If there’s one thing I can’t help but notice, it’s that cauliflower is a really popular ingredient to work with right now!
When I was growing up, I didn’t eat any cauliflower. Maybe my family just didn’t like it, but I don’t really remember seeing it in meals or listed on menus. I think it’s just really grown in popularity in recent years, now that everyone’s realizing the true versatility of it and the many health benefits.
It seems like everyday I come across a new recipe for it, with all kinds of different techniques. And I understand why! Cauliflower is mild and takes on flavors easily, and it is extremely versatile in the ways it can be prepared. Plus, it is a superfood full of nutrients!
Cauliflower is a significant source of nutrients. It actually contains some of almost every vitamin and mineral that our bodies need! It contains vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, and magnesium, just to name a few. Cauliflower provides a significant amount of antioxidants, as well. It can help protect against chronic diseases, protect from harmful free radicals, and reduce inflammation.
Cauliflower also contains fiber, about 10% of the recommended daily intake in a 1 cup serving. Fiber is important because it helps prevent digestive conditions and is linked with a lower risk of several illnesses, but fiber is also great for weight loss. It can help you feel more full, and help reduce overall calorie intake. Cauliflower itself is also a low-calorie food, containing only 25 calories in a 1 cup serving. It is a great low-calorie substitute for many higher-calorie foods.
Cauliflower really can be prepared so many different ways. It may be the most versatile vegetable in terms of different preparations! It can be eaten raw and dipped in ranch or any other dressing or dip, but there are so many other ways to eat it. Here are just a few ideas on how to prepare it, though the possibilities are endless.
Roasted – This is likely the most common way you’ve seen cauliflower prepared. Whether cut into florets, cut into thick slices (like a cauliflower “steak,”), or even left whole, roasted seems like the easiest go-to when cooking with cauliflower.
Cauliflower Soup – When simmered and puréed, cauliflower can make a great base for a delicious soup that is also good for you!
Riced Cauliflower – You either roast or steam the cauliflower first, and then stick it in a food processor to get the right texture to use it as a tasty lower-calorie substitute for rice! It cooks up much faster than rice, and contains less calories, but still has a great texture!
As an added bonus, here’s a quick way to make a flavorful cauliflower side dish with your next meal:
Sweet & Spicy Cauliflower
- 4 cups cauliflower florets
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1-2 tablespoons sriracha
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat oven to 400º. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray, or line with parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine maple syrup, sriracha, olive oil,soy sauce, and pepper. Mix in the cauliflower until it is well coated.
- Pour the cauliflower onto the baking sheet and place in the oven. Be sure that the cauliflower is spread evenly and isn’t over-crowded. If they are too close together, the cauliflower will “steam” instead, and it won’t cook right. If your baking sheet is small, you may need to divide it between 2 baking sheets.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender.
- Remove from oven. Serve as a side dish to compliment, or over rice as a whole meal!