Cauliflower: Food Trend of the Year

By Bill Turner

And the winner is: Cauliflower!

When I read about cauliflower being the food trend of the year, I thought I was watching the Oscars. There’s been a mistake — we’ve got the wrong envelope.

But, alas, there is no mistake — it is cauliflower. Last year it was avocado, but that is already passé.

So, now you know, but let’s pretend that you did not look at the title of this article and that you have 1,000 guesses about the topic. I’m not sure any of you would have come up with cauliflower. This is one of those foods that I seldom if ever ate as a child. I’m sure my brother and I tossed it behind the radiator when mom was not looking.

Once again, everything in today’s world seems to be moving very fast and we had better catch up. Going online to investigate, I found plenty of information about cauliflower. It is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family, like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale and, of course, the rutabaga. It turns out that it is an extremely high nutrient food. It has large quantities of minerals, vitamins and those things that we are not quite sure about, phytonutrients. Cauliflower is a little confusing to me since I thought all the good things had to be dark green or colorful, and it’s white!

The second reason cauliflower is becoming the food trend of the year is because it is gluten-free, and you can substitute it for many flour-based recipes. We won’t go into the whole question of gluten-free and exactly what all that means. Let’s just remember that it’s important for a lot of people, so we’ll go with the flow.

So, maybe we have reason enough to take a hard look at cauliflower and some of the recipe options.

CAULIFLOWER 101:

There are basically three ways to prepare cauliflower. You can:

  • Oven roast an entire head of cauliflower or the florets, adding spices and toppings as you please.
  • Steam the florets and serve with butter, olive oil, or spices. You can also use steamed florets in casserole dishes or to make faux mashed potatoes.
  • Grate into a rice-like consistency and bake pizza or flatbread crusts, tacos shell or wraps and even cauliflower bread.

Below, we will give you three easy recipes to try the different techniques. When I say easy, I mean easy — even my buddy Bob could do these.

OVEN ROASTED PARMESAN FLORETS

Ingredients:
  • Whole head of cauliflower
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¼ tsp. salt and pepper
Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Cut the cauliflower head in half and cut off the florets. Discard the stalk.

Put the florets in a plastic zip-lock bag and add the olive oil, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Close and mix thoroughly.

Spread a little extra olive oil on a baking sheet and add the florets.

Bake for 35 minutes until golden brown.

CURRIED STEAMED CAULIFLOWER

Ingredients:
  • Whole head of cauliflower
  • 2 Tbsp. curry powder
  • 4 Tbsp. butter
  • ¼ tsp. salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley or cilantro
Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Cut the cauliflower head in half and cut off the florets. Discard the stalk.

Put the florets in a pot with one cup of water, cover and steam for 3 minutes. (A steamer platform is very useful.)

Drain florets and put into a mixing bowl.

Melt butter in a saucepan and add the curry powder. Cook over medium heat for 1-2 minutes.

Pour the butter over the florets and mix well. Put the prepared florets into a baking dish and bake for 10 minutes.

Sprinkle with chopped parsley or cilantro.

CAULIFLOWER PIZZA OR FLATBREAD CRUST

Ingredients:
  • Whole head of cauliflower
  • 2 cups grated Mozzarella cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. salt and pepper
Directions:

Cut the cauliflower in half, cut off the florets and throw into a food processor; pulse until you have a rice-like consistency. If you don’t have a food processor, use a grater.

Mix the cauliflower with the eggs, Mozzarella cheese, salt and pepper.

You will have enough to make two 14″ pizza crusts, so spread mixture on two pieces of parchment paper. Using your hands, form the crust about ¼” thick. Make sure the edges are nice and thick. This will make it easier to prepare the pizza and reduce burning on the edges.

Bake on the parchment paper on an open rack in the oven at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. If you have a pizza peel, it makes it much easier to handle the dough. If not, a large spatula will work. Slide a spatula under the crust and remove from the parchment paper.

Add your favorite pizza sauce and ingredients and return to an open rack in the oven at the same temperature for another 10 minutes.

This is a great opportunity to go crazy. You can start with a red pizza sauce base and make a standard cheese and sausage pizza, or you can add mushrooms, black olives, spinach and top with mozzarella cheese.

If you want to make flatbreads, simply divide the dough into four equal parts and make 7″ crusts. You can also use this same recipe to make six slices of cauliflower bread. Mix the dough and place six equal portions on a piece of parchment paper. Shape the dough into the size of slices of bread with thick edges, and put into the oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

You can use these cauliflower bread slices as a substitute for any type of bread. It’s especially good for toasted cheese sandwiches. If you want to become a little more daring, warm one of the bread slices in a frying pan and top with a fried egg and hollandaise sauce. Now you have Cauliflower Eggs Benedict. Keep the extra slices in the refrigerator in a plastic bag and pop one in the toaster whenever you want.

You can also adjust the ingredients a little and make cauliflower taco shells or wraps for fajitas. You need to change the recipe a little bit by eliminating the cheese and adding a total of four eggs and four egg whites. The only new trick in making taco shells or tortilla wraps is to put another piece of parchment paper on top of each dollop of cauliflower and press it down with a rolling pin until you get the desired thickness and size.

If you need some additional thoughts, search online for “best cauliflower recipes” and you will have loads of new ideas, most of which will use one of the techniques discussed above — roast, steam or bake. Have fun with the superfood!


What’s to lose? Why not give it a try!

Cauliflower has amazing benefits, according to Dr. Joseph Mercola, author of a leading natural health website. In an article entitled, “Top 8 Health Benefits of Cauliflower,” Mercola says the following:

“Eating cauliflower is like winning the antioxidant and phytonutrient lottery. It’s packed with vitamin C, beta-carotene, kaempferol, quercetin, rutin, cinnamic acid, and much more. Antioxidants are nature’s way of providing your cells with adequate defense against attack by reactive oxygen species (ROS).”

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