As part of Nutrition to Fit’s Frugal Food Favorites series, each week we highlight a favorite affordable food and all of its nutritional benefits, in addition to ways and recipes to include it in your life. This week is all about cauliflower!
Recently it seems like cauliflower has been getting a lot of love as a superfood. And rightly so! It has a bunch of health benefits, and is a very versatile veggie. The great thing about this surge in popularity for cauliflower is that it's a relatively frugal food! I just purchased a head of cauliflower for $1.99. You can also find frozen cauliflower florets to reap equal benefits there, too. Let's check out why we want to be including cauliflower in our diets.
Reduced Risk of Certain Cancers
Cauliflower contains antioxidants that combat cell damage inflicted by free radicals by reducing their oxidative stress (1). There's a compound specifically found in cruciferous vegetables (indole-3-carbinol), that has actually been shown to reduce the risk of certain cancers, like breast and reproductive cancers in both men and women. Additionally, you know those same sulfur-containing potentially anti-cancer properties we talked about when discussing the health benefits of cabbage? Well, cauliflower is in the same cruciferous vegetable family as cabbage and has some of the same sulfur-containing properties and health benefits. For the past thirty years, eating a high amount of cauliflower is has been associated with a lower risk of lung and colon cancers (1).
As cauliflower is high in both fiber and water content, it naturally aids digestion. It helps prevent constipation, helps maintain a healthy digestive tract, and can lead to a decreased risk of colon cancer (1). Recent research shows that fiber also may aid with regulating the immune system and decreasing inflammation. This decreased inflammation can also lead to decreased risk of inflammatory conditions like cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, and cancer.
Selection & Storage
Select cauliflower heads that are firm, a creamy white, and with buds tight together. If the cauliflower is spotted or dull, or if small flowers have appeared, that cauliflower may not be the freshest and shouldn't come home with you. Heads that are surrounded by many fresh, green leaves are fresher and better protected from the leaves. The size of the cauliflower has no impact on the quality of the cauliflower. Store cauliflower stem-side down in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to a week. Cauliflower can also be frozen, and one study suggested that frozen cauliflower retained nutritional benefits after one year of freezing (2).
Usage & Recipes
Cauliflower is very versatile. It can be steamed, roasted, grilled, broiled, sauteed or fried. You can grate (or rice) the cauliflower to make a "cauliflower rice" or use in a "pizza crust". Many love pureeing cauliflower as a lighter mashed potato substitute. You can also mash potatoes together with pureed cauliflower to sneak a little extra veggie variety in. One of my favorite ways of using cauliflower lately is in smoothies! It sounds crazy, but it's super delicious, you can't taste it, and unlike veggies like spinach or carrots, it doesn't impact the color of the smoothie, making it a safe bet for suspicious kiddos.
With cauliflower being such a popular, frugal veggie, many dietitians have created recipes utilizing it! Check out some of these contributions from dietitians around the web:
Black Forest Grass-Fed Whey Protein Smoothie by Lindsey Janeiro, RDN, LDN, CLC of Nutrition to Fit
Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce by Lindsey Janeiro, RDN, LDN, CLC of Nutrition to Fit
Hearty Winter White Bean Chili by Katie Pfeffer-Scanlan, RDN of One Hungry Bunny
Crispy Baked Cauliflower Bites by Cara Harbstreet, RDN of Street Smart Nutrition
Harissa Roasted Cauliflower Bites by Katie Pfeffer-Scanlan, RDN of One Hungry Bunny
Lemon Asparagus Cauliflower "Rice" by Dixya Bhattarai, RDN of Food, Pleasure, & Health
Cauliflower Latkes by Lauren Pincus-Harris of Nutrition Starring YOU
Cauliflower Rice Pilaf with Chickpeas by Dixya Bhattarai, RDN of Food, Pleasure, & Health
Nepali Style Cauli Aloo by Dixya Bhattarai, RDN of Food, Pleasure, & Health
Panko Crusted Cauliflower Bites by Kristy Hegner, RDN of Chocolate Slopes
Cheesy Vegan Cauliflower Mash Bowls by Lindsay Livingston, RDN of The Lean Green Bean
Tandoori Roasted Cashew Gobi (Cauliflower) by Shahzadi Devje, RDN of Desilicious, RD
Creamy Carrot Cauliflower Soup by Amy Gorin, RDN of Amy Gorin Nutrition
Buffalo Chicken Noodle Bowl by Jessica Penner, RD of Smart Nutrition
Healthy Turkey Meatloaf Muffins by Chelsey Amer, RDN of C it Nutritionally
Easy Cauliflower Pizza by Erin Palinski Wade, RDN of Mommyhood Bytes
Roasted Cauliflower Fettuccine by Judy Barbe, RDN of Live Best
Everything Bagel Cauliflower by Holley Grainger, MS, RD of HolleyGrainger.com
Smoked Paprika Cauliflower by Lucia Weiler, RD of Weiler Nutrition Communications
Healthy Buffalo Cauliflower with Ranch Dip (Vegan, Gluten Free) by Sharon Palmer, RD of Sharon Palmer, The Plant-Powered Dietitian
Veggie Cauliflower Fried Rice with Crispy Tofu by Jessica Fishman-Levinson, RD of Nutriticioulicious
Broccoli Bacon Mac and Cheese by Amanda Hernandez, RDN of The Nutritionist Reviews
Broccoli & Cauliflower Rice Quiche by Kelli Shallal, RDN of Hungry Hobby
Turmeric Cauliflower Rice by Kelli Shallal, RDN of Hungry Hobby
Paleo Cauliflower Rice Frittata by Kelli Shallal, RDN of Hungry Hobby
Five Ingredient Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken Bowls by Kelli Shallal, RDN of Hungry Hobby
Spanish-Style Cauliflower Rice by Julie Harrington, RDN of RDelicious Kitchen
Cheesy Mashed Cauliflower Roasted Leek Pizza by Kara Lydon, RDN of The Foodie Dietitian
Spicy Cauliflower Cilantro Salad by Sharon Palmer, RDN of Sharon Palmer, The Plant-Powered Dietitian
Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Pistachio Harissa Pesto by EA Stewart, RDN of Spicy RD Nutrition
"Creamy" Cauliflower Soup with Za'atar by Katie Cavuto, RD of KatieCavuto.com
Lemon Za'atar Roasted Chicken with Cauliflower by Katie Cavuto, RD of katiecavuto.com
Thyme-Roasted Cauliflower with Horseradish Sauce by Danielle Cushing, RD of The Every Kitchen
Savory Spinach Cauliflower Oatmeal by Danielle Cushing, RD of The Every Kitchen
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