That, friends, is a mac ‘n cheese made with cauliflower instead of pasta. Amazing, right?! Cauliflower has become one of our favorite vegetables to use in cooking. It stands up to roasting, looks great under a layer of cheese, and can give real heft to completely vegetarian dishes.

In case you find that big, beautiful, cabbage-like head intimidating, we should we’d share some tips today about prepping and cooking cauliflower.

Once you’ve gotten your cauliflower, store it in the refrigerator. Cauliflower is pretty sturdy, so it should last for a week in your vegetable drawer.

When you’re ready to eat it, here’s what to do:

First, cut away the outer leaves. Then, trim the stalk. You’ll probably want to discard the lower, woody part, but you can hang on to the top part, which tastes really good when roasted.

Next, use a paring knife to cut away the florets where they meet the stalk. This prevents the crumbling that can happen if you try to chop the florets arbitrarily; you’ll end up with lots of little bits that can burn during cooking. If you’re making “steaks,” as in this recipe, simple slice the whole head into slabs without trimming the florets.

Finally, trim away the extra stalk that’s left in the middle. You can reserve it for roasting.

Now that you’ve washed, trimmed, and prepped your cauliflower, here’s what to do with it:

Sub the florets in for pasta in this all-vegetable version of Mac ‘n Cheese we were talking about up top,

Turn the whole cauliflower head into vegetarian “steaks”,

Combine florets with spices, chickpeas, and tomatoes in a Moroccan stew,

String the veggie up on skewers in these Roasted Vegetable Kebabs.

This post is part of Food Network’s Fall Fest! Check out what other fantastic bloggers are doing with cauliflower here:

Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Roasted Garlic Cauliflower and Potatoes
Devour: Cauliflower and Broccoli Mac and Cheese for Thanksgiving
Blue Apron Blog: Cauliflower “Mac ‘n Cheese”
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Roasted Cauliflower and Broccoli with Cranberries and Garlic Breadcrumbs
Red or Green: Cauliflower, Leek and Pepper Frittata
Virtually Homemade: Roasted Cauliflower with Bacon and Parmesan Cheese
Taste With The Eyes: Saffron Cauliflower à la Ottolenghi
Domesticate Me: Cauliflower Crust Pizza with Roasted Vegetables and Goat Cheese
The Sensitive Epicure: Cauliflower Flat Bread (Gluten-Free)
Weelicious: Cheddar Cauliflower
Cooking With Elise: Roasted Cauliflower with Cheese Fondue
FN Dish: Comforting Cauliflower Recipes