Cauliflower Buns & Bagels

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You guys.
Cauliflower. Buns.
I am crazy stoked about this.

The idea for these simply brilliant, delicious, and totally surprising rolls came from my good friend Sophie, a vibrant, health-conscious lady that I actually met through my mother’s group. We quickly bonded over a shared love of cooking and raising healthy kids, so it didn’t take long before we were meeting up outside of the group for smoothie dates and trading kitchen secrets. A couple months ago she mentioned making bread out of blended cauliflower and I thought it was just about the neatest idea I’d heard in a while, especially since my son and I love starchy baked anything, and I’m always keen to have a wide range of options. I set out to make my own version and this was the happy result.

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Despite being totally flour-free, these buns are surprisingly light and fluffy. They taste of cauliflower (or should I say, cauliflour? HA!), but the garlic powder takes them in a different direction so that you don’t feel like you’re just eating a ball of blended cruciferous. I added nutritional yeast as well, which lends a wonderful cheesiness along with its B-vitamins, and almond meal for protein, fat and flavour. A sprinkling of dried onions or sesame seeds on top also add a great taste and texture. The psyllium husk is not totally necessary, but the buns are a little drier with this addition, plus without it, they are nearly impossible to slice without breaking. I prefer them baked with just eggs – but I also like just scarfing these, no slicing please.

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To answer the question many of you will inevitably ask me, yes, I made a vegan version of these, but sadly, they did not work. I replaced the eggs with psyllium husk exclusively and the buns practically melted into weird cauli-puddles (bizarro!). And as psyllium contributes a rather rubbery texture, I also found that using it as a binder instead of eggs yielded an unappetizing consistency – most certainly un-bread like. If any of you are up for the challenge, please experiment and let me know in the comments. I’d love to post a vegan alternative!

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One thing I should bring up is that these buns, despite tasting really good even a few days after baking, begin to smell rather sulfuric (a.k.a. fart-y). I can’t even tell you the looks I got after opening my lunchbox stocked with cauliflower buns on an airplane a couple weeks ago. It wasn’t me! It was the buns! This is due to the naturally-occurring and health promoting sulfur in the cauliflower. Nothing to worry about, but I thought it begged mentioning so that you know what to expect, and don’t jump to the conclusion that the buns have spoiled. Or that you keep the buns in a tightly sealed container and open it in a confined public space.

If you can time your baking of these to serve with a meal, I suggest you do so, as they are so delicious fresh from the oven, cooled just slightly, with a slather of good-quality butter. Yes, butter. I’d go so far as to say that it’s important to the recipe because the buns have very little fat in them, so butter really takes the taste experience to the next level of yum.

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Give this recipe a shot you guys – especially if you are skeptical!

Love and buns,
Sarah B

Show me your buns! #MNRcauliflowerbuns

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Hey guys! I have a couple new interviews up online if you’d like to check them out…
Remarkable Magazine
Psycle London

150 comments

  1. Jenn

    I love these buns and now that Trader Joe’s sells already riced cauliflower, they come together even easier! Recently, I modified the recipe a bit and added 3 tablespoons of chickpea flour, 2 teaspoons madras curry powder and 2 teaspoons poppy seeds. I served these curry-cauliflower buns with whipped, herbed labneh. So good! Thanks for this wonderfully versatile recipe.

  2. bianca karcher

    What is nutritional yeast. I went to 3 places trying to find it.. Is it the same as bakers yeast or brewers yeast??

    I love your life changing bread.!!!

  3. Lea

    The texture came out perfect, not too moist as mentioned in previous comments, though I probably put a bit more husk than in the recipie. Yet, the taste wasn’t as I expected, a bit heavier than cauliflower usually is. Kids ate it, but didn’t ask for more. I would be willing to try again, if someone could suggest what spices I could add to the cauliflower mix.

