Thursday, July 26, 2012

Crazy 'Bout Cauliflower: The Options Are Endless!

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When I think of cauliflower, I think of vegetable platters. And when I think of vegetable platters, the word 'yuck' comes to mind. Not to be overly opinionated, but veggie platters are my LEAST favorite appetizer known to man. If you go to a friend's party bearing a veggie platter,  you might as well just come out and say "OK! OK! I didn't try at all! I picked this up from the grocery store on the way here! I am in no way creative, nor do I care".

Too harsh?!? You bring veggie platters to parties all the time? Then try to forgive me, but this is how I truly feel.

Cauliflower is so much more than a typical vegetable on a platter, and if you're not a fan of it in its raw form, you'll be happy to know that there is a whole world of options for cooking cauliflower. 

So let's explore the inner workings of cauliflower, shall we? Cauliflower is...
  • Your next best source for vitamin C after most citrus fruits. Vitamin C gives your immune system a boost and helps to fight cancer-causing free radicals.
  • Packed with vitamin K, a nutrient which regulates the body's anti-inflammatory response.
  • Rich in folate, which keep your heart healthy. Folate is also great for pregnant women, as it helps to prevent birth defects.
  • High in fiber to aid the digestion process.
  • Full of a compound called glucoraphanin which protects the stomach lining, keeping it from ulcers and cancer.
  • Considered a 'natural cancer fighter' because the phytochemicals in cauliflower help to block cancer growth, especially that of prostate, ovarian, breast, cervical and colon cancers.
  • Great for dieters because it is low in carbs and can be used as a substitute for everything from mashed potatoes to rice.

I'm a big fan of roasted cauliflower. It's extremely easy to throw together and it makes a great snack or side dish. Here's what you do...

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Pull the leaves off your head of cauliflower and chop off the stem.
Wash the head thoroughly.

Break or chop the head into small bite-size pieces. In a mixing bowl, drizzle the florets with olive oil to coat them lightly.

Place the florets on a large non-stick baking pan and make sure they are evenly spaced.

Finely chop 3 pieces of garlic and sprinkle over the florets on the pan.

Gather your army of spices! I usually use salt, pepper, garlic salt or powder, basil, oregano and red pepper flakes.

Sprinkle the florets with spice! In my opinion, more is better...but you can always add more after it cooks, if needed.
Cook for about 30 minutes, flipping halfway through (or until the florets are slightly browned and can be
stabbed through easily with a fork).

Plate those babies up and enjoy! 

Here are a few more recipes to tantalize your taste buds...

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  1. LOVE roasted cauliflower but never tried it with all the spices. I'll have to try it this weekend. Also, as a poor, tragic lactose-intolerent person, mashed cauliflower (with no milk or cream) was the first "non-dairy" alternative I ever tried substituting it for mash potatoes. SO GOOD! I recommend to anyone who doesn't have the power to digest lactose. You poor souls.

  2. My poor, poor lactose-intolerant friend. Maybe we should do a post on milk substitutes. You could lend the expert advice. :)

  3. so funny - i baked cauliflower last night!!! great minds think alike. so yummy - they taste like french fries. but not so healthy when i dipped them in siracha mayo :) xoxo

  4. Hey, at least you're dipping cauliflower in it, instead of fries! Cauliflower is my new guilty pleasure when I'm craving those carbs! My taste buds can't seem to tell the difference!