Cauliflower: Nutrition, Benefits And Recipes

Learn how to cook cauliflower with recipes like cauliflower pizza crust and rice made from this veggie.

Cauliflower is a vegetable used in a wide variety of recipes since, beyond its delicious flavor, it's also highly nutritious and has many health benefits. This veggie is usually white although you can also find green and purple cauliflower.

In the following article, we explain everything you need to know about the benefits of cauliflower and its nutrition. Plus, we teach you 11 simple and delicious cauliflower recipes that will show you how to prepare this cruciferous veggie.


Cauliflower: nutrition and benefits

Cauliflower is a plant that belongs to the Brassic oleracea species and the Brassicaceae or Cruciferous family. The white head that comes out of this plant is edible, and this is the part that we call cauliflower. This is a vegetable with incredible nutritional value, which is why it has so many health benefits. Here are a few of these:


  • High water content (its principal component)

  • Carbohydrate and protein content, in small quantities

  • It's practically fat-free

  • Low calorie

  • Vitamin A (beta carotene), vitamin B, C, and E

  • Minerals and trace elements, like potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, and small amounts of sodium

  • High fiber content


Cauliflower's digestive action is its main benefit. In fact, it's considered the most digestive vegetable in the entire cabbage family by many. This is a veggie recommended for those looking to get rid of stomachaches since it acts as a gastrointestinal normalizer.


On the other hand, due to its low calorie and fat content, cauliflower is one of the most consumed vegetables by those following weight-loss plans or diets to control obesity and diabetes. Also since it is low sodium, this cruciferous veggie is recommended for those with heart disease.


Related: Vegetables: Benefits, Types And Veggie Recipes


Types: Green and purple cauliflower

So, are there different types of cauliflower? Really, this vegetable is white since, during its harvest, green leaves cover it, which keeps the sun from touching the edible part of the plant, stopping chemical reactions with the sun from occurring which give plants their color. However, you can do something to change this. If the sun's rays hit the cauliflower head, different colors can appear: green cauliflower, also known as "romanesco," is a variety of this vegetable whose main characteristic is the presence of chlorophyll.


You can also see purple cauliflower, which appears when this vegetable contains anthocyanins (water soluble pigments found in some plant cells). That said, you might be wondering how to cook cauliflower. Below, we tell you exactly how to do this.


How to make cauliflower: 11 recipes

One of the advantages of this cruciferous vegetable is that you can eat it either raw or cooked. It is good raw in salads as long as you choose a tender head of cauliflower at the store. Besides, you can boil, fry, roast, or steam it, and even prepare cauliflower au gratin, and of course, there are many other ways to make it besides these.


To prepare your cauliflower, it's best to start by cutting the base of this veggie with a large knife. After, remove its leaves (although they're also edible) and cut off any small stems at the bottom. After washing the florets in water, you can either boil it or eat it raw in salads.


Disinfecting this vegetable before eating it isn't a bad idea either. To do this, you need to rinse it and leave it to sit in a liter of water with ½ teaspoon of baking soda and Microdacyn for 10 minutes. Now that you know how to make cauliflower, we'll show you 11 cauliflower recipes that are quick and easy to prepare at home.


1. Cauliflower rice

To prepare two servings of cauliflower rice, you'll need the following ingredients: 200 grams of cauliflower (washed and prepared as we explained before), 1 clove of diced garlic, 2 tablespoons of diced green onion, 2 small tablespoons of olive oil, and salt to taste.

The first step is to blend the cauliflower at low speed until the florets reach a texture and size similar to rice.  After, place the lightly blended cauliflower in a preheated saucepan on medium heat with the olive oil and chopped garlic.

Mix the cauliflower and add salt. After, cover the saucepan and wait from 5 to 7 minutes. During this process check to see how it's cooking and add two tablespoons of water, or more if need be. After this is done, and once you've checked that the mix is well cooked, add the green onion and serve. You can also add the condiments that you like to taste.


2. Cauliflower au gratin

To make this oven baked cauliflower au gratin recipe for 4 people you'll need the following ingredients: 1 medium sized head of cauliflower (approx. 800 grams), grated Emmental cheese (approx. 200 grams), butter (1 tablespoon), bechamel sauce (500 ml.), and salt to taste.


Besides,  you can add bacon or ham if you like. Once you have all of the ingredients, and you've prepared this vegetable as previously mentioned, place the florets in water and salt and cook them for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200º and then, first put the butter and then the cauliflower (strained) on a baking sheet. After, pour the bechamel over the cauliflower and then sprinkle the grated cheese on top.


Put the baking sheet in the oven and heat it for 5 minutes or until the bechamel takes on a golden hue. You can buy the bechamel premade at any supermarket, or if you prefer, you can make it with a liter of semi-skimmed milk, 60 grams of butter, 60 grams of flour, nutmeg, and salt to taste.