  4. Athanasia

    I made a cauliflower crust pizza yesterday and the recipe said to put the grated cauliflower in the microwave for 4 minutes, then squeeze it to get rid of the extra water. I did the same with the remaining cauliflower for the buns recipe and they came out perfect. Served them with olive pasta, truffle pasta and sun dried tomatoes.
    Thank you very much Sarah

  5. Emanuela, The Raw Beet

    Hello Sarah!!!
    In a way I can say you are a mentor for me. I quit my job to start studying holistic nutrition.
    I just opened a food blog, The Raw Beet.
    Today I posted a pretty interesting recipe: THE LIFE-CHANGING GLUTEN FREE BREAD. It is flourless and yeast free. It is similar to your life-changing load of bread, but it also contains whole grains 🙂 If you want, check it out!
    http://therawbeet.blogspot.it/2015/11/the-life-changing-gluten-free-bread.html
    Lots of love,
    Emanuela

  6. Michelle

    Soooooper delish. Super wet. Looked like pancakes. Any recommendations for drying these out/adding loft? Thanks love.

  7. Rae

    This all looks absolutely amazing! Loving the different photos from prep to finish as well! You capture food beautifully! Will really try to have to make these little guys. So glad to have found your blog!

    Rae of Love from Berlin

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  9. Emily Black

    These were so good. Had no issues whatsoever! I did cook for a bit longer, until they felt firm to the touch, maybe about 40 minutes. As I am Australian, I even slathered these with vegemite, and they tasted delicious!

  10. P.

    I used a whole head of cauliflower, stems and florets, that amounts to 988g of “flour,” which is slightly shy of the 1200g from the recipe. I put in the same amount of almond meal, nutritional yeast, salt, and psyllium husk. Lacking garlic powder in my pantry, I grated a small clove of fresh garlic into the mix. The bowl of dough is quite wet at this time, and even more so after adding the beated eggs (no surprise there). I then added 1 tbs of additional almond meal, nutritional yeast, and psyllium husk; the dough dried up a bit. I was able to form 8 baseball-sized buns and baked these (with sesame seeds and poppy seeds on top) for 30 minutes at 400F. The result was delicious. It’s not bread consistency in any form or shape but it IS yummy. Next time I’d make them a bit smaller in size, dinner-roll size, in hopes for a faster baking time and more yield. Hope this helps.

  11. Rachel

    Great idea! Love being able to use vegetables as the main ingredient in things. Do you think these would be ok frozen?

  12. Lynna

    Mine came out VERY wet as well. I pulverized the cauliflower very finely since the recipe said “as fine as possible,” but perhaps I went too far. I would also suggest mixing the dry ingredients together with a fork before adding them to the cauliflower if you are using psyllium husk because it tends to clump.

    The flavor was very good and I love the idea so I definitely want to try these again– perhaps blending less finely and squeezing out some water?

    Thanks!

  13. jacqueline

    I can’t tell you how much I appreciate how straightforward you are with your recipes and how honestly you share the pros as well as the cons. That makes life so much easier in planning and trying these out. Love your book and your blog! I still have a ways to go to get through the recipes in both but I was wondering what some of your favorite blogs and books are that are similar to yours?

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  15. Sparrow Bakery

    Wow. This is really interesting idea for using cauliflower. I’ve made cauliflower mash lots of times, but it never occurred to me to try to use it as a basis for a bread. Thank you!

  16. rina veksler

    I made the cauliflower buns and they came really food but mushy. There was a lot of liquid in the mix. What I did wrong?

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  18. rebecca

    My buns looked so good, and they smelt good, but when we went to bite, it crumbled and was too moist inside. I was so super duper excited, I misss bagels!! We’ve been MSG free/ GFCF for over a year. But, I know what went wrong….. I didn’t use the husk and nutritional yeast. I am going to change that up next time. But….What can I use as a sub for nutritional yeast?
    Thank you! XO

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  20. Lara Brahim

    Made these last night to accompany a pumpkin/spinach lasagne.. They were delicious. Guests loved them too!!
    The day after I am having one as a snack, so good!
    Will next time try them with broccoli (a tip i saw in the comment section)..
    Thanks for the recipe!!

