What’s Not to Like About Cauliflower?

By Dr. Leslie Vilensky

I know, not everyone’s a fan.  I, however, have always been quite fond of this beautiful and versatile vegetable.  Cauliflower is a member of the cruciferous family of vegetables, which includes broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, and bok choy.  Although not always held in such high esteem as its green “cousin” broccoli, like its cruciferous counterparts, cauliflower has a number of healthful benefits. 

1. Packed with Nutrition.  Cauliflower is rich in many nutrients including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other phytochemicals essential for optimal health. 

2. Cancer Prevention.  Cauliflower contains contain a compound called Indole-3-Carbinol which helps support healthy hormone metabolism, thus playing a positive role in preventing certain cancers like breast and other hormone dependent cancers.

3. Digestive Benefits. Cauliflower is high in both fiber and water, which helps to prevent constipation, maintain a healthy digestive tract and lower the risk of colon cancer.

4. Heart Health.  Cauliflower contains substances that support anti-inflammatory effects in the cardiovascular system, and, as a result may help prevent blood vessel damage that may lead to a stroke or heart attack. 

5. Anti-Inflammatory.  Cauliflower is a good source of Vitamin K, a hallmark nutrient in the regulation of inflammation in the body. 

6. Detoxification.  Cruciferous veggies help support detox pathways in your liver. 

Cauliflower has traditionally been enjoyed in a variety of ways – raw, gently steamed or simmered in a vast array of delicious sauces.  This yummy and healthful vegetable can even be prepared and baked as a delicious base for your favorite pizza toppings or mashed for a healthier version of mashed potatoes.  If you would like to try MY new favorite recipe keep reading!

 

Recipe for Cauliflower Rice

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1-2 tablespoons of healthy fat - organic, grass fed butter, olive oil, or coconut oil are my favorite choices
  • Optional:  salt and pepper to taste

Equipment:

  • Food processor with s-shaped blade (or box grater)
  • Knife
  • Cutting board
  • Large baking sheet with rim

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Remove greens and cut cauliflower into smaller chunks and pulse in your food processor until the size of small grains of rice (about 10-15 one second pulses.)

3. Transfer to a clean towel or paper towel and gently press to remove any excess moisture.  This will help prevent your “rice” from getting soggy. 

4. Place the cauliflower in a large bowl and toss with your choice of healthy fat - melted butter, olive oil or coconut oil.  Salt and pepper to taste. 

5. Spread evenly in a single layer on the baking sheet and roast until tender - about 25-30 minutes.

 

I have served this as a side dish with roasted chicken and a salad as well as with a plate full of delicious stir-fried veggies.  If you would prefer, you can forgo cooking the riced cauliflower and add it to a vegetable salad or use it as a substitute for grains in salads like Tabouli. 

I love this new way of eating cauliflower.  It has provided me with another delicious way to increase my intake of vegetables and I have found it to be an excellent option for me and for my patients who are working on limiting their grain intake. I may be a little late to jump on the “new and unique ways to enjoy cauliflower” train, but I tell you what, better late than never.  I am all in!   


Dr. Leslie Vilensky

Dr. Leslie Vilensky

Dr. Leslie Vilensky is a doctor of naturopathic medicine who has practiced naturopathic medicine for over a decade in Minnesota. She received her Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from Bastyr University (1998), a globally respected institution of natural health arts and sciences in Kenmore, Washington. 

She enjoys getting to know her patients in order to provide individualized, wellness-oriented healthcare. Dr. Vilensky helps people with Lyme and other chronic fatigue issues to get their energy back through natural means that counterbalance the often negative effects of more conventional approaches so that they are able to live their lives more fully, experiencing vibrant health. Other areas of expertise include gastrointestinal health issues like inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome; PMS and other menstrual irregularities; as well as adjunctive cancer support.