Put the butter in a large pot on low heat and when its melted add the flour (using a sifter). Mix it until it reaches a creamy consistency and then slowly add the semi-skimmed milk (pre-heated). Continue mixing and once you've added all of the ingredients remove the saucepan from the heat and add the salt and nutmeg.


Cauliflower au gratin
Cauliflower au gratin is one of the most delicious cauliflower recipes that you won't want to miss.

3. Cauliflower soup

In this cream of cauliflower soup recipe, you'll need the following ingredients: 1 ½ tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, ¼ cup of chopped onion, 2 cloves of diced garlic, 1 ½ cups of chicken broth, 1 head of cauliflower cut into small pieces, ½ cup of almond milk, ⅓ cup of cheddar cheese and, if you choose, 3 strips of turkey bacon.

To prepare the cauliflower soup, you'll need to heat a pot  or saucepan. Sautée the onions for about 5 to 8 minutes, until it takes on a soft consistency and its color is slightly golden. Then add the garlic and leave this mixture on the stove top for about 2 more minutes.

Then add the chicken broth and when it boils add the cauliflower while lowering the temperature and leaving this on low heat for 30 minutes. When the veggie becomes tender, you can take it off the heat and let it cool for 20 minutes. Finally, blend this all in a food processor slowly adding milk and salt, until it reaches your preferred texture. Serve and put grated cheese and bacon on top if you like.


4. Cauliflower ceviche

To prepare cauliflower ceviche for 4 people, you'll need these ingredients: 1 medium head of cauliflower,  ½ onion, 8 lemons, 1 bunch of cilantro, 4 diced tomatoes, 2 sliced serrano peppers, 1 diced avocado, sea salt (to taste), and a pack of tortillas to go with it. 

Once washed and drained, this cauliflower recipe is easy to make. All you have to do is  chop the vegetable into tiny florets and put them in a bowl with the lemon juice. Let this sit for 2 or 3 hours and then add the onion, tomato, pepper, and avocado. Mix this all together and add salt and finally the cilantro. Serve it and eat it with tortillas (either fried, baked, or dried). 


5. Cauliflower pizza crust

Cauliflower pizza crust is one of the most delicious and healthy substitutes for the traditional kind. Also, this is an excellent option for people with gluten allergies who love pizza.


To make this you need: 1 large head of cauliflower, 1 egg, grated cheese (this could be plant-based, like cashew cheese for example), sea salt, black pepper to taste, spices (oregano, thyme, rosemary), 1 cup of tomato sauce (you can use traditional tomato sauce), ½ cup of cherry tomatoes sliced in two, ¼ cup of green peppers cut into strips, 1 cup of mushrooms, cleaned and sliced, a cup of arugula, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil.


Once you've rinsed this veggie, put it in a food processor  and blend it on high so that it is as smooth as possible. Put it in a bowl and cover it with a plate. Then, put it in the microwave for 5 to 8 minutes.


After, add the egg and half of the grated cheese, a little bit of salt, the spices and other condiments. Then, place parchment or wax paper on a circular baking sheet and pour the mix you prepared before on it.Spread it out with a spatula into an even circle, just like a regular pizza crust. Bake at 160º C for about 10 to 15 minutes approximately.


When it's ready, take the crust out of the oven and add the other ingredients: the tomato sauce, grated cheese, tomatoes, peppers, and mushrooms (without covering the crust). Then, put it back in the oven until the cheese melts  and the crust is golden brown. When you serve it, you can add a little bit of olive oil or other condiments of your choice.


Related: Gluten: What It Is And A Gluten-Free Food List

Cauliflower pizza crust
Cauliflower pizza crust is the perfect recipe for people with gluten allergies that want to eat this Italian favorite.

6. Cauliflower mash

Cauliflower mash is a super easy recipe you can make with this cruciferous veggie, and it's a great side dish. To make this mash for 4 people you just need a medium or large cauliflower, 1 tablespoon of butter, 3 cloves of chopped garlic, black pepper, and salt to taste. You can also add plain yogurt or sour cream, grated cheese, or spices of your choosing. Once you've washed the main ingredient, boil it in a large pot with salt for 5 to 7 minutes.


Once the cauliflower is tender you can take it out and strain it. After, in a pot on medium heat, add the butter and when it melts, throw in the garlic. Sautée all of this for 2 minutes and then put the cauliflower back in the pot. Stir this mix for a few minutes until you achieve the right texture.


After, turn off the heat and let it cool off for 5 minutes. Using a masher (like you use to mash potatoes manually), mash the cauliflower. Finally,  add salt, spices, and sour cream or yogurt, if you so choose. You can experiment and taste this mix until it has the right flavor, and then serve it.


