Kid-friendly Savory Cauliflower Kugel Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Recipe: Savory Cauliflower Kugel

Recipe: Savory Cauliflower Kugel

Savory Cauliflower Kugel

by Dylan Sabuco
Photo by Nick with his Pic/Shutterstock.com
prep time
10 minutes
cook time
40 minutes
makes
4-6 servings

Fun Food Story

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Savory Cauliflower Kugel

Do you know what Chef Dylan’s been up to lately? He’s been noodling on kugels, that’s what! And there is so much to explore and discover in this classic Ashkenazi Jewish dish. So, what exactly are kugels? Depending on whether they’re savory or sweet (they can be either), you can think of them as casseroles or custardy puddings. Either way, kugels are made of eggs, fat, and starch (usually potatoes or noodles). 

Savory kugels, like the cauliflower-based one featured here, are served as main dishes or sides. Dessert ones typically involve noodles (or lokshen). There’s also a popular version known as Jerusalem kugel which is both sweet and savory (it has lots of pepper and caramelized sugar!) With such a range, the kugel gets lots of play in Ashkenazi Jewish culture. It’s that rare dish that works equally well as the star of the holiday table and as everyday comfort food. So, whether you’re preparing food for Hanukkah, Shabbat, or a regular ol’ Tuesday night, try your hand at a kugel!

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • bake :

    to cook food with dry heat, as in an oven.

  • chop :

    to cut something into small, rough pieces using a blade.

  • knife skills :

    Bear Claw (growl), Pinch, Plank, and Bridge (look out for trolls)

  • measure :

    to calculate the specific amount of an ingredient required using a measuring tool (like measuring cups or spoons).

  • preheat :

    to set an oven to the desired temperature a few minutes before cooking, so it reaches that temperature by the time you place the food in it.

  • sauté :

    to cook or brown food in a pan containing a small quantity of butter, oil, or other fat.

  • whisk :

    to beat or stir ingredients vigorously with a fork or whisk to mix, blend, or incorporate air.

Equipment Checklist

  • Oven
  • Baking dish, 8 x 11 (2 qt)
  • Large sauté pan
  • Cutting board + kid-safe knife
  • Dry measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Whisk
scale
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Ingredients

Savory Cauliflower Kugel

  • 1 small cauliflower head (white, yellow, or purple are all fine)
  • 2 green onions
  • 1/4 C butter **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub 3 T olive oil)**
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 pinch of black pepper
  • 4 eggs **(for EGG ALLERGY sub 1 pkg firm tofu)**
  • 1/2 C cottage cheese **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub dairy-free/nut-free cream cheese)**
  • 1/2 C sour cream **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub dairy-free/nut-free yogurt)**

Food Allergen Substitutions

Savory Cauliflower Kugel

  • Egg: For 4 eggs in Kugel, substitute 1 pkg of firm tofu.
  • Dairy: Substitute 3 T olive oil for 1/4 C butter in Kugel. Substitute dairy-free/nut-free cream cheese for cottage cheese in Kugel. Substitute dairy-free/nut-free yogurt for sour cream in Kugel

Instructions

Savory Cauliflower Kugel

1.
chop + sauté

Cut 1 cauliflower head into large dice and 2 green onions into small dice. Combine the cauliflower and green onions with 1/4 cup butter, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 pinch of black pepper in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Sauté the vegetables until lightly browned, about 8 to 10 minutes.

2.
measure + whisk

Crack 4 eggs into a large mixing bowl. Measure and add 1/2 cup cottage cheese and 1/2 cup sour cream to the bowl of eggs. Then, whisk the ingredients together until well combined. Add the sautéed vegetables and all the remaining butter from the pan to the egg mixture. Stir the ingredients gently until combined.

3.
preheat + bake

Preheat the oven to 350 F and prepare a baking dish by greasing it with a tablespoon of butter or cooking spray. Then, pour the kugel batter into the dish. Once the oven is preheated, place the baking dish in the oven and bake for 35 to 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown and no longer wet. Kugel is traditionally a noodle dish. Try this uniquely versatile version alongside your favorite sauce or side dish, like Israeli Chopped Salad (see recipe), and say "Beteavon" (bih-teh-ah-VOHN), which is Hebrew for "enjoy your meal!"

Surprise Ingredient: Cauliflower!

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Photo by Tetiana Maslovska/Shutterstock.com

Hi! I’m Cauliflower!

“I'm a vegetable with a head full of flowers—actually, flower buds. I'm a cauliflower, and my florets (also called curds) are a tight bunch! They are often white, but you might see cauliflowers with green, orange, and purple heads. We also have a variety called Romanesco broccoli (they like to be different), which is green with spiral, spiky-looking florets! Cauliflower is a great gluten-free substitute for a pizza crust, and you can make a yummy, low-carbohydrate version of mashed potatoes with me, too!"

