Cauliflower is trending everywhere right now, with it being transformed into practically everything — from pizza crust to rice, steaks to mac & cheese and beyond. There’s very little you can’t do with this nutrient-packed cruciferous vegetable. The fact that it’s conveniently available in grocery stores year-round is yet another reason to explore healthy new ways to cook with it, beyond boiling.
Cauliflower’s Health Benefits
Green vegetables may get all the glory, but the humble cauliflower with its abundance of nutrients shouldn’t be ignored. It’s high in vitamins C and K, folate and a range of powerful phytonutrients. Just two cups of the vegetable provided an entire day’s quota of vitamin C. It also serves as a convenient low-carb swap in high-carb dishes. For example, replacing the potato with cauliflower will save 100 calories, cup for cup.
While most cauliflower is white, look out for purple (Graffiti) varieties, which are packed with even more antioxidants, particularly in the form of anthocyanins. Health Tip: To maximize the health benefits of cauliflower be sure not to overcook it.
Here are some of our favorite healthy ways to cook with cauliflower:
Soup is a quintessential comfort food, especially when it’s rich and creamy and full of flavor. This roasted cauliflower and kale soup recipe calls for two nutrient-dense ingredients to create a healthy and satisfying meal. Roasting the cauliflower helps to bring out a slightly nutty taste, which pairs well with toasted pine nuts. The kale lends a beautiful green color that might have you mistaking it for cream of broccoli soup.
Unlike cream of broccoli soup, however, cauliflower-kale soup doesn’t use any cream to achieve a silky smooth texture. The pine nuts and crispy roasted kale add a nice crunch to the dish as well. High in fiber but low in calories, this light soup will leave you feeling full for hours.
A head of cauliflower, when cut into steaks and roasted, makes for a satisfying meal, especially on Meatless Monday. Because of its dense texture, cauliflower prepared this way makes for a great alternative to real meat. Cut into steaks rather than florets, cauliflower serves as a complement to the main course or even act as the main course itself.
The easy caper-anchovy-garlic sauce rounds out the dish with a sharp and umami flavor that balances out the nutty flavor of the cauliflower. A final squeeze of lemon also helps to bring out the bright, lemony flavor of the capers.
While many cauliflower mashed potato recipes use cauliflower as a substitute for potatoes, this recipe calls for a combination of cauliflower and Yukon gold potatoes. The Yukon gold potatoes lend a classic, buttery mashed potato flavor to the dish, while the cauliflower keeps the dish light and fluffy. The combination of cauliflower and potatoes reduce the calories while preserving texture and flavor.
Because the cauliflower lends more moisture than in a traditional mashed potato dish, very little cream needs to be added. An optional garnish of tarragon springs and chile powder adds a nice crunch and kick to the creamy flavor and texture of the mashed potatoes.
Just as with cauliflower steaks, a roast doesn’t have to contain meat. This six-ingredient side dish uses an entire head of cauliflower, which, depending on how man people you’re serving could easily serve as the main course too. Simply pop the cauliflower in the oven and prepare the bread-crumb topping.
Tabbouleh is a refreshing salad typically made of bulgur, tomatoes, green onion, mint, parsley and cucumber. The crumbly texture in the riced cauliflower mimics the texture of the bulgur. This swap slashes the calories and the carb content in the meal, making for a light lunch or side dish. Tip: Make sure not to skimp on any of the other ingredients, such as cucumber for crunch, tomatoes for bright flavor and mint to brighten the whole dish.
Whether it’s the star of the dish or served as a side, cauliflower can enhance the taste and nutritional value of any meal. Start using more cauliflower in your meals by trying these five recipes. Comment below if you have your own favorite healthy way to make cauliflower!