This ain’t your grandma’s kugel recipe…it’s better! Cauliflower kugel is healthier, easier to make and just as tasty as you remember. It’s perfect for Jewish Holidays like Rosh Hashanah, Passover and Break Fast or year round and can be served as a healthy low carb side dish or a Meatless Monday Main Course.
Kugel is a quintessential holiday dish (Passover, Rosh Hashanah, even Thanksgiving)…I don’t know why I don’t make it more often. It’s warm and comforting and makes me think of my grandmother.
Cauliflower kugel…why not? Honestly, it tastes just like the traditional potato kugel I’ve always made. A little salad on the side and I could make a meal of this savory kugel recipe. So, so good, I bet you’ll love it as a meal too.
Kugel for Passover? Absolutely! Low carb Kugel for Rosh Hashanah? You bet! This easy recipe is so good, I’m going to start making it year round. It’s delicious, and works well for any meal of the day.
What is Kugel?
Kugel comes from a German word that means a baked pudding. From the 12th century to today, kugel has evolved into a casserole-style dish that’s often enjoyed as a side dish on Jewish holidays.
The common denominators of all kugels are a starchy base (usually noodles or potatoes), eggs, and fat. If any of the three main ingredients are missing, it is technically a casserole or even a cake, but not a kugel.
Savory kugel is usually made with potatoes and has added onions for flavor. Traditionally, the oil used was shmaltz, which is rendered chicken fat. In my book, olive oil is a legit sub.
Generally sweet kugel is a noodle kugel, also called lokshen kugel. Though there is a peppery version of noodle kugel that is both sweet and savory called Yerushalmi Kugel.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- CAULIFLOWER: I used a purple head of cauliflower. You can use regular white cauliflower or even green or orange. Purple and orange cauliflower have vitamins and nutrients not found in white cauliflower…plus the purple is pretty. Vegetable kugel is delicious and you can use whatever veggie you prefer. Broccoli is another great choice.
- EGGS: I get my eggs fresh from a local friend who raises chickens in her yard in various colors, so the eggs are also various colors. Fun…and fresh…but the color of the eggs doesn’t make any difference in this recipe.
- ONION: I’m convinced you can’t get that authentic kugel flavor without the onions…the onion gives it a savory flavor that’s unique to kugel recipes.
- OLIVE OIL: I lightened this up by only using 1/4 cup of oil, and it still tastes great.
- SPICES: salt, pepper, paprika. I love the rich golden hue that paprika provides, along with great taste.
- FRESH OREGANO: I like to use fresh herbs when I can for a flavor boost. If you don’t have fresh oregano, you can substitute 1 teaspoon of dried oregano. A better idea would be to use a different FRESH herb, like parsley or cilantro.
How to make kugel
Before you begin, you’ll want to preheat your oven to 350 and prep your baking dish.
I used a 9×13 baking dish because we like a thinner, crispier kugel. If you prefer your kugel to be thicker, you will want to use a smaller pan. For a crispy kugel, brush 1 Tablespoon oil on the bottom and up the sides of your baking dish and HEAT THE PAN IN THE OVEN for 5 minutes before pouring in the kugel.
- Cut the head of cauliflower in half, through the bottom core. Rinse well under a stream of running water.
- Start with one half, cut off the bottom few rungs that are just leaves. Then, place the cut side down so it’s level and slice from top to bottom in long THIN slices. It doesn’t matter if some of the cauliflower crumbles off, but try for slices that are no more than 1/4″ thick, regardless how big they are.
- Continue with the second half of the cauliflower.
- Set aside a few decorative pieces that are still attached together in beautiful ways to use for the top.
Next you’ll want to shred the onion. A simple trick that helps prevent your eyes from watering is to do this near an open flame. I used to chop onions right up against my stove, with one of the burners turned on, until I saw that viral tik tok video that uses an ordinary candle for the same purpose. Much safer and it really works!
I like to use a potato shredder for the onions. That is what my Grandmother used, and I use her shredder. I like to feel her in the kitchen with me. You can also use a box grater. Either way, you’ll get some shreds of onions and also a bunch of onion water…which is exactly what you want.
The more frothy you whisk your eggs, the fluffier your kugel will be. I used 4 eggs in this recipe. If you like a more custardy kugel, use as many as 6 eggs. Just whisk them until very frothy.
