The cruciferous cauliflower has been crowned king of vegetables. And why not?
As more of us are adopting low-carb, plant-based, gluten-free and paleo diets we're sampling new veggies to keep us inspired. Looks like clean foods that limit additives, refined sugars and synthetic or genetically modified ingredients is the wave of the future.
To keep up with this trend, I planted 13 cauliflower plants.
Not even the traditional white heads, but the purple variety. Certainly, I have my misgivings.
After all, if I get just a few cauliflower heads, or worse, none at all.....just think of all the space in my garden that I've wasted. All for naught!
But it's done. And what is life if you're not willing to take a few risks?
Even if you didn't plant cauliflower this year, here's 5 ways and a few reasons to chow down on the cruciferous cauliflower.
Let's celebrate cauliflower!
Whaaaat? Nothing worth having in life is easy. So if a crop doesn't pan out for me, I'm researching exactly why it didn't work and will try it again. And again. And again.
Plants are an investment. Money in the bank.
These are my first cauliflower attempts and I hear they are not for the fainthearted.
Where are we seeing cauliflower crop up?
Pinterest is flashing us recipes using cauliflower in muffins to mashed cauliflower, to gnocchi, casseroles, pizza and even chocolate brownies.
Maybe because cauliflower has a mild flavor and is so versatile? I mean, what does cauliflower taste like? Not much.
But this means you can use that bland cauliflower in dishes that allow it to absorb flavors in its sauces and spices. So it pairs well in curries, stir-fries and chili. All yum.
1.) Cauliflower rice
And I don't miss the calories either. A 100-gram serving of white rice contains 150 calories, 34 grams of carbs, and 1 gram of fiber.
A similar portion of riced cauliflower contain just 25 calories, 5 grams of carbs, and triple the amounts of fiber.
I've even made a pizza crust out of my cauliflower rice and it wasn't too bad! As good as a bread dough pizza? Again. No. But a worthy effort!
And If you do "rice" your cauliflower, do enough for several meals because it's a messy venture.
And I will issue this warning: cauliflower "dough" doesn't stick as well as regular dough. So you'll need the sauce and cheese to hold it all together. Most likely, you'll have to eat it with a fork, too or your pizza will go plop on you.
Many people have replaced the rice in their sushi, stuffed peppers and taco bowls with much success.
2.) Raw cauliflower
Vegetables, even in their raw state are just as delicious as you would hope for. Try it.
Eat nothing but meat, fruits and vegetables for a week and see what happens to your taste buds. They'll soar!
"Deprived" of sugar, your cravings for "bad" food plummets. A Cheerio, yes really, a Cheerio or a cracker will taste like a sweet treat.
It's wonderful! When you try real cake again, your taste buds rebel. They think it's too sweet and no longer want it!
It's my number one weight loss tip. With three kids home all day now that school is out, I don't have time for a formal exercise routine. That's not realistic.
So if I skip dessert and snack on veggies instead, that is my workout. Win-win.
And dare I say it? Dipping your raw veggies in ranch dressing or blue cheese? That's a no-go! Sorry. Just raw. Do it. You'll love it!
3.) Roast it with Parm cheese
Nothing could be more delicious. It's a party in your mouth. The ideal side dish to bring to any family gathering.
Roasting veggies (and meat and fish) at higher temperatures caramelizes their sugars and proteins, creating a deeper, more delicious flavor profile. For my family, I do a whole pan of veggies this way to feed the sharks in my home.
My kids pound down that cauliflower in its Parmy cheesy state. My 14-month-old baby? He hums when he eats his cauliflower all mashed up. Those plump legs start kicking and his arms swinging and he chows down. Food is his happy place. Eating cauliflower!
4.) Mash it
And I think it's more about how you season it than anything else. If you just boil and mash it, well, what do you expect? Yuck.
But after you boil it if you use your hand masher and add sauteed garlic, onions and a little thyme, watch the flavors unfold.
You could even add a little nonfat Greek yogurt for texture and creaminess. Top your mixture with grated Parm cheese and a little parsley for a last burst of flavor. You taste buds will dance.
And when you think about how your calories are coming from cauliflower and not simple potato carbs, even better!
5.) Puree it
Baby eats three packages of pureed food at every meal! That adds up quick, so pureeing my own food is the route to take.
And since I'm doing it for him, I might as way find a way to feed my whole family using pureed cauliflower. Soup anyone?
A note on textures...
Some people like chunky soups, still others prefer soups in pureed form. Ditto for foods like salsa and pasta sauce. Everyone takes a firm stance. Chunky or smooth. Where are you on this fence?
But cauliflower makes a super nice staple for any casserole taking on the flavors of the herbs you add-in. That is, if you are a "chunky cauliflower" eater. Add a little chicken or go solo. The choice is yours!