Underrated Powerfoods: Cauliflower | Powerfood Chronicles #12

Time for a new chapter of my ‘Underrated Health & Beauty Powerfoods’ series! Not exotic, not expensive and certainly NOT getting all the limelight they deserve.

A close friend of broccoli, cabbage, collard greens, sexy trendy kale, and less sexy but socially quite acceptable brussels sprouts, Cauliflower is in season now and… hated by many.

Too bad really, for Brassicaceae or Cruciferous Vegetables are one of Those Foods, yes, I mean one of those cancer-preventing foods, that Professeur Beliveau and other dedicated experts suggest that we have on our plate daily.

Now, two most common reasons for Cauliflower Blues are: “it’s boring” and – “it tastes like blah”.

Let’s do away with prejudices and find out how to incorporate this cruciferous veggie into our daily menu!

Cauliflower is NOT boring

Now first of all, how can something that comes in a variety of colours be boring?
Whaaat?

Yes, for there is white, orange, green and even purple Cauliflower, all natural varieties!

Orange varieties – unsurprisingly – contain more Vitamin An than the white ones. Green is a close friend of Romanesco. And purple is rich in anthocyans (same lovely stuff you know from red wine).purple-cauliflower-rich-in-anthocyansSo beautiful, right?

Cauliflower is GOOD for you

Low fat and low carb, cauliflower is high in Vitamin C, water, folate, fibre, carotenoids and several cancer-smashin’ phytochemicals. Sulforaphane and myrosinase are the most important two of those (and good news: they’re found in all cauliflower cruciferous siblings such as kale and broccoli etc.), however heat destroys most of the myrosinase.
Good news: tickle it with added myrosinase from raw cruciferous veggies (mustard, arugula, horseradish, watercress) and get a health boost!cauliflower-powerfood-series

What I find particularly interesting, and nutrition experts seem to be quite d’accord here, is that while boiling reduces the levels of those anti-C compounds, up to 75% of loss, it seems that other preparation methods – such steaming, stir frying, roasting – have no such effect.

Which brings us to:

How to Make Cauliflower Taste Good

While Cauliflower can be eaten raw, I do not enjoy that. However, raw cauliflower is a great ingredient for white and green (any colour really) smoothies. You can also blend raw or steamed cauliflower to obtain a neutral base for vegan cream soups and go any direction you choose, Mediterranean, Asian, sure thing!warming-vegetables-example

In terms of cooking, I prefer to roast or to steam Cauliflower.

Its taste doesn’t bug me, I actually do like it, and can eat it pure. Yes, even with no salt or anything! 🙂
Lucky for everybody else, Cauliflower can really “soak up” flavours, so you can go heavy on nutmeg, chili flakes, BBQ spice blends, currys and tomato sauces.

mini-cauliflower-steamed-with-nutmeg

Low in starch, Cauliflower can be used to substitute rice, pasta, or potatoes in recipes for delicous, savoury comfort food; there are recipes for cauliflower pizza crust and cauliflower pancakes that are no-brainers for anyone who enjoys cooking.

Cauliflower “steaks” are a thing, too – and such a brilliant addition to a BBQ menu.

Apart from simple roasted cauliflower (sprinkle with a little organic canola oil and quickly roast in the oven until your favourite grade of readiness is achieved: from juicy to buttery; top with the Creamy Almond & Mustard Sauce that’s 2 part almond butter, 1 part mustard, 1 part honey/agave and 3 parts vegan ‘cream cheese’ – to die for, I assure you), and from the most delightful Silky Pumpkin Soup discussed in my post on warming cold season foods, this simple curry is my favourite recipe:

Vegan, GF, Easy, Quick
Recipe: Sweet & Spicy Cauliflower Curry

Yields 2 servings

Ingredients:
250 ml coconut milk (the creamy one)
100 ml liquid coconut milk (for example, Provamel)
one handfull small deep-frozen cauliflower florets
…and of deep-frozen French beans
1 middle onion, cut in thin wedges
1 red chili pepper (something suitably spicy to your liking, with or without seeds)
2 table spoons Herbaria Calypso Tropical Curry blend (a very spicy and sweet blend)
1 handful dried pineapple in small pieces
2 table spoons coconut flakes if you like them
soy sauce to taste (GF if you need to)

Method:
Pour both liquids into a cooking pot, stir in the spice blend, the pineapple and the onion, and bring to a boil.
As soon as the liquid starts to boil, add deep-frozen veggies and blend well. Let simmer, covered, for about ten minutes (at least that’s enough for my brand of deep-frozen veggies). Taste and add soy sauce if needed. Often the sweet and spicy mix is so delicious that no saltiness is needed, but not always.

spicy-cauliflower-curryServe warm on its own or with brown rice. Rice noodles make another excellent side. Bon apetit!

I hope you’ve found some ideas for your next lunch here 😉

So, if you like Cauliflower like I do, good for us!
And if you don’t? Well, there are many alternatives!
Brussels sprouts, anyone?..

 

 

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