Cauliflower is catching on

With summer fast approaching the selection of fresh produce at the farmers market is increasing each week

By Simone Jennings, RD

Community Nutritionist with Interior Health

I love this time of year. With summer fast approaching the selection of fresh produce at the farmers market is increasing each week.

I truly look forward to Saturday mornings; strolling the farmers market with my husband and son, coming home with an arm load of ‘goodies’ that were freshly pulled from the earth. It was a recent trip to the farmers market that inspired me to dedicate an article to cauliflower.

Despite its bland color, cauliflower does not disappoint when it comes to nutrition.

It is a great source of vitamin C, which has an important role in our immune system.

It is also a good source of folate, a vitamin that is essential for making new cells and is necessary before and during pregnancy. As well, it is a good source of fibre and antioxidants and is low in fat and calories. It is also extremely versatile and has become popular in many dishes. I have seen cauliflower as the star ingredient in all kinds of recipes, even hummus and pizza crust.

My favourite way to eat it is oven roasted along with other veggies such as potatoes, yams, carrots and/or onions. Toss the veggies in olive oil and sprinkle with your choice of seasoning (I like curry powder, fresh garlic and a sprinkle of sea salt).

Roasted cauliflower can also be served on its own as a side dish, added to pasta dishes, or pureed into soups. Looking to lighten things up? Try cauliflower as a substitute for potatoes.

Cauliflower puree makes a surprisingly good, lower calorie alternative to mashed potatoes. Or replace potatoes with steamed cauliflower in your favourite potato salad recipe.

Interested in trying a new spin on an old favourite?

Try this cauliflower puree that some call ‘mock mashed potatoes’. Note: the texture is not as dense as potatoes so please do not be disappointed when you can tell the difference. Regardless these are typically very well received.

1 head of cauliflower

1 tablespoon of light cream cheese

¼ cup of parmesan or aged cheddar cheese

1 tablespoon of butter

A sprinkle of both salt and pepper

2-4 tablespoons of fresh chives for garnish

Wash cauliflower, then chop and steam until well cooked and soft, about 10 minutes. If necessary, pat dry to remove any extra moisture. In a bowl with a hand blender or in a food processor puree the hot cauliflower with the other ingredients (except the chives). Serve as a side dish and garnish with chives. Optional, if you like the flavour add a clove of fresh or roasted garlic to this recipe.