Healthy ingredients: Cruciferous cauliflower

Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable, or a 'brassica' like broccoli or cabbage. Those tiny white flower heads - they're known as curds! The mild flavour of cauliflower lends itself well to both hot and cold dishes, so it's pretty damn versatile - and it doesn't cost much either! That's not all though; cauliflower is loaded with vitamin C, vitamin K, folate and the B vitamins including vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and B9. It's also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and protein.

Packed with carotenoids and phytonutrients, antioxidants which can protect the body from free radical damage, cauliflower has been linked to the prevention of bladder, colon, breast, prostate and ovarian cancer. Eating cauliflower regularly could also decrease your risk of arthritis, diabetes and obesity thanks to its anti-inflammatory effect. High in fibre - one cup contains 3.35g of fibre - it promotes good digestive health and can help keep you regular!

In season

Although you can get cauliflower year-round, it's in season from December to mid-April. Look for pure white heads and crisp green leaves to ensure you're getting the freshest cauliflower possible. It needs to be stored in the fridge or somwhere cool and dark. To prepare cauliflower, cut off the leaves and cut individual florets from the stem, washing before use. It's usually better value for money to buy a whole cauliflower on your weekly shop and prepare it yourself, rather than buying it ready-prepared!

Recipe ideas

Cauliflower can be used in a wide range of recipes, from vegan delights and side dishes to being the star of the show! In case you're wondering what to do with a cauliflower you've bought, the Expertrain team are here to provide you with some inspiration!

Healthier Cauliflower Cheese

Let's start with the most traditional and popular cauliflower dish of them all - cauliflower cheese. This is real comfort food, but it you want to make it healthier, you can swap the whole milk for skimmed and the regular cheese for a low-fat variety - or use less of a stronger cheese. We love this recipe which adds ham for even more flavour and some cayenne, but you could leave out the spice if you like. Great as a side dish or a main meal!

Cauliflower 'Rice'

Create this amazing low-GI side dish as a great alternative to rice or cous cous - it takes just 10 minutes to make! All you need to do is pulse chopped cauliflower in a food processor until it forms small grains, then cook these and add some toasted cumin seeds. A delicious side dish to serve with fish, meat or a vegetarian main.

Cauliflower and Chickpea Pilaf

What do you get when you combine vitamin C rich cauliflower with protein-packed chickpeas, basmati rice, onions and curry paste? A pretty tasty pilaf that is delicious served as a main meal on its own. It also makes a great accompaniment to marinated chicken - choose a spicy, Indian-style marinade for the best results.

Cauliflower and Potato Curry

We love a great veggie curry, and as a tasty alternative to a takeaway, this is one of our favourites! We like to swap the regular potatoes for sweet potatoes to boost the goodness in the dish. With antioxidant tomatoes, spices and chillis, this packs a punch in the flavour as well as the health department!

General Tso's Cauliflower

All the MSG found in your average Chinese takeaway is bad news for your health! Luckily, you CAN have great Chinese food without the MSG, and with less fat and salt. This recipe is AMAZING - we love it! Crispy breaded cauliflower in a sweet, sticky soy, garlic and ginger sauce with spring onions has to be one of the best dishes we've tried. And it's healthy. What more do you need? Serve this up with some rice and steamed broccoli for a great, guilt-free Chinese food fix.

Image credit: Bakeaholic Mama

Cauliflower Dippers

Looking for a healthy snack or light lunch that can be whipped up in a matter of minutes? On busy days, these are fab - and they're good for you. With cauliflower, egg, onion, parsley and reduced-fat cheese (or use regular cheddar cheese, if you like) - these are particularly popular with kids and a great way to introduce them to healthy eating. They'll be eating more vegetables without even realising it!

Cauliflower Rolls

What's that, making bread from cauliflower? We wouldn't have believed it was possible either, but this recipe is to-die-for. Buying bread rolls or bagels on your weekly shop is convenient, but it means you have no control over the ingredients, so there are likely to be unwanted additives in there. Make your own, with cauliflower! You'll also need eggs, garlic powder, coconut flour and cornmeal as well as some almond flour. Topped with poppy and sesame seeds, we think these are amazing! Try toasting lightly and spreading with mashed avocado for a healthy start to the day or a delicious, nutritious lunch option!

Image credit: Lexi's Clean Kitchen

Add a cauliflower or two to your basket on your weekly shop - they're affordable, versatile and they taste amazing. Plus you can make your own bread rolls. 'Nuff said.

READ THIS NEXT: Healthy ingredients: Marvellous mushrooms

Author By Paula Beaton
Date On 17th Apr 2015 at 15:18

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