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Parmesan Cauliflower Fritters

I like cauliflower. Really, I do. But as I’ve said before, Stephen’s not too crazy about it. The big exception (other than the pasta dish I link to above): Fried cauliflower, on the buffet for holiday celebrations at his mom’s. The florets, pre-cooked until just tender, are dipped in an eggy batter and pan-fried. They’re soft inside, but not cabbage-y, and the coating has just enough grease to make one lick one’s fingers surreptitiously. This, he likes. And so do I—the holiday spreads typically include lots of cheesy, dip-py things, which ain’t exactly my cup of tea, so I wind up eating my weight in fried goodness, hiding the crumpled, greasy napkins in my pocket so nobody will realize who scarfed all the cauliflower.

These pancakes are inspired by that dish. Dipping things in batter is just a little too messy for me with a preschooler underfoot, so I changed things up a bit—I precooked the cauliflower just the same, but mashed it and added loads of parmesan, some eggs, and just enough flour to bind everything together. They turned out just as I’d hoped, with a nicely crispy outside, a lovely, toothy texture from the mashed cauliflower (which even mashed, still holds some shape), and a mellow, salty undertone from the parm. And with a little lemon juice on top, they’re even better.

Parmesan Cauliflower Fritters
Serves 4-6

1 head cauliflower, cored and cut into medium-sized florets
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt & pepper
1/3-1/2 cup flour
olive oil for pan-frying
lemon wedges (optional)

Steam cauliflower until it’s completely soft, either in microwave or on stovetop. This should take 10-15 minutes. Let it cool slightly, then mash the heck out of it in a big bowl. If there are stems that simply won’t break down, pick them out (and eat them—chef’s treat). Cool almost to room temperature.

Add beaten eggs, Parmesan, salt, and pepper, and stir to combine. Add flour by heaping tablespoons—the final amount you use will depend on how moist your cauliflower is. You want this to be quite thick, closer to the consistency of raw meatballs than pancake batter. Set aside for 10 minutes to let the flour absorb fully.

Cover your largest skillet with a thin layer of olive oil, and place over medium heat. When it’s shimmering hot, add large spoonfuls of the cauliflower mixture (I used a serving spoon) and flatten into a pancake. Don’t overcrowd the pan, or the oil temperature will lower too much and your results will be greasy. When browned on one side, after 5-7 minutes, flip and cook on the other side until it’s brown too, another 5-6 minutes. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining cauliflower mixture until it’s all gone—I got a dozen pancakes out of one medium-sized cauliflower.

Serve hot or at room temperature, sprinkled with lemon juice, if desired.

This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. Kristin

    These look amazing, Debbie! I was planning to make the slow cooker risotto on this rainy day but I might have to make these instead.

  2. Frugal Kiwi

    Sounds yummy. I've got a cauli in the fridge I bought to try roasting cauliflower, but this recipe looks likely to trump that idea.

  3. marthaandme

    Oh yes! I can see how this would be good! Sometimes when I make cauliflower I put some fresh, really crunchy and greasy breadcrumbs on top. I know yours would be good!

  4. Alexa

    Mmmmmm…I wonder how many WW points these have?

  5. Alexandra Grabbe

    Cauliflower is my favorite vegetable. I love the idea of crusty cauliflower pancakes. Can't wait to try this recipe!

  6. debbie koenig

    Alexa, I just used's recipe builder, and it comes out to 2 points per pancake, assuming you get 12 per recipe. (That's with 4 tablespoons of oil for cooking.) Not as bad as I'd feared, but not something one should eat six of in one sitting…

  7. kerry dexter

    sounds great, and the lemon for zing is a fine idea too

  8. Caroline and Leslie

    I am making this tonight for the kids…I usually get them to eat cauli by roasting it and mixing it with pasta, but this sounds even better

  9. Alexa

    Thanks, Debbie! So, with a nice big salad, I could easily eat 3 or 4. Happy news.

  10. Ann

    This sounds like a perfect use for the box of frozen cauliflower that is in my freezer and that I have no recollection of ever buying.

  11. Christine at Origami Mommy

    I love this. I like cauliflower, and I've been into making vegetable pancakes lately – this is sort of similar. I see this on our dinner table tonight!

  12. Susan

    Just made these..YUM!! Better in my opinion than potato pancakes..on the nutritional scale MUCH better…course, I might put a dollop of sour cream and a few green onions on the top.
    Thanks for posting.

  13. Kate

    These were great! I ended up cooking them on my pancake griddle which gave a better brown with very little oil.

    1. Kate

      Electric griddle

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