Tasty, easy cauliflower recipes — from roasted cauliflower to cauliflower pizza — will have you and your family eating more of this super nutritional veggie.
You’ve probably heard cauliflower is a healthful addition to your diet. But if you aren’t eating cauliflower frequently, or at all, here are a few reasons to change your attitude.
First, cauliflower is a powerhouse of good-for-you nutrients. What’s even more important — at least, to your taste buds — is the fact you can easily and deliciously add cauliflower to your diet with tasty and tempting cauliflower recipes.
Eating more cauliflower is a recipe for health
Cauliflower is rich in nutrients and a good source of dietary fiber, including several carotenoids (beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin), minerals, and vitamins C, E, K and folate.
Like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, radishes, turnips, and collard greens, cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable. This class of veggies is loaded with sulfur-containing chemicals called glucosinolates. During food preparation, glucosinolates break down into biologically active compounds associated with anti-cancer properties, according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI).
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has designated cauliflower one of the powerhouse fruits and vegetables (PFVs) — the foods most researched and identified as being helpful in reducing the risk of chronic health problems, including heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
Of course, to take advantage of all cauliflower has to offer, you need to eat it.
Even if you’ve never been a fan of this vegetable before, try the tips for cooking cauliflower and the tasty cauliflower recipes below and, odds are, you’ll soon be enjoying everything from roasted cauliflower to cauliflower tacos.
Tips on cooking cauliflower and boosting flavor
What if you are sold on the reasons to eat cauliflower, but you just don’t like the taste?
Cauliflower does have a slightly bitter taste and is somewhat bland, but it also has a taste advantage, according to registered dietitian nutritionist and health wellness coach Julie Schwartz . “Adding spices, a little garlic, and olive oil can help cauliflower take on a different flavor all together,” she explains.
This roasted cauliflower recipe from Schwartz is a flavorful example:
- Toss cauliflower florets with enough olive oil to coat them lightly.
- Place the cauliflower on a baking sheet and sprinkle with spices you like (garlic, paprika, rosemary, and turmeric work well).
- Roast for 20 to 30 minutes in a preheated 450-degree oven until the cauliflower takes on a golden, caramelized color.
- When done, serve as a side dish or mix it with garbanzo beans and roasted tomatoes, broccoli, and onions – or add to tacos.
“Cauliflower can be added to lots of dishes. Imagination is the only thing to hold you back,” says Schwartz. “It can be steamed, sautéed, roasted, grilled, stir fried, and baked. It can be shredded and used much like rice or mashed and used like potatoes. It can be added to salads, combined with sautéed vegetable mixes for omelets, and used to top pasta, rice, quinoa, and to fill quesadillas.”
You can even make cauliflower into a low-carb, low calorie, high-fiber pizza crust. In fact, cauliflower crusts are becoming more common in the grocery store frozen food section, or you can make your own.
“First, steam the cauliflower and pulse it with a food processor so it has the consistency of rice,” Schwartz explains. “Then just form it into the shape of a crust.”
Place it on a baking sheet or pizza pan, add healthy vegetable toppings, sprinkle lightly with cheese, if desired, and bake the pizza for about 15 minutes in a pre-heated 450-degree oven, until it’s lightly brown and crispy.
There are cauliflower recipes for any taste
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is one of many online sources of free, tried and true cauliflower recipes.
Here are some varied cauliflower recipes to try:
Cauliflower with cheese (serves 7)
1-pound whole wheat pasta shells
8 cups water
2 cups chopped cauliflower
1 1/2 cups non-fat milk
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 cup flour
1/4 cup olive or other vegetable oil
1 cup low-fat cheese
- Bring 6 cups of water to a boil, add the pasta, and cook for 8 minutes.
- Drain the pasta and fill the same pot with 2 cups of water, bring to a boil, and add the chopped cauliflower. Cook about 4 minutes until the florets are soft, then drain.
- Place the cooked cauliflower, 1/2 cup milk, and garlic salt in a blender; blend until smooth.
- Heat the oil in separate pot on low heat, add the flour, and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Add 1 cup of milk and cook the mixture until it bubbles and thickens. Add the cheese and cauliflower and mix.
- Remove the mixture from heat. Add the pasta back into the sauce and serve.
Cauliflower and peas in cream sauce (serves 6)
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 teaspoons butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup skim or low-fat milk
1 tablespoon pimiento (optional)
1/2 teaspoon parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon instant chicken bouillon granules
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 dash pepper
2 cups cauliflower
1 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
2 tablespoons water
- Combine the cauliflower, peas, and water in a 1-quart casserole. Cover and microwave on high for 6 to 8 minutes, or until fork tender (stir after half the time). Let stand, covered.
- Combine onion and butter in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, or until the onion is tender. Stir in flour. Microwave a few seconds more until the flour mixture starts to bubble.
- Add remaining ingredients. Microwave at high 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, or until thickened. Stir.
- Drain vegetables. Pour the sauce over vegetables and stir to coat.
Options: Vegetables may be boiled or steamed, and the sauce prepared on top of a range if a microwave is not available.
1/2 cup slivered onions
1/2 cup slivered green peppers
2 and 1/2 cups cauliflower, cut into bite size pieces
2 cups broccoli, cut into bite size pieces
1 tablespoon Hoisin sauce (Chinese sauce available in most grocery stores)
1 tablespoon soy sauce (low salt)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 ounces white cooking wine
1/4 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup fresh pea pods
1 tablespoon olive oil
- Fill a large pot 1/2 full of water. Bring to a boil. Add the carrots and cook for 3 minutes. Add the cauliflower and broccoli and cook for another 3 minutes.
- Heat oil (just to below smoking point) in a large pan or wok. Add all the vegetables to the pan and sauté for 3 minutes until tender.
- Add all seasonings and sauces. Blend well.
- Serve hot.
July 24, 2019
Janet O’Dell RN