White bread, white rice, white pasta — many healthy diets recommend limiting your consumption of these white foods (or avoiding them altogether), but there's one white food you don’t need to avoid: cauliflower.
But did you know that not all cauliflower is white? You can also find green, orange and purple varieties of cauliflower.
Cauliflower is a member of the cruciferous family, similar to broccoli and cabbage. Cruciferous veggies are packed with vitamins, minerals and nutrients that are beneficial your body.
Here are a few reasons to get more cauliflower in your diet:
High in potassium, low in calories. Potassium is an essential mineral necessary for maintaining a regular heartbeat and proper hydration. Bananas are well known for their potassium content, but while one banana contains more than 400mg of potassium, it also packs more than 100 calories. One cup of raw cauliflower contains 320mg of potassium and only 27 calories.
Protect immune system. Cauliflower is also, surprisingly, a rich source of vitamin C. In fact, one cup of raw cauliflower contains 52mg of vitamin C, compared to one medium orange, which contains 64mg. Vitamin C protects against immune deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems and eye disease and even helps keep your skin looking young and healthy.
Detox. Sulfur-containing compounds called glucosinolates are found in cauliflower. It's these compounds that give the vegetable its distinct smell and flavor. The glucosinolates also trigger the body’s detoxification process.
Cauliflower is one of those vegetables that may seem a bit boring, but there are countless creative and delicious ways you can enjoy more cauliflower in your diet. Here are a few favorites:
Spicy Whole Roasted Cauliflower
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 head cauliflower
- 1½ cups plain Greek yogurt
- 1 lime, zested and juiced
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400° and lightly grease a small baking sheet with vegetable oil. Set aside.
- Trim the base of the cauliflower to remove leaves and stem.
- In a medium bowl, combine the yogurt with the lime zest and juice, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, curry powder, salt and pepper.
- Dunk the cauliflower into the bowl and use a brush or your hands to cover the cauliflower in the marinade.
- Place the cauliflower on the prepared baking sheet and roast until the surface is dry and lightly browned, about 30 to 40 minutes. The marinade will make a crust on the surface of the cauliflower.
- Let the cauliflower cool for 10 minutes before cutting it into wedges and serving alongside a green salad.
Roasted Cauliflower Sliders
- 1 head cauliflower
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ¾ cup Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons Sriracha
- 12 slider buns, halved
- ¾ cup hummus
- 3 cups sprouts
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Break the cauliflower into large florets (about 3 inches wide) and then cut the florets into ½-inch-thick slices. (Cauliflower slices should be about the size of a slider bun.)
- Arrange the cauliflower slices in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt, pepper, smoked paprika and thyme.
- Roast until golden brown and tender, about 17 to 20 minutes.
- In a small bowl, whisk the yogurt with the Sriracha to combine.
- Spread a layer of hummus on the bottom half of each bun. Top each with a piece of roasted cauliflower.
- Spread a layer of spicy yogurt on the top half of each bun and place ¼ cup sprouts on top of the yogurt. Close the buns and serve.
Garlic Mashed Cauliflower
- 1 medium head cauliflower
- 1 tablespoon cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
- 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/8 teaspoon straight chicken base or bullion (may substitute 1/2 teaspoon salt)
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh or dry chives, for garnish
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Set a pot of water to boil over high heat.
- Clean and cut cauliflower into small pieces. Cook in boiling water for about 6 minutes, or until well done. Drain well; do not let cool and pat cooked cauliflower very dry between several layers of paper towels.
- In a bowl with an immersion blender or in a food processor, puree the hot cauliflower with the cream cheese, Parmesan, garlic, chicken base, and pepper until almost smooth.
- Garnish with chives, and serve hot.
Baked Cauliflower Tots
- 2 medium heads cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1/4 cup small diced onion
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup finely ground breadcrumbs
- 1 large egg
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a nonstick baking sheet liberally with cooking spray.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the cauliflower florets to the water and cook them just until fork tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Thoroughly drain the florets and transfer them to a food processor. Pulse the cauliflower for a few seconds until it breaks down into small pieces (about the size of grains of rice). (Do not overmix the cauliflower or the mixture will be too wet to form.)
- Measure out 3 packed cups of the cauliflower and add it to a large bowl. Stir in the diced onion, Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, egg, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, mixing until thoroughly combined. Using your hands, scoop up 1 to 2 tablespoons of the mixture and mold it into a tater tot shape. Place it on the prepared baking sheet and repeat the shaping process with the remainder of the mixture, spacing the tots about 1 inch apart.
- Bake for about 20 minutes, flip and bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes until crisped. Remove and serve with preferred dipping sauce.