With the popularity of low carb diets, cauliflower has been in the spotlight as the “new rice”. But there’s lots more to love about cauliflower beyond its low carb count.
Cauliflower is part of the cabbage family, right up there with broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage. These cruciferous veggies are known for their anti-oxidant prowess in preventing certain types of cancer and heart disease. A recent study showed that phytochemicals such as glucosinolate in cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables, help reduce the risk of bladder cancer.1 Other research suggests that the compound 3,3'-Diindolylmethane (DIM), derived from indole-3-carbinol in cruciferous vegetables, may hold promise in preventing liver cancer. 2 Below are a dozen ways to enjoy “caulipower”.
- Add cauliflower to your morning omelet. Why should peppers and onions get all the attention? Chop and steam 1 cup of cauliflower, season with salt and pepper and toss it into your eggs.
- Roast cauliflower with garlic and turmeric. The triple threat against inflammation and cancer! Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place cleaned chopped cauliflower in a single layer on the paper. Mix 1 Tbsp. olive oil, 1 loved crushed garlic and 1 tsp. turmeric together. Brush cauliflower with the olive oil mixture and roast for 20 minutes.
- Serve raw cauliflower with hummus and other vegetables for a simple snack.
- Add cauliflower to your stir fry. Sautee chopped cauliflower with ginger, garlic, chili garlic paste, low-sodium soy sauce and a drizzle of sesame oil.
- Marinate chopped cauliflower in Italian dressing along with grape tomatoes and a small chunk of mozzarella cheese. Place on skewers and serve as appetizers.
- Make cauliflower slaw. Grate 1 cup cauliflower, 1 cup red cabbage, and 3 carrots together and place in a small bowl. Whisk together 1 tsp. Dijon mustard, 1 Tbsp. lemon juice and 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Toss the veggies in the dressing and serve cold.
- Rice that cauliflower. Clean and chop the head of cauliflower. Sautee in a medium skillet with 1 Tbsp. oil for 5 minutes, then cover the skillet, turn heat to low and let steam for another 5 to 8 minutes. Mash with potato masher. Season as desired with salt & pepper, soy sauce, garlic, etc.
- Try buffalo-style cauliflower. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Whisk together 1 cup milk, 1 cup flour, ¾ tsp. garlic powder, and ¼ tsp. salt in a bowl. Clean, dry and cut 1 head of cauliflower into 1” pieces. Coat the cauliflower pieces in the milk mixture, then place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 18 minutes until golden brown. While cauliflower bakes, whisk together 1/3 cup buffalo wing sauce and 1 ½ Tbsp. melted butter or margarine. Serve the cauliflower with wing sauce.
- Mashed cauliflower and parsnips. Parsnips mixed with cauliflower make a great potato substitute for your patients that may be limiting their carbs for weight loss or blood sugar management. Boil 1 lb. peeled & cubed parsnips with 1 head of cleaned/chopped cauliflower for 15 to 20 minutes until soft. Drain water and add 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. garlic powder, 1 tsp. dried rosemary, 1 Tbsp. butter and ¼ cup milk. Mash the parsnips and cauliflower until smooth. Add more milk if thinner texture desired.
- Parmesan-roasted cauliflower. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Clean and cut one head of cauliflower and place it in a gallon-sized plastic bag with 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Shake the bag to coat the cauliflower. Add 1 tsp. garlic salt, 1 cup bread crumbs, and ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese to the bag. Shake to coat the cauliflower then spread it on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake cauliflower for 20 minutes, then flip it and bake for another 10 minutes.
- Creamy curry cauliflower soup. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Clean and cut 1 head of cauliflower and place in a large bowl with ½ cup chopped onion, 2 ½ tsp. curry powder, ½ tsp. ground cumin and 3 Tbsp. olive oil. Toss to coat the cauliflower. Roast on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 20 to 30 minutes until soft. Place roasted cauliflower in a large pot with 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth and boil for 10 minutes. Turn the heat to a low simmer and add 1 ½ cups light cream. Stir to blend. Garnish with freshly ground pepper and chopped green onions.
- Roasted cauliflower with dried cherries and almonds. Try this sweet, savory side dish for something different. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Clean and cut a head of cauliflower and place on a greased baking sheet or one lined with parchment paper. Roast in the oven for 10 minutes, turn and roast for another 20 minutes. Place in the serving dish and keep warm. While cauliflower roasts, melt 1 Tbsp. butter and saute 1/3 cup chopped almonds. Add ½ cup chopped, dried cherries and 1 tsp. cinnamon to the buttered almonds. Heat for 2 to 3 minutes then add the butter mixture to the roasted cauliflower. Toss to coat and serve warm.
Activity idea: hold a contest to see who has the most creative cauliflower recipe! Or set up a caulipower bar with cauliflower and toppings and allow people to make their own creations!
2. Jiang Y1,2, Fang Y1,3, Ye Y1, Xu X4, Wang B5, Gu J6, Aschner M7, Chen J4, Lu R1,8. Anti-Cancer Effects of 3, 3'-Diindolylmethane on Human Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cells Is Enhanced by Calcium Ionophore: The Role of Cytosolic Ca2+ and p38 MAPK. Front Pharmacol. 2019 Oct 9;10:1167.
Submitted by Lisa Andrews, MEd, RD, LD
Lisa Andrews, MEd, RD, LD, is a registered dietitian and owner of Sound Bites Nutrition in Cincinnati. She shares her clinical, culinary, and community nutrition knowledge through cooking demos, teaching, and freelance writing. Lisa is a regular contributor to Food and Health Communications and Today’s Dietitian and is the author of the Healing Gout Cookbook, Complete Thyroid Cookbook, and Heart Healthy Meal Prep Cookbook. Her line of food pun merchandise, Lettuce beet hunger, supports those suffering food insecurity in Cincinnati. For more information, visit her website: https://soundbitesnutrition.com/