  21. Jennifer

    Attention vegans!!! Aquafaba (chickpea water) works as an egg substitute in this recipe!!! My “bagels” we’re very wet but I think that can be remedied by squeezing excess liquid out the cauliflower after blending. It held together surprisingly well although definitely nothing near sliceable. I’m sure egg would do a better job for a more bread-y consistency but I’m happy I got to try this recipe!

  22. Ana Maria

    OMG, this buns are the most delicious thing ever :D. I used Romanesco instead of cauliflower, because it was what I had at home at the time. Amazing recipe as usual. Thanks for sharing, Sarah, you are a true inspiration! Regards from Madrid.

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  24. Alisa

    These little gems went together like a dream! We devoured with them with a lovely bowl of soup to welcome fall! Sarah, thank you for sharing your amazing talent, intelligence and creativity with us. I appreciate you immensely! (So does my Sweetie!) 😉

  25. Lipgloss and a Backpack

    These were wonderful! As a cauliflower-lover I’m going to have to restrain myself from eating these every day! I do wish you’d update the ingredient listing to confirm that the psyllium husk is ground, though.

  26. Lydia

    Genius as always! My 1st batch didn’t turn out quite right. Wet & salty, but good enough that I am encouraged to try again (larger cauliflower, chop in food processor less to keep it dry & maybe 1/2 the salt). LOVE how simple & nutritious your recipes are! My little guy & I made & ate these together!

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  28. Rebecca

    I made this last weekend using cauliflower and broccoli. So…. it’s definitely not bread, it does have a light texture, I could not possibly slice it… and the texture was kind of too weird for us to enjoy. I have frozen a bunch of it, smushed down flat so I can break of a piece when I want to/when I think of what else I can use it for. I could see it as a filling for pasta, mixed with cheese? Or as part of a frittata?

  29. Cheyanne Proud

    I cooked this last night and they turned out beautifully. I used hazelnut flour instead of almond and didn’t use any psyllium husk. The texture was perfect.

  30. Alex

    They were amazing. I served them with soup, hot out the oven with butter, cheese and olives. What a perfect supper. And even my 9 year old who professes to LOATHE cauliflower loved them! Thank you!!

  31. Alexandra

    I was very excited to try these but mine turned out totally inedible. Like jellied, goopy, slightly gritty sludge on the inside despite looking beautifully bronzed and rounded on the outside. I will try again and halve the psyllium husk and perhaps blend the cauliflower less.

  32. Fiona

    Hi Sarah – can you successfully freeze these buns? Oh and BTW, my 16YO is planning on being a nutritionist and I have showed her you TED talk to inspire her and hope that any future talks or posts can mentor her in the same path you took. You are amazing…. Fiona

  33. Kinsey

    Such a great recipe! Couple of questions though.. I made these yesterday and since I didn’t have psyllium on hand, I used ground flax instead. My concern is that doing so was the reason these turned out more flat and like a fluffy pancake type than yours did. However, I know the psyllium was optionally so I don’t believe the flax would have caused this flop. I still am making do with using them for my vegan egg salad I made 🙂 but want to know the next time I make them what to do in order to make them more “bun/bagel-like.” I also thought that maybe I over-processed the cauliflower (as I did process it right down to almost a puree-like consistency) which yielded too much liquid causing these to become thin. Can you pinpoint my oops or offer a suggestion? Can you also let me know if ground flax can be subbed for psyllium in any recipe or does psyllium have special features which is why I see it in some recipes? Thanks!

  34. S

    Whoa. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure what you’ve made and what you’re doing is great. However, bagels and buns are not interchangeable. They are distinctly different with very different textures. If it doesn’t have a chewy exterior and soft fluffy interior, it’s not a bagel. It’s just a roll with a hole.

    • Lydia

      I won’t speak for her, but if you follow Sarah’s recipes, you will find that making delicious “alternatives” is a common focus. A visual of a loved food, if you will. I am certain that she wasn’t implying they would taste different with the hole in them.

