Jessica and I continually talk about filling your plate with a rainbow of colors, and staying away from the – mostly- processed foods in shades of white. There are, however, a few foods whose white hue is welcomed, and at the top of this list is cauliflower. Along with the entire family of brassica vegetables, cauliflower contains compounds that give it its rightly deserved reputation a potent cancer fighter. And cauliflower is versatile, accessible, and very easy to prepare, so if you have a hankering for some white on your plate, give it a try and come and cook with us!
From a nutritional perspective, cauliflower contains many glucosinolates, which trigger the body’s own antioxidant systems, and which Italian researchers have found suppress breast-cancer cell growth. Cauliflower is packed with vitamin C, vitamin B6 and B5, folate, and fiber. And if that is not enough, consider that cauliflower, along with its cousin broccoli, are low in carbohydrates, if that is something that you’re watching.
There are many easy ways to prepare cauliflower:
– a delicious salad: steam the entire head – cut-side down – let it cool, then dress it with lemon juice, olive oil and a little salt and pepper.
– a delicious mash: reminiscent of potatoes, and simple to prepare. Steam the cauliflower until it is tender enough to be mashed, add some olive oil, lemon and salt… delicious.
– roasted: clean and cut a head of cauliflower into eighths, roughly 1/2-inch-thick wide.
Layer on a baking pan, drizzle with a little olive oil and roast, covered, in the oven at 475 F for about 30 minutes, uncovering and turning them at 10 minutes, turning again at 20 minutes, and removing them from the oven once they begin to caramelize.
– or, simply roast them at 450F, turning once and serve with:
* paprika, chopped parsley leaves and sherry vinegar for a sharp and savory taste,
* curry powder, fresh lemon juice and cilantro leaves for an Indian-inspired dish,
* cayenne pepper, toasted pine nuts and fresh lime juice for those who like it hot and sweet.
The variations are practically unlimited!
One word of caution, however, for those of us sensitive to gout. Along with all the good stuff it contains, cauliflower also contains purines which most of us break down into uric acid and pass through our bodies. In some people the removal mechanism doesn’t work exactly right and uric acid builds up, causing painful episodes of gout.
If you aren’t suffering from gout, and if you’re looking to add some white to your beautiful rainbow next time you’re at the market, don’t feel bad about it.
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