Battle of the brassicas: the ultimate broccoli vs cauliflower showdown

By Jess Spiro, 21 October 2021

Can’t choose a favourite broccoli or cauliflower recipe? Well, now you don’t have to. We’re putting our favourite brassicas up against one another to see just how well they both work in every kind of dish. Pick a side, or don’t and just make them all!

The salad

While cauliflower and broccoli are often thought of as sides all their own, they're a great way to add bulk to salads – especially ones with strong flavours like anchovies. For the broccoli, swap out halloumi for feta if you like and in the cauliflower version, macadamia nuts are a good stand-in for pine nuts!
Get the recipe for charred broccoli and halloumi with warm anchovy vinaigrette here.

Get the recipe for cauliflower-and-pine nut salad here.

The roast

Roasting brassicas is proof that colour = flavour as the charred element adds a whole new layer to these humble vegetables.
roast cauliflower with peri periGet the recipe for roast cauliflower with peri peri here.

Get the recipe for charred split broccoli with tahini-yoghurt sauce here.

The soup

Possibly one of the most obvious – and easiest – ways to cook both broccoli and cauliflower, soups also make a great blank canvas for adding fuller flavours. Be it blue cheese or an accompaniment of strong garlic bread, these soups will hold their own.
Tenderstem broccoli-and-blue cheese soup recipeGet the recipe for Tenderstem broccoli-and-blue cheese soup here.

Cauliflower-soup-with-cheesy-garlic-breadGet the recipe for cauliflower soup with cheesy garlic bread here.

The cheesy one

Admittedly, this isn't a fair fight as cauliflower cheese is the GOAT but it's worth mentioning that you could give broccoli the exact cheesy treatment as below and that would be a winner.

cauliflower with mustard cheese sauceGet the recipe for cauliflower with mustard-cheese sauce here.

The raw option

Raw cauliflower or broccoli dishes can be tricky to get right, which is why they often don't receive the recognition they deserve. Make sure you're dressing them with something rich or fatty – such as the sesame oil or coconut milk used in both recipes below.

Sesame-cured-broccoli-saladGet the recipe for sesame cured broccoli salad here.

Get the recipe for coconut-dressed cauli-rice winter salad here.

The steaks

Every vegetarian knows that not all veggie steaks are created equal and that broccoli and cauliflower certainly form some of the best versions. Make sure they're charred properly for added flavour and serve them with something punchy.
Roast cauliflower with parsley oil recipeGet the recipe for roast cauliflower with parsley oil here.

Get the recipe for grilled broccoli steaks with white beans, red onions and anchovy butter here.

The pasta

Using broccoli and cauliflower in pasta dishes is a great way of adding veg to something hearty, but is also proof of how versatile they can be, especially when covered in cheese. Don't let the sound of the pesto put you off, this dish isn't as virtuous as it sounds.
roast cauliflower lasagneGet the recipe for roast cauliflower lasagne here.

Get the recipe for broccoli pesto pasta here.

The fritter/ fried option

Frying vegetables will always be our favourite way to eat them, but there's something especially satisfying about fried brassicas. Their sturdy texture means there's a lower risk of overcooking them and their versatile flavours lend well to spicy or zesty dipping sauces.
Dunked-cauliflowerGet the recipe for dunked cauliflower here.

Get the recipe for crunchy broccoli fritters here.

Jess Spiro

Article by Jess Spiro

Jess Spiro is a freelance food writer, chef and restaurant critic based in Cape Town, who can often be found in search of the next great plate of food. Follow her on Instagram @jess_spiro to see what she's eating.
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