  35. Brook

    Hi, I’ve used “chia-eggs” in quite a few bread recipes, you just mix 1TBSP chia seeds with 2 TBSP warm water and let sit for 5-10 minutes, and you use that in place of 1 egg. Works like a charm in most bread recipes i’ve used it in. I will try it in this recipe and report back, but can’t see any reason it wouldn’t work. Love your recipes! xxxx

  36. Robyn/Grace full

    I made them last night and I LOVE your buns 😉

    They were super easy to make. I used one head of cauliflower which was a normal size – maybe they grow huge by you? I only got 6 bagels but that was ore than enough anyway so I am not complaining just curious about the quantity difference. i made them for our Break Fast meal after Yom Kippor and they were yummy with cream cheese as well as ghee or butter. I put poppy seeds on top of mine. Today I toasted one to warm it up and it was great though I thought they were the very best eaten just out of the oven. Thanks for your gorgeous blog and fabulous recipes. In a day filled with far too many emails I always look forward to yours! <3

  37. Natalia

    This recipe looks great… do you have any tips, ideas, healthy recipes for kids? or sources to find inspiration? Thanks!

  38. Emily

    These are perfect for school and the kids will have a healthy snack with them. I’ve been updating my stash of healthy school appropriate recipes and I found this one on Pinterest. Glad that I followed the link. Making this today, woot woot!

  39. Tammy

    I made this last night and it was really good! By the way, is the dough supposed to be really wet? I’m wondering if that’s why the bun looked more like a cookie..

  40. Francoise Murat

    Love your book, love your website and I love this recipe! I made it last night, my cauliflower was straight out of the fridge so was a bit ‘wet’, hence I made t into a kind of flat gratin-type bread as it didn’t want to stay together as much. Perfect with our French beans and veggie falafels! Thank you 🙂

  41. Natalia

    Hola! These buns look great, I will definitely try them, specially cause I have a totally food-curious 1 year old. In fact, I am very interested in healthy and nutritious recipes for kids… do you have any recommended source or guide? or may tips or ideas? Or maybe a soon-coming post on the subject? 😉 Thanks!

  42. Pongodhall

    I am always hopeful that a vegan alternative will be put with recipes… Any chance at all? These sound very good but egg you see.
    Should I just go ahead with flax egg as I do odt n just go my own way, things may be flatter, dense etc. But usually very edible and I am happy.

  43. Sarah M

    Hi Sarah,

    I made these in sunny Australia today! They were a hit! Thank you so much for the lovely posts you write. Grateful that we have access to the wonderful world of Sarah.

    Sarah M

  44. Teffy

    Sarah these look absolutely amazing!

    I have one question though – do you think I should squeeze the moisture out of the cauliflower? I usually do when I make pizza, but since you haven’t here is it quite important to leave some extra moisture in?

    Thanks!

    • Sarah Britton

      Hi Mo,

      I haven’t tried putting these in the freezer, but my feeling is that they would change quite a bit, due to the high water content in the cauliflower. Try it though, maybe with just one or two?

      xo, Sarah B

  45. SallyBR

    It wasn’t me, it was the buns!

    Best blog line of 2015 by far, absolutely priceless!

    I don’t have a problem with gluten, eggs, milk, animal proteins, I am a full blown omnivore and very happy about it, but I’m always open to try something different and these buns are intriguing me…

    I am pinning right away! (but I won’t take them in a plane with me, just in case…..)

  46. thefolia

    Thanks for sharing your buns…I can’t wait to try this today…I will have to improvise since I don’t have the husk or nutritional yeast…happy feasting!

  47. jody

    looks amazing, and I want to try. Can’t tolerate almond flour, however. Would coconut flour make them too dry? Would I need an extra egg? Any other flour suggestions…thanks!

    • cL

      Hello Virgina,

      Did you ever end up trying with coconut flour? I am not a nut-fan and have coconut flour so was wondering if I should sub it. Coconut flour absorbs so much liquid so perhaps an extra egg is needed for binding?

