The veggie crisper drawer may be looking pretty sad for many of us this time of year, especially if you are trying to eat more seasonal and local produce. But if you don’t happen to live in a warm, sunny climate; fear not: you have cauliflower!
While eating bright, richly coloured veggies and fruit is a great strategy to boost your antioxidant intake, don’t ignore this white relative of broccoli based on colour alone.
Although cauliflower is available year-round, it’s often best (and cheapest) in cold fall/winter months and contains similar antioxidants to other cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, kale and Brussels sprouts.
Low in calories and a rich source of vitamin C and fibre, cauliflower also contains glucosinolates, which are converted into cancer-fighting compounds by your gut bacteria. Eating three or more servings of cruciferous veggies per week (that’s only 1.5 cups total per week!) is associated with reduced risk of bladder, prostate and colon cancer.
Although often relegated to the forgotten veggie tray, there are many simple and delicious ways to update your opinions on cauliflower:
- healthy nostalgia: steam florets and sprinkle with grated parmesan or aged white cheddar and chopped parsley
- spicy side dish: sauté in olive oil with garlic, shallots and red chili flakes
- antioxidant powerhouse: toss with olive oil and curry powder (which contains turmeric) and roast in the oven
- potato alternative: mash steamed cauliflower and mix with milk or low-sodium chicken broth and a *little* butter
- fake creamy soup: pureé cauliflower and add to your favourite soup for creaminess without the added saturated fat
Need more inspiration? Here is our current favourite cauliflower recipe………
Cheesey Cauliflower with Hemp Hearts and Walnuts
- 1 cup of breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup of hemp hearts
- 1/4 cup walnuts (crushed)
- 1 tsp butter
- 1 large cauliflower (cored and cut into florets)
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1.5 cups of milk
- 3 tbsp all purpose flour
- 1 garlic clove (minced)
- 2 cups of cheese (we like extra old Cheddar)
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- sambal oelek, curry paste or curry powder (optional add to taste)
- 2 egg yolks
- Mix breadcrumbs, hemp hearts, crushed walnuts and 1 tsp butter in a bowl (set aside). You can also use bread and chopped walnuts and just toss everything in the food processor to crush and mix
- Boil the cauliflower in a large pot of water for 5-7 minutes (until just tender). Reserve 1 cup of the water and drain the rest. Set cauliflower aside.
- Melt butter over medium heat, add flour and cook for 1 minute. Make sure you stir constantly.
- Add milk, garlic, and reserved cooking liquid. Cook (continue stirring) until thickened (7-10 minutes).
- Remove from heat and stir in cheese, nutritional yeast, egg yolks and your seasoning of choice.
- Once cheese has melted, add in the cauliflower.
- Lightly oil a baking dish with canola oil and pour in the cauliflower mixture. Top with breadcrumb mixture.
- Bake at 350oF for 30 minutes (bubbly and lightly browned topping).