Cauliflower Power

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Why you should stock up on this versatile veggie of the moment

Lowly cauliflower is not so lowly anymore. High in B-vitamins, a similar nutrient called choline, vitamin C (as much as half of your day’s target amount) and other antioxidants and phytonutrients, along with fiber and protein, cauliflower offers anti-inflammatory and cancer protection properties, gut health and brain development, among other things.

Still, I suspect that does not entirely account for the recent cauli-craze. I am willing to bet that it is cauliflower’s low calorie and carb count that is responsible for elevating this cruciferous vegetable to celebrity status. It certainly isn’t the aroma, at least not while cooking.

Whether you are plant-based or paleo—or eschew labels but wouldn’t mind cutting a few calories and carbs—cauliflower plays nicely with others, working well as a substitute for higher carb and calorie foods such as potatoes and rice. Widely available as heads, florets, or the wildly popular riced version, cauliflower has a terrific texture whether raw or cooked.

But let’s be honest: it simply does not taste like rice, no matter how much soy sauce you add. On the other hand, bathed in a cornstarch-and-water slurry before being deep fried, drained well, and tossed in Buffalo or sweet chili sauce, it tastes especially delicious for the occasional splurge. But then, maybe anything would.

On the following page is a tasty recipe I developed to showcase the queen of the crucifers: spoonbread, which was a bit of a delicious accident as I was attempting to make bread.

However, if you aren’t much of a cook, just microwave some florets in the bag and process with a modest amount of dairy/non-dairy butter and milk, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and—do not even think about leaving these ingredients out—roasted garlic and lemon zest.

Betsy DiJulio is an award-winning art teacher, practicing artist, vegan cook and author of The Blooming Platter: A Harvest of Seasonal Vegan Recipes.

Recipe from The Blooming Platter: TheBloomingPlatter.com or on Instagram: @bloomingplatter


Cauliflower Spoonbread

If cornbread and a souffle had a love child, it would be spoonbread. My version is low calorie–even with rich plant-based butter—and includes no corn, but somehow has a slightly corny taste. Regardless, it is luscious. You can leave out the garlic and onion powders and serve with maple syrup for breakfast or brunch.

1 pound frozen riced cauliflower, cooked (I use the steam-in-
bag type)
1 cup plain nondairy milk
(I use unsweetened soy)
3 tablespoons flaxseed meal
1 tablespoon vegetable-based oil
1/3 cup coconut flour (lends a slightly sweet flavor)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 to 1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons melted butter
(I use Miyoko’s)
Optional garnish: escabeche
(I enjoy mine with cherry tomato halves, cucumber, peppers, onion, garlic, star anise, and fresh thyme)

Grease an 8” souffle dish and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place all ingredients, except butter, in large food processor and process until smooth. Transfer to prepared dish, drizzle with butter, and bake for
45 minutes for a soft consistency or 50 for a slightly firmer consistency. The dish is spoonable while warm and sliceable once cooled. Yields 4 servings.

Sidebar
Cauliflower and Cancer Prevention
Cruciferous vegetables, such as cauliflower, are often studied by cancer researchers.

According to the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health, these veggies contain a group of substances known as glucosinolates, which are sulfur-containing chemicals.

During food preparation, chewing, and digestion, the glucosinolates are broken down to form biologically active compounds such as indoles, nitriles, thiocyanates, and isothiocyanates.

Indole-3-carbinol (an indole) and sulforaphane (an isothiocyanate) have been most frequently examined for their anticancer effects.

These compounds have been found to inhibit the development of cancer in several organs in rats and mice, including the bladder, breast, colon, liver, lung, and stomach.

Other popular cruciferous vegetables include cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli.

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About Author

Betsy DiJulio is an award-winning art teacher, practicing artist, vegan cook and author of The Blooming Platter: A Harvest of Seasonal Vegan Recipes.

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