Enticing the kids to eat their veggies can be a challenge, but often, keeping it simple—like this Steamed Cauliflower that we love to top with Parmesan Cheese—can be a little easier on everyone. This recipe is delicious and easy for everyone in the family to eat.

steamed cauliflower on blue plate with spoon.

Steamed Cauliflower

I know that part of what stress us parents out about feeding kids is that often, we spend so much time cooking food we think they’ll like…and then they don’t. And, while there’s no magic formula to always prevent that, I’ve found that making much simpler recipes—especially with veggies—can help reduce the pressure on everyone.

This side dish takes about 15 minutes from start to finish and requires no special cooking gear or techniques. And it’s mild, yet flavorful, which is a great combination. You can also let the kids add their own sprinkle of Parmesan cheese (or shredded cheddar) on top, which could be an easy way to engage them with the food.

There’s nothing all that involved about this recipe. It’s simply steaming the cauliflower florets and then tossing with flavorful enhancements—butter or olive oil (if you need dairy-free or just prefer olive oil) and cheese. We usually find that cheese helps almost any veggie go down easier.

This is a favorite way to cook cauliflower for kids. (And you might also like my Roasted Frozen Broccoli and Carrot “Fries”, too.)

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Ingredients You Need

To make this recipe, you’ll just need to have the following simple ingredients on hand and ready to go.

Ingredients for steamed cauliflower on countertop.
  • Cauliflower: You can use a head of cauliflower and cut into florets yourself or start with a bag of precut florets. Or, you can use frozen cauliflower florets.
  • Butter or olive oil: This adds flavor to the cooked cauliflower.
  • Parmesan cheese: I prefer to use grated Parmesan (which tends to have better flavor than shredded for some reason) or another shredded cheese that your family enjoys.
  • Salt, optional to taste.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Here’s a look at the simple process involved in making this cauliflower recipe. Scroll down to the bottom of this post for the full recipe, including the amounts and timing.

how to make steamed cauliflower in grid of images.
  1. Wash and pat your cauliflower dry.
  2. Chop your cauliflower—or take a shortcut and buy it already washed and chopped into florets. You want them to be about bite-size pieces, so either chop them roughly or break the florets off. Discard the stem and leaves.
  3. Place into a steamer rack fit in a saucepan with about an inch or two of water. Cover, bring to a simmer and cook.
  4. Drain well. Stir in butter or olive oil and sprinkle with cheese.

TIP: We like Parmesan here, but you can also use shredded cheddar!

Serving Suggestions

We like this side dish with pasta and Hidden Veggie Meatballs, Parmesan Chicken Tenders, hot dogs, burgers, or really, anything else that needs an easy side dish!

Make-Ahead Tips

You can for sure prep the cauliflower if you buy it in a whole head. Simply cut into florets and discard the stem. Wash and dry well. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days. I often use quart-size Mason Jars.

One head of cauliflower typically yields about 4-5 cups, so you can portion it into one or two family dinner sides depending on the size of your family. You can also cook the cauliflower and let it cool fully, then reheat briefly with the cheese.

Best Tips for Success

  • Try to cut the florets into roughly equal sizes so that they cook evenly.
  • To save time, buy pre-bagged cauliflower.
  • Use a steamer basket that fits into a medium size pot.
  • Season to taste with salt if desired (or let the cheese add the flavor).
  • Add fresh herbs (like snipped parsley or basil) if your kids like additional flavor.
  • Use a cheese your kids like—such as Parmesan or shredded cheddar.
  • If you don’t have a steamer basket, you can also simmer the cauliflower florets in a medium pot with an inch or two of water until tender. You’ll want to cover the pot and stir once to endure that the veggies cook evenly.

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steamed cauliflower on blue plate with spoon.

Quick Steamed Cauliflower

This quick Steamed Cauliflower is easy and delicious—and a perfect vegetable side dish to share with the kids. Use as much cauliflower as you need to feed your family. Store any uncooked florets in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Cuisine Italian
Course side
Calories 72kcal
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower (chopped into florets; or about 4-6 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 2-3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
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Instructions

  • Add about 1 inch of water to a medium saucepan. Place a steamer basket inside.
  • Add the cauliflower, cover, and set over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 5 additional minutes after that, lowering the heat slightly if it’s rapidly boiling.
  • Remove lid and remove cauliflower into a bowl.
  • Stir in the butter or oil and salt, if using, and top with cheese. Serve!

Notes

Try to cut the florets into roughly equal sizes so that they cook evenly.
Use a steamer basket that fits into a medium size pot.
Season to taste with salt if desired (or let the cheese add the flavor).
Add fresh herbs (like snipped parsley or basil) if your kids like additional flavor.
Use a cheese your kids like—such as Parmesan or shredded cheddar.
If you don’t have a steamer basket, you can also simmer the cauliflower florets in a medium pot with an inch or two of water until tender. You’ll want to cover the pot and stir once to endure that the veggies cook evenly.

Nutrition

Calories: 72kcal, Carbohydrates: 7g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 10mg, Sodium: 252mg, Potassium: 434mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 109IU, Vitamin C: 69mg, Calcium: 60mg, Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Rate in the comments and tag @yummytoddlerfood on IG!

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