The Health Benefits of Cauliflower
Cauliflower continues to be a hot healthy eating trend, and for good reason. Of all the cruciferous vegetables, it’s the least cabbage-y in flavor. Mellow and mild, cauliflower is like a blank canvas that you can turn into all kinds of things, from buffalo chicken to pizza crust. But however you dress it up or down, there’s no denying that cauliflower contains some amazing health benefits. High in vitamin C, folate, and antioxidants, it can help soothe inflammation, boost cardiovascular health, and help fight cancer. If that’s not enough to convince you, it’s also crazy low in calories—like 27 calories per cup low. So, mashed potatoes, take that and stuff it. Here’s how you can make cauliflower shine this season.
How Do You Prepare Cauliflower?
You might picture cauliflower as pure white, but in fact, it can be a vibrant green, orange, or purple. A head can be roasted whole, which is beautiful; sliced into steaks, great for grilling; or separated into florets, the easiest for most purposes. If you’re not sure where to start, remove the core. You can use a paring knife to snap off individual florets, or flip it upside down and core it like a strawberry, cutting out the center, and watching the florets fall away. A big head can fill your cutting board with florets, which might be more than you need for dinner tonight. If you only want half, pop the rest into veggie bags for easy snacking.
What Can You Do with Cauliflower?
Oh, so much. Cauliflower is delicious raw, roasted, stir-fried, mashed like potatoes, blitzed into rice, and more. Here are just a few favorite methods to start.
Roasted Cauliflower: Roasting brings out the best in cauliflower, teasing out a pleasant peppery flavor and toasting the edges. Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C). Core and separate the cauliflower into bite-size florets. Pile the florets on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat and spread out. Roast until tender-crisp and golden, about 20 minutes. You could sprinkle with pesto, capers, and crispy whole-wheat breadcrumbs, for a zesty topping.
Mashed Cauliflower: As a low-cal alternative to potatoes, mashed cauliflower is surprisingly sweet and light, so even a dab of butter sings. In a pot fitted with a steaming rack, pour an inch or two of water. Bring to a boil, add the cauliflower florets, cover tightly with a lid, and steam just until tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a food processor, add a dab of butter, a splash of nonfat milk, and a light sprinkle of salt, and process until thick and smooth. Add a little more milk, if necessary, to reach the desired consistency.
Cauliflower Cheese: Even vegetable haters fall hard for cheese sauce—and it isn’t too indulgent if you use skim milk and a sharp cheese. Roast or steam the cauliflower florets, following either method above. In the microwave, warm 1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) nonfat milk. In a small saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, and stir until fragrant, 30 seconds. Slowly whisk in the warm milk, and continue to cook until thick, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in 1 cup (4 oz/125 g) shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Season with salt and white pepper. Drizzle the warm cheese sauce over the cauliflower.
More Cauliflower Recipes
Hungry for more? There are so many crazy good cauliflower recipes. Plus, you can usually safely substitute it for broccoli.
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.