Cauliflower: the albino broccoli. I love cauliflower! It’s delicious (when cooked properly or served with scrumptious dips), cheap and a veritable army of disease fighters!
Cauliflower is part of the cruciferous family (this includes cabbage, broccoli, Brussel sprouts etc… all those smelly veggies). The smell is a by-product of the sulfur-containing compounds called glucosinolates which activate the body’s detoxification system (lighting a fire in the detox enzymes of the body and maintaining their activity). It also contains compounds from the indole family (indole-3-carbinol which is an anti-inflammatory compound that works at the genetic level to reduce inflammation)
The host of antioxidants (including the ever-popular vitamin C) of cauliflower is large and the list is rather taxing to spell out all those ridiculous names. However, just know that it’s A LOT. Antioxidants are like Ents on the rampage: they annihilate the enemy encroaching upon their territory.
Another role of antioxidants, as their name implies, is they reduce the oxidative stress (by unbound, free oxygen molecules which wreck havoc on cells when they don’t have their buddies of hydrogen and another oxygen (water).) in the cells. This lowers the risk of cancer development as well as keeping cells functioning well.
Last benefit (though there are more, but I think this is all the information needed for now): cauliflower is pretty high in folate (folic acid). It’s B vitamin that is vital for developing fetuses (feti?) and brain development in growing babies. (pregnant ladies, eat up!) Folate is also important in fighting against heart disease (guys, eat it too!) and releases seratonin so it can act as a mild anti-depressant. So why aren’t you eating cauliflower?
Because it tastes bad.
Not anymore! There are scores of recipes for cauliflower mash out there but I can confidently say that mine is the best. How can I make such an outrageous claim? Because Steve, my husband, ate it (and he detests cauliflower) so if he’ll eat it happily, it must be the best.
I also cheated. I used meatloaf to make it taste less like cauliflower. (that’s an old Jedi trick.)
This is a bonus post. You’ll get my recipe for mashed cauliflower (which I’m not going to make the claim that it tastes “just like mashed potatoes.” It doesn’t. Whoever claims that either has never had good mashed potatoes, or they put so much butter and bacon bits in the cauliflower that it destroys the point of eating a healthy vegetable.) annnd a meatloaf recipe that, again, is the best. (Why? Because Steve eats it and he also hates meatloaf. Ha, what was I thinking serving these two together in a meal??)
1 lb ground beef (I use 96/4 lean beef, grass fed if I can get it. One could also used ground turkey or whatever the vegetarian substitute for this might be…)
1/2 cup oatmeal
Generous amount of minced garlic
Multiple bunches of cilantro
Pinch of: salt, pepper, chili pepper and paprika
1 head of cauliflower, chopped up in fairly small pieces
Light dusting of paprika, chili pepper and salt
Oil for spraying/tossing
1. Preheat oven at 400-ish
2. Chop up cauliflower and place on a sprayed cookie sheet. Dust with paprika, chili powder, salt and spray again with olive oil (alternately, just toss the cauliflower with a 2 Tbs of olive oil plus spices then spread on pan). Set aside out of the way (not in the oven).
3. Squish up all the meatloaf ingredients with your hands in a large bowl. (it’s really fun. Just remove any rings you may be wearing, made THAT mistake once.) Once it’s well mixed, evenly squash it into a meatloaf tin (a bread pan with holes on the bottom. If yours comes with a drip-catching attachment, don’t use it for this).
4. Place the meatloaf on the top rack and the cauliflower underneath it so it’ll catch the drippings.
5. Bake the cauliflower about 15-20 minutes, or until soft. Remove from oven (the meatloaf might need more time. In that case just slip some foil under it to catch the drippings) and let cool about 2-3 minutes.
6. In a food processor or blender, dump the cauliflower in and let it churn baby! I add a little milk to smooth it out a bit; add as much as you want until you achieve the consistency of you choosing. At this point, the meatloaf is probably done.
7. Serve and enjoy! We like ketchup on our meatloaf…
Experiment with the seasonings you use for the roasted/mashed cauliflower. I’ve heard whisperings of parmesan and balsamic…. just eat more cauliflower!!