Let me set the tone here for this recipe (and why I was so bold to say it’s the “best family-friendly cauliflower recipe”).

…In my husband’s words “this is the best cauliflower I’ve ever had“.

…In Sienna’s words (my 4 year old) “YUM!”.

…In Naomi’s words (my 2 year old), complete silence as she rammed piece after piece in her mouth.

…And 15 minutes after sitting at the table, this is what we had left of it tonight.

Best family-friendly cauliflower recipe

So yeah, this recipe was OK.  (wink wink)

We eat a lot of cauliflower as evidenced by the recipes on my website like this Dairy-Free Broccoli Cauliflower Casserole and this Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce.   But every once in a while I get the urge to get creative in the kitchen.   Because like our kids, I’m a little fickle and get bored of our usual go-to recipes.

Even if your child, or partner, or you dislike a food – preparing it in different ways makes it a different food altogether!  Alter the taste, the texture, the smell, and you may all find a new favourite in an ‘old’ food.  For me, I could take or leave steamed or raw cauliflower (or broccoli).  Yet once we add some spices and bake it, a whole new side of cauliflower comes alive!

picky eater cauliflower

It’s Friday night, and we just returned from Mexico.  Coming back to minus degree weather, I needed some food for comfort.  Something really yummy.  Something so good it almost tasted ‘bad’ for us.

Our protein dish was already lined up (good ol’ turmeric and lemon wild salmon), but it needed a veggie side.  I didn’t have the gusto to prepare more than one side so it had to be stellar.

We had a cauliflower the size of my head taking up too much room in the fridge, so that was my first inspiration.  Then this recipe appeared and I got giddy. And experimental.

I rarely (virtually never) fry things.  Even saying the “f” word makes me feel uncomfortable.  Don’t panic!  This recipe requires more of a sauté versus a deep fry.  You can also bake in the oven, although may not get the same texture.

What do I love about this cauliflower popper? 

It’s crispy.

It’s simple to prepare.

It’s family-friendly (and picky eater friendly).

It fulfills cravings for fried food without the downsides.

It’s cost-effective (just cauliflower and spices).

It has a nutrient-rich veggie as its base (cauliflower is high in Vitamin C and other micronutrients).


Without further adieu, let’s get you that recipe!

Gluten-Free Paleo Cauliflower Poppers

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4


  • 2 eggs
  • 1 handful fresh parsley (chopped) 1 tbsp dried or handful fresh
  • 1 large head cauliflower chopped into florets
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch or arrowroot (almond flour may work as well)
  • 1 TBS onion powder
  • 1 TBS garlic powder
  • 1 TBS dried basil
  • 4 TBS unrefined coconut oil for frying or baking
  • salt to taste


  1. Place cauliflower in steamer basket until tender but still firm (not soft)

  2. Mix the spices with the tapioca starch, and add in 2 whisked eggs

  3. Over med-high heat add coconut oil to frying pan (or warm oven to 400 degrees and grease pan with oil) 

  4. Add the cauliflower to the egg and tapioca mixture until well coated (either in ziplock bag or a large bowl

  5. Fry in pan, flipping when cauliflower starts to brown (or flip in oven if baking)

  6. Place cooked cauliflower on paper towels to soak up extra oil

What is tapioca flour?

Tapioca comes from cassava (a starchy root vegetable).

Tapioca is made up of almost all carbohydrates and is very low in all types of fats, sugar, fiber, protein, sodium, and essential vitamins or minerals. While it won’t provide you with many essential nutrients, using tapioca makes it possible to recreate recipes like mouses, puddings, yogurts, jello, sauces, crock-pot recipes and more without the use of regular all-purpose flour or other highly processed ingredients. – Source

Tapioca is a great alternative for those who can’t consume gluten, grains or nuts. It’s ideal for adding moisture to gluten-free recipes (like making a fluffy pancake) and providing crispiness to pizza and pie crusts.  However, it isn’t known for it’s nutritional value. That’s fine because cauliflower makes up for whatever tapioca is lacking.

Why families should eat cauliflower (and cruciferous veggies) daily:

WHFoods recommends consuming 3/4 cup of cruciferous vegetables on a daily basis (or 5 cups a week) – cauliflower is in this category.   Therefore, when consumed at least once per week, cauliflower has been associated with decreased risk of colorectal cancer,  prostate cancer, and cardiovascular diseases. Because of its ability to bind bile acids, intake of cooked cauliflower has also been linked to better regulation of blood cholesterol.  Oh and it’s also one of the best sources of Vitamin C.

Nutrient booster: 

Avoid boiling cauliflower and most veggies if you can. Just 3 minutes of cauliflower submersion in a full pot of boiling water is enough to draw out more phytonutrients than steaming for 10 minutes.

Mealtime Tip: 

Dips work well for encouraging our kids to try new foods. Especially ketchup.  Although, we can get away from offering a sugary red sauce (ketchup) and instead offer a simple tomato sauce.  This has become a staple dip alongside chicken, sweet potatoes, and even these gluten-free cauliflower poppers.

best cauliflower poppers