I’d been wanting to revisit a post I did 6 years ago (6 years!) that transformed cauliflower into shrimp. It was so good I just couldn’t get over how much it actually tasted like shrimp. I used almost the same recipe to boil raw shrimp for many years and this was a cheaper way to enjoy the same flavors. It was time to enjoy it again while cauliflower was in season.
It’s a fairly simple recipe. You cut up a head of cauliflower into shrimp sized florets then boil them in pickling spice. As I mentioned I often used to boil shrimp in the pickling spice so it made sense when I found the recipe.
The cauliflower is added to the pot and allowed to come to a boil, then simmered for only 5 minutes. Your goal is to have the florets just barely fork tender. You want them as firm as a shrimp would be after cooking. They also get too strong if cooked too long.
The florets are eaten with cocktail sauce. They could be an appetizer, a side dish or a snack. They’ll last several days in the fridge but we ate them so fast it wasn’t an issue. They are best eaten in a day or two.
Tip: You might want to use 2 or 3 heads of cauliflower as long as you have your seasonings and pot boiling and ready. Seriously, these cauli-shrimp are going to be your new favorite munchies. No guilt!
Poor Man’s “Shrimp” Cocktail
A fun way to get your vegetables in while almost fooling yourself into believing they're shrimp!
– 1 head cauliflower; cut into florets about the size of a medium shrimp
– 1 onion; quartered
– 1 lemon; cut into chunks
– 1/4 cup pickling spice
– 1 teaspoon garlic powder
– 2 tablespoons kosher salt
Bring water to a boil in a medium sized saucepan over medium high heat. Add onion, lemon, and seasonings and let boil over medium heat for 10 minutes.
Add cauliflower and let cook for about 5 minutes, or until tender crisp, the texture of a shrimp.
Empty saucepan into a strainer and let cool for 5 or 10 minutes, then remove florets into a storage container and cover with a lid.
Refrigerate overnight and serve. The seasoning gets stronger as it sits and the pieces are strongly pickled by the third day. They’re best eaten in a day or two.
Serve with cocktail sauce and lemon wedges.
– 1 cup ketchup
– 2 tablespoons chili sauce
– 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
– 1 tablespoon lemon juice
– 1/2 teaspoon ground horseradish (not creamed) or more to taste
Mix and store in fridge until used.