Use a whisk to froth your eggs. Add in oil and then whisk some more until the oil has thoroughly combined with the eggs and the mixture is bubbly. If you whisk your eggs really well, they will rise a bit while the kugel bakes and envelope all your cauliflower.
- Shredded onions.
- Pour whisked eggs into onions and mix well.
- Add fresh herbs and spices.
- Mix the paprika, salt and pepper into the egg mixture.
- Make sure all spices are thoroughly incorporated.
- Add the smaller, crumbly pieces of cauliflower, and mix well. Keep the larger pieces you set aside out of this mixture.
Carefully remove hot baking dish from the oven and pour kugel mixture into pan.
Nestle the larger pieces you set aside onto the top of the kugel. Drizzle with remaining tablespoon olive oil, sprinkle with S+P and additional fresh herbs.
Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes. Cool slightly and cut into pieces. Serve warm.
Why you’ll love this kugel recipe
- So tasty…in a delicious and nostalgic way.
- A lightened up version, so everyone can enjoy it.
- This savory kugel is a healthy side dish to go with anything you’re making.
- So easy to make. Get it into the oven and then focus on something else….maybe a nap?
- Leftovers reheat beautifully!
- Serve this for breakfast, lunch or dinner….a simple side salad or tasty soup is all you need to make it a meal.
- This is a wonderful passover recipe…and can also be enjoyed year round.
- Easy kugel recipe is also meal prep and freezer friendly!
- EVERYONE will love it.
What to serve with kugel
- 1 large onion
- 1 medium head of cauliflower*
- 4 large eggs
- 1 Tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat oven to 350. Brush 9 x 13 baking dish with 1 Tablespoon of the olive oil and place into oven for at least 5 minutes.
- Peel off outer leaves from cauliflower. Cut cauliflower through the bottom core into half. Trim off bottom leaves until the florets begin. Place one half, cut side down to be level on a cutting board, and then cut into very thin, long slices. Continue with the second half. Set aside a few "decorative" pieces that are still attached in beautiful ways to use for the top.
- Over a large mixing bowl, shred onion with potato shredder or the side of a box grater. It will become watery. This is good. It will add uniform flavor to your kugel.
- In a small bowl, whisk eggs vigorously, until foamy. Add 1/4 cup oil and whisk some more.
- Pour eggs into bowl with onion and mix. Sprinkle in salt, pepper, paprika and oregano leaves. Add cauliflower (keep the pieces you put aside separated still) and mix until thoroughly coated with the eggs.
- Carefully remove hot baking pan from oven and pour in kugel mixture. Use the cauliflower pieces you set aside to decorate the top. Gently nestle them into the kugel. Drizzle kugel with remaining Tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes.
- Garnish with additional fresh oregano and serve hot.
- Kugel can be made ahead and reheated in 350 oven for 20 minutes.
- Kugel will stay good in fridge for 5 days. You can also freeze fully cooked and cooled kugel for up to 3 months. Defrost in fridge and then heat in 350 oven for 20 minutes.
EGGS: Your cauliflower may be a bit bigger, or it may be a bit smaller. Sometimes eggs vary a bit in size. If you do a good job whipping up your eggs, they will "grow" as they cook to envelop the cauliflower, including the topping. If you feel that the egg to cauliflower ratio is a bit lacking, go ahead and use 5 or 6 eggs instead of 4. Just whisk them well before adding to the rest of the mixture.
CAULIFLOWER: 1 medium head of cauliflower will equal about 4 cups thinly sliced pieces. If you don't have fresh cauliflower and want to use frozen riced cauliflower, use 4-5 cups. You won't have any pretty pieces to decorate the top, but the kugel will come out great and still taste delicious. Also, any color cauliflower works well in this recipe, not only purple!
OREGANO: If you don't have oregano, use fresh, chopped parsley or fresh thyme leaves. The fresh herbs add some great color and flavor.
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Amount Per Serving Calories 81Total Fat 6gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 5gCholesterol 52mgSodium 296mgCarbohydrates 4gFiber 2gSugar 2gProtein 3g
The nutrition calculations were done using online tools. To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in any given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients you used. You are ultimately responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information is accurate, complete and useful.