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Cathy Katin-Grazzini

Cathy's Kitchen Prescription LLC


Braised Flowering Cauliflower


Chinese cauliflower, San Hua, is called by many names. Poetic “flowering cauliflower” is my favorite, and if I wax eloquent about this humble vegetable, it’s because I adore the tender sweetness of its loose, floppy head and pretty, jade stems. There is no need to core this cauliflower; its stems are tender and delectable. So, whenever I happen upon it at my Asian green grocer’s, I pick up a head or two and rejoice. In this recipe we will braise the whole head with aromatics and herbs, during which it becomes tender and flavorful, and finish it off in a very hot oven to turn it golden and lightly crispy. We won’t waste that flavorful braising liquid. What remains can be blended into a tasty finishing sauce. Like other cruciferous vegetables. Serve it whole on a bed of greens for a beautiful presentation.


Prep 5 minutes

Cook 15 minute braise plus 10 minutes in the oven

Serves 3 to 4


1 large head flowering cauliflower

1 onion, peeled and sliced

6 cloves of garlic, peeled

1 ripe tomato, cut in a large dice

Grinds of black pepper

Small bunch fresh thyme sprigs, tied in a bouquet garni

Shiro (mild, white) miso paste, to taste


  • Trim the very bottom of the cauliflower base. Rinse the cauliflower and soak in a bowl of water as you gather ingredients.
  • Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  • In a deep overproof wok or sauté pan with tight-fitting lids, add the sliced onion, whole garlic cloves, diced tomato, thyme bouquet garni and pepper. Place the whole flowering cauliflower on top, facing up. Add enough water to come one-half inch up the wall of the pan.
  • Cover the wok, bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Braise the cauliflower for 15 minutes and check for doneness. The cauliflower is ready when a sharp knife penetrates a thick stem easily.
  • Check the level of the braising liquid:  If it is more than half-inch, use a turkey baster to remove the excess but reserve it for the finishing sauce.
  • Place the pan, uncovered, in the oven and roast for 10 minutes. Check for doneness. The cauliflower is ready when it is golden and lightly toasted on the tips of its florets. Lower the oven temperature to 150°F.
  • Remove the pan from the oven, and using tongs or two large spatulas, transfer the cauliflower to a serving platter and return it to the oven when it drops to 150°F to keep warm.
  • To make the finishing sauce, remove the bouquet garni, and transfer the remaining braising liquid with its vegetables to a high-speed blender. Season to taste with shiro miso. Blend on high to purée the liquid with the solids. Taste and correct the seasonings as you like. If the sauce is thinner than you would like, pour it into a small pot, heat, and reduce it at a gentle simmer until it thickens to your desired consistency.  If the sauce doesn’t require reducing, heat it briefly in a microwave right before serving.
  • To serve, surround the braised flowering cauliflower with greens or herbs, and serve along with the warm finish sauce.


Braised Flowering Cauliflower

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