  48. Virginia

    Looking forward to trying these and have a question.. My son is allergic to all nuts and would love to hear suggestions on an alternative to almond flour? Oats? Thank you!

  49. CleanFit

    What outstanding timing and creativity. I’ve just entered into a research study ketotic diets and strength performance. This is going to be a lifeline for me.

    I also appreciate your usage of the metric system! Argh. Stupid oz and C

  50. Cheryl

    I am very eager to try this recipe since our family has been limiting our traditional bread intake. Is there a substitute for nutritional yeast? Do you know if this product is available in Germany? Thanks for your help and inspiration!

    • Evi

      Yes, you can get nutritional yeast in Germany, it’s called Hefeflocken.
      I usually buy mine in a small bio shop, but nowadays almost every big supermarket sells it: Alnatura, Rewe, Edeka, etc. Or as always Amazon 😉

  51. Kathy-lee

    My head just gave an idea of, why not with broccoli and since then I can only imagine greenish buns/bagels and this sorta makes my day.
    Thinking about how children would find it, since you can sell it as “slime green super balls/buns”, “green pom pom buns” or other (better) names. heh
    Just needed to get that out of my head and I should actually do it.

    • Jocelyn

      Hi, Kathy-lee –
      I was eager to try these and had everything but the cauliflower – so I decided to try them with broccoli. I realize part of the reason for cauliflower is the bread-like color, but I was actually looking forward to the green color myself – They looked beautiful sprinkled with black sesame seeds. Since the broccoli crumbled much as cauliflower would have and had much the same texture, I believe they were probably quite similar to the cauliflower. Personally, although I liked them hot out of the over, I enjoyed the room-temperature or cool ones even more since they have more of a bready texture when they cooled off. Much as I love butter, I myself for me it did not add much to the hot-out-of-the-oven ones. I imagine this could be a great way to get some greens into little ones! (And I definitely look forward to doing it with cauliflower…)

  52. Allyson

    Recipes like these are the reason I love food blogs. I would have never thought about making something like this. Never. If someone had suggested cauliflower buns I would have thought they meant cauliflower baked in buns. And now I’m completely transfixed by this idea. I don’t know much about my future, but I do know I will be making these buns at some point. Thank you.

  53. Jennie Leigh

    And to think I just had a bagel this morning (and felt the deep dark post-carb consumption guilt) and I could have made this instead!! Will definitely be trying these this week! I swear, you can make just about anything with cauliflower! I’ve never seen a cauliflower bagel recipe though! Thank you so much for such an awesome, original post!

  54. Lisa Bryan

    I love cauliflower as bread and this sounds delish! I’m working on a new cauliflower pizza crust recipe right now…so this just motivated me to get back in the kitchen – ha!

  55. Gabriela

    This is how I make my cauliflower crust pizza!! Cauliflower, almond flour and eggs(and spices) spread thin on baking sheet, pre-bake and top with favorite ingredients… sooo goood, does not taste after cauliflower at all. Will try to reshape this into a bun…

  56. Kathy-Lee

    That’s so funny. but just this morning, I bought a head of cauliflower and stumbled upon your blog to find it’s purpose! I’m so gonna do them, since I’m soooo in for bread alternatives since I went lowish-carbish (I can’t really tolerate too much starch, gluten yes, starch somehow not heh) and those just look so divine! And bagels! Never say no to bagels!
    You are such an inspiration! Praise you and have a lovely day 😉

  57. Olivia

    How cool is that!!??!! I can’t wait to try those. I just popped some Life Changing Loaf of Bread out of the oven, but I would love something bun shaped. I wonder if they’d be good as a veggie burger bun…

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  59. Elizabeth

    Normally I’d figure this out for myself but I’m asking her – I can’t have nutritional yeast so – what would you recommend for a substitution? Flax meal?

    • Arlette

      Not sure about flax that would be more of a binder and the nutritional yeast is there for flavour. I would try extra salt or garlic, or else some other flavouring such as a dried herb/spice or grind up some dried porcini – the latter being your best option if you want to keep it vegan, otherwise cheese! Hope that helps.

