My friend, Kaye, is a true foodie. She loves to tease her taste buds through trying new flavors, whether it’s ordering creatively composed sushi or inventive hamburgers at restaurants or making ricotta in her own kitchen with her niece. So when she told me that she had used cauliflower (a vegetable she claimed to despise) from our community supported agriculture share to make a pizza crust that she loved, I just had to try the recipe. And it was darn tasty! Even Dad liked it!
But before I share that recipe, let’s learn a bit more about this vegetable. Cauliflower gets a five-star rating for being a great food for weight loss, according to Self.com’s Nutrition Data section. A one-cup serving has 25 calories, of which 1 is from fat. This serving also provides you with 10 percent of the daily recommended serving of fiber. The George Mateljan Foundation encourages people to eat cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower regularly. The foundation recommends eating cruciferous vegetables -- which also includes broccoli, kale, cabbage and collards -- 2-3 times a week (or more) and to consume a serving size of 1-1/2 cups.
If you embracing seasonal eating, cauliflower’s growing season is from December through March. All parts of the plant – including the stem and leaves -- are edible, according to the George Mateljan Foundation. Cooking cauliflower can be rather smelly since the vegetable’s phytonutrients release sulfur compounds when heated; these odors will become stronger the longer you cook the vegetable. To minimize the odor (and reduce the loss of nutrients through cooking), you need to cook cauliflower for a short period of time. Some of cauliflower’s phytonutrients also can react with iron cookware, causing the vegetable to turn a shade of brown. To stop this from happening, add some lemon juice to the water used to blanch the cauliflower.
Although cauliflower has not been well-researched as far as the health benefits it specifically provides, it is full of important nutrients that are known to help prevent several types of cancer. For instance, this vegetable contains glucosinolates, a phytonutrient that’s important in the body’s detoxification process. “If we fail to give our body's detox system adequate nutritional support, yet continue to expose ourselves to unwanted toxins through our lifestyle and our dietary choices, we can place our bodies at increased risk of toxin-related damage that can eventually increase our cells' risk of becoming cancerous,” the George Mateljan Foundation’s website states. “That's one of the reasons it's so important to bring cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables into our diet on a regular basis.”
Cauliflower also is a very high in vitamin C. According to Self.com’s Nutrition Data section, a one-cup serving gives you 77 percent of the daily requirement. And the Nutrition Data section notes that that same one-cup serving provides you with 20 percent of the daily recommended amount of vitamin K, which helps to regulate the body’s inflammatory response. Dr. Andrew Weil, who is a clinical professor of medicine and director of the Program in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, said this regulation is important because chronic inflammation can increase your risk of a variety of diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.