History

  • Cauliflower is a cousin of kale, cabbage, brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, collard greens, and broccoli. These vegetables (including cauliflower) are descendants of the same wild vegetable called "Brassica oleracea." Brassica oleracea is native to the southern and western coasts of Europe (find these areas on your map!). 
  • Over several generations, farmers have selected different features of the Brassica oleracea. From these selections, each of the original species' modern-day relatives was born: cabbage, kale, brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, broccoli, collard greens, and cauliflower. 
  • These modern-day vegetables are called cultivars. They are different varieties of the same original plant bred to have desirable qualities for human purposes—in this case, to eat!
  • Cauliflower is quite a noble vegetable. History tells us that the French King Louis the 14th demanded that cauliflower be present at every feast.
  • China is the largest harvester of cauliflower in the world. China produces an estimated ten million tons of cauliflower and broccoli per year. 

Anatomy & Etymology

  • The head of the cauliflower (what we eat!) is actually undeveloped flowers! It's true! Each flower is bonded to its neighboring flower so that together, they form a tightly-packed head of "curds."
  • Cauliflowers can be purple, green, orange, yellow, or white!
  • Cauliflower develops coarse, green leaves that grow in a rosette shape. The leaves are attached to the stalk, which is centered and sturdy enough to hold the cauliflower's large, heavy white head.
  • These giant leaves grow up and over the cauliflower head to protect it. Cauliflower will stay white if farmers "blanch" it or cover the heads to shield them from the sun. When cauliflowers are the size of tennis balls, farmers cover them with their biggest outer leaves and tie them at the top. Farmers give the cauliflower leaves a haircut at harvest time and trim the huge leaves closer to the cauliflower head. 
  • If cauliflower heads are not covered as they grow, they will turn dull yellow. Yellow cauliflowers actually have MORE vitamins than white cauliflower because the sun has allowed the heads to develop phytonutrients or special plant vitamins. Heirloom varieties of cauliflower are naturally bright purple, green, or orange and are also high in phytonutrients.
  • Cauliflower is a bit of a picky vegetable. It doesn't like to grow in too hot or too cold temperatures. It also prefers a very comfortable environment free from pests like insects (as we imagine, would most veggies and fruits!). Cauliflower is especially prone to insect infestations. 
  • The word "cauliflower" may be from the French "chou-fleur" or from the Italian "cavolfiore," which both mean "cabbage flower." 

How to Pick, Buy, and Eat

  • Cauliflowers are picked when they have reached the expected size and texture.
  • When buying cauliflower, look for compact heads where the curds (individual florets) are not separated but tightly packed together. Avoid heads that have blemishes or spots on them.
  • Store raw cauliflower in a paper or plastic bag in the fridge for up to a week.
  • Cauliflowers can be eaten raw, cooked, or pickled. (They're delicious pickled!)
  • You can sauté cauliflower leaves in butter (just ask Nigella Lawson!).
  • You can also rice cauliflower florets or curds by pulsing them in a food processor for a great low-carb alternative to white rice.

Nutrition

  • One cup of raw cauliflower has more vitamin C than an orange!
  • Cauliflower has quercetin, a pigment that helps protect our veins and arteries, the tubes that transport our blood!
  • Cauliflower is high in fiber, which helps us digest our food. 
  • Our bodies are basically giant collections of cells. Every organ, every inch of skin, every body part is made up of millions of invisible cells that each have their own job in keeping us healthy. 
  • Antioxidants are nutrients that clean our body's house to keep our cells happy and healthy. Fruits and vegetables provide these antioxidants, and cauliflower is an excellent source, keeping our internal house clean and healthy

What is Kugel?

Photo by SMarina/Shutterstock.com
  • Kugel is a baked noodle or potato casserole or pudding created by Ashkenazi Jews in Germany sometime during the 12th or 13th centuries. The German word "kugel" means "ball," "globe," or "sphere" in English. The dish may have gotten its name from the baking dish shape it was cooked in, which may have been round or ring-shaped. 
  • Today, a savory version of the dish may consist of cooked Lokshen noodles (Jewish egg noodles) or potatoes combined with eggs, cottage cheese, sour cream, salt, pepper, and other seasonings. 
  • A sweet kugel may include noodles, eggs, cottage cheese, sour cream, sugar, cinnamon, and sometimes raisins. Savory or sweet ingredients are combined and baked in a square, rectangle, or round pan (even a Dutch oven!).  
  • Kugel is a traditional Ashkenazi Jewish dish served on Shabbat (Sabbath) and at Jewish holidays.

Let's Learn About Israel!

