by Julia Horowitz
Start off the new year strong with the nutrient-rich relative of broccoli – cauliflower! In recent years, cauliflower has gained more time in the spotlight, and for good reason. It’s versatile and can be incorporated into many dishes, while providing numerous health benefits. The best part: it’s in season during the winter, so now is the perfect time to try it out!
What are the health benefits of consuming cauliflower?
Cauliflower is an excellent source of vitamin C, providing 85% of the recommended daily value from one serving (1). Vitamin C is an antioxidant that removes free radicals from the body, helping to reduce risk of chronic disease (2). Cauliflower is also a good source of fiber, providing 2.14 grams of dietary fiber per cup (1).
Cauliflower also contains glucosinolates, which are phytochemicals that may help reduce risk of cancer. Glucosinolates produce indole products, which are organic compounds that aid in cancer prevention by regulating cancer cell development. They control apoptosis (cell death) and block the cell cycle. However, research is still being conducted to study the exact mechanism of glucosinolates and their prevalence in cauliflower (3).
How can cauliflower be prepared?
Besides eating it on its own as a snack, cauliflower can be a great substitute for starchy foods, such as potatoes and rice. Cauliflower rice can be commonly found in the freezer section, and is a great low-carb alternative. It can be mashed to substitute for mashed potatoes, without skimping on texture. With the super bowl coming up in a few weeks, cauliflower “wings” are a delicious appetizer and vegetarian alternative to traditional chicken wings. Cauliflower pizza crust is also a great way to pack more veggies in while still enjoying pizza.
- 1 head of cauliflower, cut into large florets
- 1 c. all-purpose flour
- 1 c. milk
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 c. hot sauce (such as Franks)
- 4 tbsp. melted butter
- Ranch dressing, for serving
- Celery sticks, for serving (optional)
- Preheat oven to 450° and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Make batter: In a medium bowl, whisk flour, milk, and garlic powder until combined. Season with salt and pepper and whisk until the batter is smooth.
- Dredge cauliflower in batter until evenly coated. Shake off excess batter and transfer to the prepared baking sheets. Bake until the cauliflower is crispy and golden around edges, about 20 to 25 minutes.
- Meanwhile make buffalo sauce. In a large bowl, whisk together hot sauce and melted butter. Toss baked cauliflower “wings” in sauce before serving.
- Serve with ranch dressing and celery sticks, if desired.
- FoodData Central Search Results. FoodData Central. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169986/nutrients. Accessed January 9, 2020.
- Harvard Health Publishing. Understanding antioxidants. Harvard Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/understanding-antioxidants. Accessed January 8, 2020.
- Cartea ME, Velasco P. Glucosinolates in Brassica foods: bioavailability in food and significance for human health. Phytochemistry Reviews. 2007;7(2):213-229. doi:10.1007/s11101-007-9072-2.