Rice. Tortillas. Pizza. Breadsticks. A sauce for macaroni and cheese. Buffalo wings! Is there anything this versatile cruciferous vegetable can’t do?
Not only can cauliflower be turned into inventive low-carb counterparts, but it can also stand alone as a tasty meal. Cauliflower steak, anyone?
If you’re not a part of this cruciferous commodity yet, here are all the reasons you should be. Cauliflower comes with a high dose of health benefits, from protecting the heart to boosting brain health.
And after you get to know how good it is for you, explore eight different and delicious ways to get this nutrient-dense veggie into your meal rotation.
What are the health benefits of cauliflower?
Did someone say superfood?
Cruciferous veggies score high marks for overall health, longevity, and cardiovascular support, and cauliflower is no exception. The cousin of broccoli contains a plethora of vitamins and minerals, including:
- vitamins C, K, and B-6
Thanks to a high level of anti-inflammatory compounds (particularly sulforaphane), cauliflower is great at fighting oxidative stress.
Cauliflower is particularly high in vitamin C, which has been shown to significantly treat and reduce inflammation in moderate amounts. One single cup of this vegetable serving provides three-fourths of the daily recommended value.
C is for cancer-crushing
Research links the consumption of cruciferous vegetables with a decreased cancer risk. This is due to cauliflower’s cancer-fighting compounds — glucosinolates and isothiocyanates like sulforaphane — and its high dose of antioxidants.
Other cruciferous veggies to try If you really aren’t sold on cauliflower’s taste (although you should try the recipes we curated first), other cruciferous cousins you can add to your plate include:
- Brussels sprouts
Protects the brain
Research shows that high levels of inflammation are directly linked to brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. But remember choline? This anti-inflammatory compound has also been linked to overall brain health, memory, and cognition.
Great if you’re expecting a mini-you
Nutrient-dense cauliflower has been shown to promote a healthy pregnancy in more ways than one. In fact, it contains many of the vitamins and minerals one would find in prenatal supplements: vitamin C, folate, and calcium.
8 delicious new ways to try cauliflower
1. Roast it whole
Whole roasted cauliflower is the stuff of dreams. It’s easy to make, looks impressive when presented, and it can easily be the star of the entire meal.
Try this whole-roasted version, which keeps things simple with just five ingredients and a deep red harissa crust for a kick of heat.
2. Create a different kind of steak
A plant-based steak? Don’t write us off just yet.
Cauliflower steaks — like this satisfying grilled version — once perfectly caramelized, taste fantastic paired with your favorite pesto or sauce. We like this recipe for its simplicity and the double dose of antioxidants that the walnuts provide.
3. Indulge in cheesy “bread” sticks
We all know there’s a ton of low-carb cauliflower swaps out there — from tortillas to pizza to bagels. But for something fun, sharable, and very kid-friendly, whip up these cheesy (and surprisingly easy) cauliflower breadsticks. Gooey cheese strands guaranteed.
4. Upgrade your lunch salad
There’s nothing worse than a sad desk lunch. Don’t let that happen to you. From winter to summer, you can create inspired salads with the help of our favorite cruciferous veggie.
5. Start your morning right
In a hurry? No worries. These cauliflower hash browns are a tasty morning treat and can be made ahead and reheated as needed. They’re perfect paired with some scrambled eggs and fruit for a well-balanced breakfast.
6. Try legume-free hummus
If you follow a keto, paleo, or Whole30 diet, hummus is off limits. However, a hummus made with cauliflower? Creamy, delicious, and totally allowed.
Try this high-rated recipe, laced with fruity olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, and lots of garlic.
7. Rethink the grain
If you’ve been to a grocery store in the past year or read any blog — ever — you know just how popular cauliflower “rice” is. There’s rice skillets, fried rice, and even risotto. But you can replace other grains for cauliflower, too.
8. Leave room for dessert
Did you think we would leave something sweet off the menu? Cauliflower is so versatile that it can even be made into dessert.
It might sound weird, but cauliflower has always been a shining sidekick to every dish because it’s an excellent vehicle for other flavors.
Now that you know the powerful health benefits that cauliflower provides and eight unique ways to prepare it, which recipe are you most excited to try first?
Tiffany La Forge is a professional chef, recipe developer, and food writer who runs the blog Parsnips and Pastries. Her blog focuses on real food for a balanced life, seasonal recipes, and approachable health advice. When she’s not in the kitchen, Tiffany enjoys yoga, hiking, traveling, organic gardening, and hanging out with her corgi, Cocoa. Visit her at her blog or on Instagram.