Photo by Haley Black
  • The State of Israel is a Middle East country. The Mediterranean Sea borders it to the west, Lebanon to its north, Syria to its northeast, Jordan to its east, and Egypt to its southwest.
  • Jerusalem is Israel's capital and largest city. 
  • The official language is Hebrew, but the Arabic language is also recognized.
  • The government of Israel is a unitary parliamentary republic and has a president, prime minister, and a legislature called the Knesset. Their currency is the Israeli shekel.
  • The country's total land area, according to Israeli law, is 8,522 square miles; however, the entire area under Israeli control, which includes the Palestinian-governed West Bank, is 10,733 square miles. The population is over 9.5 million. The majority of residents are Jewish, about 74 percent, and Arabs make up about 20 percent. 
  • The northernmost part of the country is snowy and covered in mountains, while the southern part is made up mostly of desert.
  • Israel's northern and coastal regions are hot and dry in the summers and cool and rainy in the winters. 
  • Israel's Dead Sea is the lowest spot on Earth, at 1,315 feet below sea level at its lowest point! This sea is saltier than ocean water and, as a result, you could easily float in it. However, animals cannot flourish in this salty environment. Other salt lakes around the world are in Djibouti (Africa), Utah, and McMurdo Dry Valleys (Antarctica). 
  • Wildlife in Israel is amazingly beautiful and varied. It includes the Arabian oryx, the Fire salamander, the Sand cat, the Arabian leopard, the Middle East tree frog, the Caracal, the Marbled polecat, the Mountain gazelle, and the Syrian spadefoot toad.
  • Israel is known as one of the world's leading exporters and growers of flowers. The climate is not, however, appropriate for growing vanilla orchids.
  • Per capita, Israel has more museums than any other city in the world. There is even an underwater museum at the site of a once-prominent port town. Visitors have to wear wetsuits, naturally.
  • Israeli inventions include USB flash drives and Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP).
  • An ice cream shop in Jaffa created hummus ice cream! The average Israeli eats about 2.6 gallons of ice cream per year, compared to 1.6 gallons per capita in Italy, the home of gelato!
  • Israeli cuisine consists of local dishes and those brought to Israel by Jewish immigrants from other countries. Many of these immigrants came from Europe, Africa, and other places in the Middle East. About one-half of Israeli Jews eat kosher, which means food prepared according to Jewish law. 
  • Shakshuka and other egg dishes are common for breakfast, along with fresh vegetables, fruits, salads, breads, and pastries. "Salat katzutz" (Israeli chopped salad) is a well-known dish in Israel. This chopped salad can be eaten by itself or added with hard-boiled eggs, fried eggplant slices, "amba" (pickled mango), and tahini sauce to pita bread to make a "sabich" sandwich.

What's It Like to Be a Kid in Israel?

  • Education is very important in Israel, and school is required for children ages 3 to 18. Kids may attend a state secular or religious (Jewish) school, an ultraorthodox Jewish school, or an Arab school. Language proficiency in Hebrew and English is required for high schoolers to get their Bagrut certificate to go on to higher education.
  • Soccer is the most popular sport for kids and basketball the second-most popular. They may also participate in tennis, swimming, gymnastics, and more. One of the traditional games kids play is Three Sticks. It involves jumping between three sticks laid on the ground that get moved further apart after each attempt. The goal is to not step on a stick or jump more than once in the space in-between. 
  • Families observe Jewish holidays in Israel, including Hanukkah and Passover, and they also celebrate "Yom Ha'atzmaut," which is Israel Independence Day, which took place in May 1948.
  • Kids' lunches might include hummus in a pita or a white cheese, egg, or tuna sandwich. They also have raw veggies, like cucumber, carrots, or tomatoes. They may snack on Bamba (peanut-butter-flavored corn puffs) or Krembo (chocolate-covered marshmallow on a cookie base), and favorite desserts may be "babka" (a sweet braided bread or cake) and "rugalach" (a filled crescent-shaped pastry).

Lettuce Joke Around

What did the chicken say when it laid a square egg? 

"Ouch!"

That's Berry Funny

What do you get if you cross a sheepdog with a rose? 

A Collie-Flower!

That's Berry Funny

"Knock, knock!" 

"Who's there?"  

"Cauliflower!"

"Cauliflower who?" 

"Cauliflower by any other name and it's still a daisy!"

That's Berry Funny

What did one egg say to the other? 

"Heard any good yolks lately?"

The Yolk's On You

What did the egg say to the other egg?

"Let's get cracking!"

THYME for a Laugh

What kind of flowers should you NEVER give to your Mom on Mother’s Day? 

Cauliflowers!

THYME for a Laugh

Why shouldn't you tell an Easter egg a good joke?

It might crack up!

THYME for a Laugh

What do you call a cauliflower growing at the edge of a garden? 

A border cauli!

Lettuce Joke Around

What do you call a hen who can count her own eggs?

A mathmachicken! 

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