Cauliflower is not new on the produce scene, yet it still has not made the top of the list for favorite vegetables. This is a shame considering it is an excellent source of vitamin C and potassium and a good source of folate. Like other cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and kale, cauliflower is rich in phytochemicals such as isothiocyanates and indoles. These phytochemicals help protect against certain diseases when consumed as part of a healthy diet.
In the early growing period cauliflower looks similar to broccoli, its closest relative. Changes occur as they grow. Broccoli opens outward developing bunches of green florets whereas cauliflower forms a compact head of immature white flower buds called curds. The white head develops a border of thick ribbed green leaves that protects it from the sun so the buds don’t develop chlorophyll. Sunlight can discolor the florets and cause them to have an unpleasant flavor.
The characteristic white color is an easy way to spot it from other vegetables. However, there are varieties of colorful cauliflower including orange, green and purple.
Steaming is the best method to cook cauliflower. Use as little water as possible to preserve the water-soluble vitamins that can seep into the water. If you do cook it in water make sure not to overcook it and use the cooking water in other foods such as mashed potatoes, soups or stews.
Ready to try a super easy recipe with cauliflower? This Garden Waldorf Salad from USDA What’s Cooking Mixing Bowl blends sweet and savory flavors with just the right amount of crunch and dressing.
Garden Waldorf Salad
3 cups broccoli florets
1 cup carrot (grated)
1½ cups cauliflower (sliced)
1 cup apple (chopped)
½ cup green onion (chopped)
1 cup yogurt, non-fat vanilla
¼ cup peanuts
1. Toss all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.
2. Refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 6 hours.
3. Serve chilled
Makes four 1½ cup servings
Nutritional value for each serving: 160 calories, 8 g protein, 24 g carbohydrates, 5 g fat, 5 g fiber, 95 mg sodium, 20% calcium, 130% vitamin A, 130% vitamin C.
Click here to visit the United States Department of Agriculture’s website for more information on how to select, store and prepare cauliflower.