  60. Jessica Kelley

    These look amazing!! I would have never guessed they were made with just cauliflower by looking at them. I can’t wait to give them a try! Everything you create is wonderful. Keep the recipes coming! I’m always looking forward to seeing a new recipe on your site!!
    xx Jess

  61. Sabrinaa

    Seeing the pictures I first thought they were coconut macarons, but cauliflower buns – how genius!! Can’t wait to give them a try – just brought some fresh cream from the farmer yesterday – cauliflower buns and homemade butter I’m coming for you!

  62. Chloe

    This recipe sounds wonderful. In respect of a vegan option, have you heard of ‘aquafaba’ before? It is a wonderful vegan egg replacement using the water that beans have been soaked in. Google it and you will find a lot of information on it. It’s amazing!!!

  63. jimin

    holy crap, i’m SO excited to try these. having just made cauliflower pancakes, i know the fart-y issue all too well. would a flax egg work as a substitute? i’m not vegan, but maybe i’ll try it out and report back.

  64. Jess

    These look so delicious! I’m so excited to have a grain-free baked good that I can spread some ghee on! Can’t wait to try! Thank you for sharing!

  65. Rose

    Sarah if anyone else suggested this I would imagine they’d lost their minds but with you I know this is going to be delicious. This has gone on my queue of things to cook.

  66. Sara

    Hi, a love couliflower pizza, but the “dough” is always wet. I tried first co cook couliflower and then squeeze it as much as I could and the use it as base – that helped but its so much work. So, i was wondering how this “bagels” be like bread with all the water that is in couliflower?

    • Jocelyn

      I did these (though with broccoli!) and they were not wet at all. Sarah specifically mentions that the psyllium husk helps the final product to be drier (and of course the almond flour and nutritional yeast must help). After I originally rinsed the broccoli, I spun it in a salad spinner to get off excess water, but I did not need to squeeze it either before or after processing it (which would have been a tedious mess!).

  67. Kathryn

    I am so glad that you addressed the fart-y smell! I see so many bloggers posting cauliflower this and cauliflower that and I am quietly thinking to myself…is it just me?? I love picturing your face on the plane pointing to the buns. I would have believed you! I really like cauliflower rice. If you haven’t already tried it, you would love it. Just reading the recipe and looking at these photos I know these bagels/buns will taste great.

  68. Sydney

    How exciting! I love the creativity going on. I also love the way you share your testing process. The buns look so gorgeous and scrumptious! I bet they’re as fun to make as they are to eat. Can’t wait to try!
    xx Sydney | Modern Granola

  69. Jessica

    These look fabulous…but I’m not an egg eater. I hope that someone will try replacing the eggs with a vegan alternative that works!

  70. Jen

    Hi! I will try these and report back. Curious…..have you tried serving them with egg? I’m looking for a SCD friendly egg accompaniment for breakfast (instead of a standard veggie scramble for breakfast). I’m wondering if their texture would go well with an over medium egg and a slice of ham.

  71. genevieve y

    Sarah! These buns sound absolutely genius. Have you tried using aquafaba (chickpea water from the can/you can make your own on the stove by cooking chickpeas) as an egg replacement? I use it to make vegan meringues and have also successfully used it in other baked goods when flax, chia, and psyllium husk aren’t powerful enough, like cakes. I’m also curious about its nutritional content! Can’t wait to give these buns a try!

  72. Amanda

    goodness, I can’t wait to make these. Thanks for doing all the experimenting. Quick question – is the 1 tablespoon psyllium husk is powdered form? Thank you!

  73. Lauren W

    I’m so excited to try these! They look amazing! Hope you had an awesome summer and it’s great to have you back 🙂

  74. Elisabeth

    hello, this is the first time I hear of these and to me it just sounds so delicious! I will absolutely try these in the next days but do you know if I can freeze them? this would be great! thank you for your inspiration!

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