by Stephanie Flemming
Tired of your typical green vegetables? Well, you’re in for a twist! Although most produce flourishes in the warm spring and summer months, cauliflower is best throughout the winter months, December to March. Its distinct creamy white color and cruciferous nature not only set it apart, but cauliflower brings many health benefits in even a small serving!
What are the benefits of adding cauliflower to your diet?
Not only does cauliflower provide a low-calorie snack and rich source of vitamins and fiber, but could cauliflower be a beauty product? Due to its richness in phytochemical compounds called glucosinolates, cauliflower protects our skin from free radical damage.1 In previous studies, derivatives of these compounds (isothiocyanates like sulforaphane) may reduce the appearance of skin aging by preventing wrinkles and increasing smoothness of skin.2 Definitely beneficial during the cold, dry winter months!
More importantly, cauliflower’s ability to fight free radical damage is what has linked it (and other cruciferous vegetables) to a reduced risk of several types of cancer, most notably lung, bladder, breast, prostate and colorectal cancers.3
But what are other methods of preparing cauliflower?
People tend to overlook cauliflower due to broccoli’s title as the most common cruciferous vegetable, but what people do not always see is cauliflower’s versatility, especially when it comes to cooking and preparing recipes. Cauliflower can stand-in for starchy foods such as white rice and potatoes.4 Although white rice and potatoes are not bad for us in moderation, people tend to over consume refined carbohydrates and starches – they don’t focus enough attention on the antioxidants and phytochemicals found in vegetables.
Even if potatoes or rice are the preferable method, using cauliflower provides a healthful change to one’s recipe book, and can be used as a substitution in all sorts of recipes. Below is a great “mock” garlic mashed cauliflower-potato recipe from the Food Network to cook up!
- 1 medium head cauliflower
- 1 tablespoon cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/8 teaspoon straight chicken base or bouillon (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 stockpot 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 with pats of butter.
Hint: Try roasting the garlic and adding a little fresh rosemary for a whole new taste!
- Avato P, Argentieri MP. Brassicaceae: A rich source of health improving phytochemicals. Phytochemistry Reviews ; 14(6): 1019-1033.
- Sikdar S, et al. What do we know about sulforaphane protection against photoaging? Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology 2016; 15(1):72-7.
- Fujioka N, et al. Research on cruciferous vegetables, indole-3-carbinol, and cancer prevention: a tribute to Lee W. Wattenberg. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research 2016 [epub ahead of print].
- Cauliflower. (2015). Nutrition Action Health Letter, 42(9), 16.