Caul Me Maybe

As a child, I remember being told to stay away from white food—white bread, white sugar, white flour, white potatoes. If they were white, then they were most likely stripped of all nutrition and goodness; refined, processed, starchy and void of nutrition. Instead, I was supposed to “eat the rainbow” making sure I consumed as many colorful foods as possible, which I was not very good at in my youth. Well, this white food, my friends, deserves a spot on your plate. Cauliflower is a cruciferous powerhouse vegetable known for its impressive cancer-fighting benefits. Did I have you at cancer-fighting? Well, cauliflower boasts some serious antioxidants, heart-protecting properties, fiber, and anti-inflammatory benefits as well. If there were an academy award for “most nutritious vegetable” cauliflower would surely be one of the nominees. 

Your body has a pretty elaborate detoxification system, which is essential for cancer prevention, but it won’t work properly and efficiently if it’s not given adequate nutritional support. Our good friend, cauly, has a LONG list of powerful phytonutrients and antioxidants, which includes vitamin C and manganese, as well as many that I can barely pronounce. All of these help to reduce oxidative stress on our cells. Cauliflower is an excellent source of vitamin K, which is in important anti-inflammatory nutrient. One of cauliflowers phytonutrients can be converted into a molecule called indole-3-carbinol which can actually prevent the initiation of the inflammatory response early in the process! Another anti-inflammatory compound in cauliflower and its cruciferous cousins is sulforaphane, which can help prevent inflammation in your cardiovascular system, may reverse blood vessel damage, and helps to protect the lining of your stomach. PASS THE CAULIFLOWER, PLEASE! 

Heather McDonough
"Delish Girl", a guest blogger and fan of all things nutrition.
Cauliflower Popcorn

Ok, so it’s really good for you, but beyond that, it tastes great. Roasting it in the oven brings out its nutty sweetness. Simply break into florets, rinse and pat dry, toss with a bit of oil, sprinkle with salt and paprika, and roast on a parchment covered baking sheet at 425 degrees for about 20-25 minutes, tossing once halfway through. If a sprinkle of parmesan makes it more palatable to the children in your house, shake it on, my friends. Not a dairy person? Sprinkle on a little black pepper and nutritional yeast—it will give you a dose of B12 AND a cheesy flavor. Here’s an idea…break it into “popcorn-sized” florets before roasting, follow the protocol above and take THAT to the couch on movie night—delicious, nutritious and low-carb!

mashed-cauliflowerCauliflower “mashed potatoes”

  • 1 large head cauliflower, washed and chopped
  • milk of your choice (plant-based milks such as almond, rice, coconut, etc. work well)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • chopped chives (optional)

Steam cauliflower until tender. Place into blender or food processor along with remaining ingredients and blend/process until smooth, adding only enough milk to produce desired consistency. Sprinkle with chives.

Dairy-free, Grain-free, Vegan Cauliflower Pizza Crust

  • 2 cups almond flour or other nut flour of your choice
  • 1 cup cooked cauliflower “rice”
  • 6 and ½ T. tapioca starch
  • 3 T. flax meal
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1 t. garlic powder
  • 2 t. dried basil
  • 1 and ½ T. oil of your choice
  • ¾ t. salt

Make your cauliflower rice by using about ½ of a small head of cauliflower. Break into pieces and put them in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the “S” blade. Pulse until it resembles rice or cous cous. Place cauliflower in a skillet with a t. of oil and sauté for 6 minutes or so to soften. Preheat oven to 375 degrees while cauly is cooking. Pour the cauly rice into a bowl with all the other ingredients and stir. Knead well with your hands to form a cohesive dough, and spread into whatever shape—round, square, rectangle—making sure to keep the dough about ¼ to ½ inch thick. Your hands will be sticky, so wet them or oil them if it becomes a problem. Place crust in the oven for 22 minutes or until the edges become slightly golden. Place desired toppings on crust and return to oven for another 15 minutes.

Cauliflower "rice" in food processor

Cooking the cauliflower "rice"

Cooked crust before toppings (I used pecan flour which made it darker in color before baking).

I topped mine with pesto, julienned zucchini, peppers and carrots, arugula and cashew cheese