Colorful fruits and vegetables make me happy. I believe they should make anybody happy (and in fact, studies show that consuming a wide variety of fruits and vegetables does make people happy!)! And it is advised to have a pallete of color on your plate each meal in greater proportion to meats and carbohydrates. One of my favorite veggies, and honestly, one that is sorely unrecognized in its versatility, are cauliflowers. Growing up in India I knew of one type of cauliflower- white. And I knew one way to cook it-curry! Imagine my joy when I discovered, in the United States, other colors of cauliflower, mostly originating from Italy, in hues of yellow and purple…and cooking it other ways – steaming, mashing with spices, roasting or sautéing on their own or with other vegetables.
Cauliflowers are nutritious and healthy- good sources of vitamin C, B and K, cauliflowers can easily add a pop of color to your pot of roasted or sautéed vegetables. There have been studies linking reduced risks in certain types of cancers by consuming cauliflower. These are fantastic low-cal, low-carb but high-fiber alternatives top add to your weekly meal plans.
Here’s cauliflower done three ways if you aren’t already a big fan:
Favorite treatment – Roasting! Wash a bag of cauliflower florets, season with olive oil, add salt and pepper to taste, curry and chili powder for that zing effect, and roast in the oven for about 20-30 minutes. They come out nice and crispy. If you use the white cauliflower it usually takes on the color of the spices and turns into a nice fire-y yellow/red with browned tops where it got roasted well. Eat this up right away, leaving it around makes it soft.
Another option – Saute with other vegetables. Again, a little bit of olive oil and spices to taste go a long way. Depending on what veggies you throw into the mix, you might have to add the cauliflower later as it cooks pretty easy. Use the purple or yellow cauliflower here, if available, to add more color to the dish. Finding vibrant purple veggies isn’t easy – this will make a good impression with guests.
Long-lasting tip – Do unto a cauliflower as you would a potato! Mashed cauliflower can be prepared by steaming the florets and mashing them with minced garlic, olive oil, butter and salt. I prefer it with minimul flavor so that you can really taste the cauliflower. Serve hot with some sour cream and chives or some grated cheese- just like potatoes. Mashed cauliflower is good for longer freeze and store periods and takes up little space in your refrigerator if you decide to batch it up for the week.
Best part – cauliflower is great with meats, poultry and fish. It lends well to casseroles, soups and large one-pot preparations. Despite savoring cauliflowers for the longest time, I only recently discovered the leaves are edible! Season and roast like you would with kale leaves. See how easy it is to work with? Happy eating and better health to you! Let us know how you cook up cauliflower!
And here are a few other easy cauliflower recipes for the ambitious cook!
Multi-colored cauliflower image from Shutterstock; food images copyright Vibrant Wellness Journal