7. Cauliflower Patties

Cauliflower patties or in Spanish "coliflor capeada" has become a traditional Mexican recipe. To make enough of these patties for 4 people, you'll need a medium or large head of cauliflower, 250 grams of fresh cheese, 3 eggs, 1 cup of flour, salt to taste, and 1 clove of garlic. After you've washed and chopped this white vegetable, put it to boil in a large pot for 5 to 8 minutes. Meanwhile, beat the egg whites until you achieve a spongy consistency. Add the yolks and keep whisking.


Once the cauliflower is ready, let it cool off for a few minutes and then cut the florets in half. After, place a piece of cheese between the two halves of these little trees, making a sandwich. To keep them from separating close these mini sandwiches using a toothpick.


Now you'll cover each patty in flour, shake it off a little and then cover it with the egg mixture. Once you've done this, put each cauliflower patty in a preheated frying pan on medium heat. Flip every patty until both sides are golden-brown. If you want you can eat the 'coliflor capeada' alone or with white rice, or even a broth or tomato sauce.


8. Breaded cauliflower

To make breaded cauliflower, you'll need: 1 medium or large head of cauliflower, 1 or 2 eggs, salt to taste, and breadcrumbs. This recipe is similar to the previous one, only in this case, you don't need to put cheese in the middle, so you won't have to cut the florets. To prepare it, you need to dunk every floret in your egg mixture, and then cover it with breadcrumbs and a little bit of salt.


Once covered in breadcrumbs, place each floret in a preheated pan on medium heat with olive oil for frying. Then it's ready to serve once the cauliflower has the right texture and golden-brown color. With both this recipe and the prior, you can either cut the cauliflower into mini florets or instead, cut the whole head of this veggie into filets.  Some people call this "cauliflower steak," which is a vegetarian meat substitute.


Related:  Vegetarian Recipes: 12 Tasty And Easy Meatless Meals


9. Spanish omelet with cauliflower

Spanish omelet is a traditional Mediterranean egg dish, usually made with egg and potato. To make this typical recipe with cauliflower you just need 4 or 5 eggs,  ½ a medium head of cauliflower, two teaspoons of lemon juice, salt to taste, parsley, 2 cloves of garlic, water, and tomato sauce. Once you've prepared your cauliflower, leave it to soak in lemon juice for about a half an hour.


After, boil it in a pot of water for about 5 minutes. It should be tender, but not excessively. Then sautée the garlic in a preheated pan on medium heat with a bit of olive oil. Once you've done this, put in the cauliflower and cook it for a few minutes until it's golden-brown. Meanwhile, beat your eggs with salt and chopped parsley, and then pour this in the pan. When you do this, make sure it sits in the pan evenly.


Wait until it is cooked on the bottom and the middle part, and then  flip it using a flat plate that covers the entire pan: place the plate over the pan and then turn it quickly, putting the tortilla back in the pan, so that the side that's still uncooked is on the bottom. Wait until the other half of the Spanish omelet is cooked and serve. You can serve it with tomato sauce if you like.


Sautéed cauliflower
Sautéed cauliflower is a delicious and simple way to prepare this white vegetable.

10. Cauliflower salad

Cauliflower salad is another simple recipe that you can make with this white cruciferous vegetable. To prepare it the Meditteranean way you need: 1 medium or half of a large head of cauliflower, 150 grams of Spanish ham or prosciutto, 12 walnuts, 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons of sherry vinegar, 2 shallots, curry, and salt and pepper to taste.


After preparing the cauliflower as we explained in the beginning, cook it in a pot of boiling water for 5 to 8 minutes. Meanwhile, you can make the dressing. You just need to mix the oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and the curry, and add the previously chopped shallots. Then, cut the walnuts in half and the ham into small pieces. After, boil the eggs for 10 or 12 minutes. When the cauliflower is ready, strain it and let it cool off.


Now put the cauliflower, and then the walnuts and ham in a salad bowl. Mix this all together and then add the dressing. You can serve it right away, or instead, chill it in the refrigerator  for an hour. When you serve it, put pieces of the shredded hard boiled egg on top.


11. Sautéed cauliflower

You can sautée all kinds of foods. This term essentially means mixing different ingredients in a pan with oil and condiments. To make sautéed cauliflower for four people, you need 1 large cauliflower, that you can cut into somewhat thick slices; 2 tablespoons of olive oil for frying, onion, 2 chopped cloves of garlic, and 1 tablespoon of parsley.


Depending on your preferences you can also add anchovies, capers, peppers, chopped olives, toasted breadcrumbs, cumin, turmeric, or cilantro. To make this dish, you need to preheat a frying pan on medium heat and put in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When the pan is hot, add the cauliflower, and when it starts to brown stir it for about 7 minutes. Add the salt, condiments, and the other ingredients of your choice. Serve this all with a little bit of olive oil and bread.


  • This article about "Cauliflower" was originally published in Spanish in Viviendo La Salud



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