Tuesday, January 17, 2012

One of my favorite flowers- the Cauliflower!

Alright, so I know it is late in the season and local cauliflower is hard to come by, but for some reason I have been thinking a lot about cauliflower lately.  For one thing, how can something seemingly devoid of color be so good for you?  But, according to Self Magazine's NutritionData page, cauliflower is:
  'very low in Saturated Fat and Cholesterol. It is also a good source of protein, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Magnesium and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Folate, Pantothenic Acid, Potassium and Manganese'.  
Protein? Hello there!

Also, you know how Tim Vidra is always trying to get us to eat the leaves of the vegetables we love?  Well, you can, and should eat cauliflower leaves too.  I taught a class of culinary students from the Chesterfield Tech center at the garden this season, and one of our projects was harvesting cauliflower.  They were amazed by the giant leaves, and took some back to school to see if they could make something good from them.  I heard later that they sauteed them with garlic, pine nuts and raisins, and that they also made pesto out of them!  Sounds crazy, but the teacher said it was really great.  The greens look like collards, so just fix 'em up like you would other greens.

Another interesting thing about cauliflower is that exposure to the sun turns the inner part purple!  Many farmers tie the leaves above the florets to shield them and prevent this from happening.  I got a glimpse of the purple color in the Community Kitchen Garden this season.   It is really kind of beautiful!

The cauliflower on the top had been covered and the one on the bottom had not.  See the purple showing through?
And then there is the question of how to cook your cauliflower florets. Last night, I got a voicemail message from my brother Alex who lives in Austin.  He had just harvested the cauliflower from his garden, and he said, "I didn't know what to do with it, so I roasted it!"  That sounds like a plan to me.  In fact, every time I encounter a vegetable for the first time, I roast it!  Always sweet, always flavorful, all veggies taste fantastic after roasting.  Here is a tutorial on roasting all kinds- from broccoli to squash to cauliflower.  Enjoy!


  1. I've been craving it lately - cauliflower gratin specifically, but my New Year's diet might demand a simple roasted cauliflower instead!

  2. Roasting it with a bit of olive oil, some sea salt, fresh-ground pepper and a smidgeon of freshly grated Parmesan is delicious.

  3. One of my favorite veggies ever since my mom made me sit at the kitchen table for a couple of hours because she refused to let me leave the table until I tried three bites. I finally relented and its been a favorite ever since then. I have cooked it in a Vegetable curry and veggie breyani with cabbage, carrots and other veggies; as well as lightly steaming and then sauteing it with garlic, red pepper flakes, onion and adding scrambled eggs to it. Its amazing for breakfast :). A family favorite is to cook it with some onion, turmeric, sweet curry powder and peas - Ushan

  4. I have recently cut out grains from my diet, and I use cauliflower to make "rice" - grating it first and then steaming. But I agree, one can never go wrong with roasting. :)

  5. I love the 'Rice' idea... having just had dinner with two diabetics in the family. One of my favorites.... cauliflower with chesnuts, thyme, cream, and Gruyere cheese. But roasted is so perfect. Thanks for all the great nutritional info... you never know when looking at a completely colorless food.

  6. cauliflower is good to health and its very very tasty too. The rice idea is superb...we over here boiled cauliflower for few minutes, later dry it and fried it with a one teaspoon of oil. You get a very tasty flavor of it. Eating with tomato sauce is awesome