then turn that into a baked cauliflower-cheese cake, or “rissole.” With a little sauce over it, that rissole makes a very nice appetizer, hot or at room temperature. Conceivably I could also make a larger cauliflower-cheese “burger” by shaping the cake differently and serve it on a toasted bun..


Here is the appetizer rissole version, small, somewhat flat, baked cakes. With a little sauce, like a rémoulade for example, the rissoles are suggestive of vegetarian crab cakes and make a very nice appetizer. For this demonstration, I used my current favorite rémoulade sauce, “Rose Sauce,” which I described in a separate blog post. I’m repeating the recipe here for convenience. Other cold sauces, or even a cocktail sauce, would also work with these rissoles.


It’s convenient to make these rissoles ahead of time, then serve them at room temperature, or quickly reheat them in the oven to serve them warm. Similarly, the sauce, which is very easy, should be made ahead.


The recipe, based on a small cauliflower, makes enough rissoles for appetizers for 4 to 6 people. To make a larger batch, use a medium-sized cauliflower and increase the other ingredients, except for the egg, by 50%. Or double the entire recipe.


The rissoles


1 small cauliflower (about 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 pounds, including leaves)

1 cup (lightly packed) grated cheddar cheese

1/2 cup dry unseasoned breadcrumbs, plus 2 extra tablespoons for finishing

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

A large pinch of cayenne

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons water

2 teaspoons Dijon or brown mustard

1 egg, lightly beaten


Cut away the leaves from the cauliflower and cut cauliflower pieces and their stems off the main stalk. Place those on a microwaveable plate and cook in the microwave at full power for three minutes at a time up to a total of 12 minutes. Test for doneness by cutting off a little piece and biting into it. If it’s tender, cool the cauliflower. If still crunchy, roast another 3 minutes.


Put a third of the cooked cauliflower pieces on a cutting board and chop them finely with a chef’s knife. Transfer to a bowl, and do the same chopping twice more for the remaining cauliflower.


To the chopped cauliflower in the bowl, add all the remaining ingredients except the egg, and mix together well. Taste the mixture (before the egg is added), to be sure the salt is enough, since cauliflowers vary in size. Add a little salt if necessary. Beat the egg lightly in a bowl and combine it thoroughly into the cauliflower mixture. The mixture is somewhat sticky. It’s easier to handle if refrigerated for half an hour or more.


Set oven for 325 degrees. Grease or oil a baking sheet, such as a cookie pan. Put the extra 2 tablespoons of breadcrumbs on a small plate. With hands (rub them with a little oil to make the mixture stick to them less), make small cakes, all about the same size, of the cauliflower mixture and touch them on the breadcrumbs plus sprinkle them with a little more of the crumbs. Flatten cakes somewhat and place them on the greased pan.


Bake the cakes ten minutes in the preheated oven. Slide a thin metal spatula under them and turn them over. Bake another ten minutes, then turn the cakes again. Bake for a final ten minutes, or until they are looking a little golden.


Serve warm,or at room temperature, arranged on a platter, accompanied with a sauce for spooning over them. Or they can be refrigerated, then reheated briefly in the oven on a flat pan to serve hot.


Quick Rose Sauce (a Rémoulade)


3 tablespoons sour cream

2 tablespoons tomato ketchup

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

1 teaspoon prepared horseradish

A large pinch of salt


Mix all ingredients together well. Place in a decorative small bowl to serve with the cauliflower rissoles.


Follow Us @donderoskitchen