Cauliflower is a wonderful first food for babies! Here's how to cook and serve it to your baby along with easy and nutritious recipes for 6 months and up.
When can babies eat cauliflower?
This nutritious, super versatile vegetable can be offered to babies as soon as they’re ready to start solids, usually around 6 months. It’s important to remember that your baby is unique and that rather than going by the calendar, you need to make sure your baby is DEVELOPMENTALLY ready to start solids.
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Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable that belongs to the Brassicaceae family, along with broccoli, kale, and cabbage.
While the most common variety is white, it comes in several other colors - Green purple, and orange.
They contain similar vitamin and mineral content and are are all wonderful to introduce to your baby. They have a similar mild flavor. Where they differ is their antioxidant profile.
The orange-fleshed ones are rich in carotenoids whereas the purple varieties are rich in anthocyanins. The green cauliflower, also known as broccoflower or romanesco, contains chlorophyll.
Here are the two best cooking methods for babies. It's VERY important that the vegetable is cooked until soft enough to be easily pierced with a fork.
I personally don't recommend roasting for this age as the exterior of the vegetable can get too crispy or even burnt before it softens. You can boil, but I don't recommend it as most of the nutrients will leach into the water.
In regards to size, cut into large florets. If they are especially large, you can slice in half vertically. Once cooked, you can cut into smaller pieces depending on your baby's age. This way you can serve both big and small pieces as suggested below.
Place water in a pot, add steamer basket, and bring to a boil. Add broccoli, cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook for 8-10 minutes. It should be easily pierce-able with a fork.
Steam Roasted Cauliflower
This method is my personal favorite! If you are new to this cooking method, you will be amazed by how easy it is and how flavorful your cauliflower (or any vegetable) turns out!
How it works: The hot oven and moisture from the veggies create steam (once covered) making them soft, but because they’re roasted, the flavors become more concentrated.
- Simply add cauliflower to a baking pan, toss with oil and seasoning(s) of choice.
- COVER, and roast at 425°F for 15-20 minutes! Perfectly soft and flavorful!
Learn more about steam roasting as well as cooking times for ALL other vegetables
- Cut the cauliflower into 1 to 2-inch florets. Add to a food processor/blender. Work in batches if making a lot so that you don't end up over-processing.
- Pulse until small pieces form. Stop periodically and scrape the sides.
- Heat a pan over medium-high heat. Add butter or oil. Saute the rice for about a minute or so, add a splash of water. Cover, and cook for 5-8 minutes, until cauliflower is tender.
Due to its neutral flavor, cauliflower rice can be enjoyed in so many ways! You can serve the "rice" as is or fold into foods like:
- Homemade baby oatmeal
- Baked Quinoa - a great alternative to oatmeal
- Overnight oats/quinoa
- Vegetable omelette
Cauliflower Puree Combinations
If you desire a completely smooth texture, add the cooked cauliflower (using any of the methods above) to a food processor or blender along with breastmilk/formula, water, or broth. Blend until desired consistency is reached.
Here are some other foods to combine with:
How to cut for baby led weaning
For 6-8 months old:
Bigger is better and safer at this age so they can easily grab the food with their palm and bring to mouth.
If you are feeling nervous, you can absolutely start with puree or soft-cooked cauliflower rice. Always do what feels right to you!
9+ months old:
As your baby develops their pincer grasp and is able to pick up small pieces of food using their thumb and finger, you can cut into small, bite-sized pieces. I still suggest continuing to offer larger pieces so they can practice taking bites.
This is a good time to introduce utensils. Your baby will most likely just play around or toss it. But it's still great for exposure! Continue role modeling too.
12+ Months old:
Depending on your child's chewing skills and your comfort level, you can start to offer slightly firmer, but still soft-textured foods. Try shortening the cooking time by several minutes and see how your baby does.
Continue offering utensils and your child will likely surprise you one day!
Frequently Asked Questions
Choose one that has no brown spots, is firm and heavy for its size with densely packed florets. You can use colored cauliflower as well. Just make sure it's uniformly colored.
When you get home, take it out of its usual cellophane to prevent molding. Transfer to a bag with paper towel to absorb any excess moisture.
The beauty of cauliflower is that, just like tofu, it soaks up seasoning like no other! Curry powder, cumin, garlic, turmeric, ginger...have fun exploring the exquisite world of herbs and spices with your baby!
Foods that are rich in fiber tend to cause gas, but you shouldn't eliminate them completely!
These foods offer so many beneficial nutrients, necessary for your baby’s growth and development. Not to mention, early introduction to a wide variety of flavors and textures is key in minimizing picky eating down the road.
If your baby is gassy but doesn't seem to be in discomfort, there's no reason to worry. If your baby is extra gassy after eating certain foods, just don't overload them with those foods.
Baby-Friendly Cauliflower Recipes to try
- Indian spiced roasted cauliflower
- Creamy vegan cauliflower chickpea soup
- Vegetarian sweet potato lasagna
- Vegan African peanut stew
- Cauliflower buns
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How to Cook Cauliflower for Babies
- 1 pound cauliflower, chopped into florets
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil (for steam roast)
- herbs/seasonings of choice (optional but highly recommended)
- Cut cauliflower into large florets.
- Add water to a pot and insert the steamer basket. The surface of the water should be under the basket. Pour some out if need be.
- Bring the water to a boil. Add cauliflower, cover the pot, and reduce the heat to simmer. Cook for about 8-10 minutes, or until easily pierce-able with a fork.
- Preheat oven to 425° Fahrenheit. Cut cauliflower into large florets and place on a baking pan.
- Toss the cauliflower with oil and herbs/seasonings of choice. It's ok if they overlap. It will create more steam, resulting in softer texture.
- Cover with foil or silicone baking mat.
- Place in the oven and cook for 15-20 minutes until soft.
- Cut the cauliflower into 1 to 2-inch florets. Add to a food processor/blender. Work in batches if making a lot to avoid over-processing.
- Pulse until small pieces, about the size of rice, form. Stop periodically and scrape the sides. Heat a pan over medium-high heat.
- Add butter or oil. Saute the rice for about a minute or so, add a splash of water. Cover, and cook for 5-8 minutes, until cauliflower is tender.