Supercharge Your Fitness
If you’re wondering what vegetable to serve at your Thanksgiving feast, why not try cauliflower? The folklore says cauliflower’s “brainy” appearance clearly suggests it’s a smart dietary choice. Its name comes from the Latin word caulis, which means cabbage, and floris, or flower. Cauliflower (Brassica oleracea) is part of the family of veggies known as crucifer, or Brassica, which includes cabbage, broccoli, kale, and collard greens. It has a closely packed “head” of underdeveloped flower buds surrounded by green leaves that shelter it from the sun, preventing the formation of chlorophyll in white varieties. There are also green (Broccoflower), purple and orange (sometimes called “cheddar”) varieties.
One cup serving = 28 calories, 3gms dietary fiber, and packs an impressive 92% daily value of antioxidant Vitamin C (55mg), 22% DV of vitamin K (17mcg) for healthy blood function and 55 mcg folate as well as several beneficial sulfur-containing compounds called glucosinolates.
Delicious on its own, cauliflower’s neutral flavor happily adapts to many culinary profiles, from curried to pickled, making it easy to enjoy its bounty of health and nutritional benefits. Explore its veggie versatility by roasting it whole, slicing it into “steaks” or cauliflowerettes; process into “rice” or “couscous” or puree into mashed “potatoes” for fun twists on the ordinary!
Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Herb Almond Sauce
- 1 large cauliflower
- 1/3 cup blanched almonds
- 6-10 anchovy fillets, optional
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temp
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for basting
- 2 tsp red wine vinegar, more to taste
- ½ cup coarsely chopped parsley, mint, tarragon, cilantro or a combination
- ½ -1 tsp red pepper flakes, optional
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place a cast-iron skillet in the oven. Place a small pan of hot water on the floor of the oven to create steam.
- Break off and discard the outer leaves from the cauliflower. Cut off the bottom of the stem, and then use the tip of a small, sharp knife to cut off the leaves close to the stem. Carefully cut out the hard core of the cauliflower, near the bottom. Leave the main stem intact and make sure not to cut through any of the florets.
- Rinse the cauliflower and leave the water clinging to the outside and place on a work surface, core side up. Drizzle with olive oil and use your hand to rub over the cauliflower until evenly coated. Sprinkle with salt. Place the cauliflower on the hot pan in the oven, core side down, and cook until very tender all the way through when pierced with a knife, at least 1 hour or up to 2 hours. During the cooking, baste 2-3 times with more olive oil. It should brown nicely. If you have a convection oven, use it towards the end of the baking to brown the crust.
- To make the sauce toast nuts over low heat in a small skillet, shaking often, just until golden and fragrant. Set aside to cool. Soak anchovies for 5 minutes in cool water. Rinse then set aside on paper towels.
- In a food processor, combine almonds, anchovies, garlic and butter and pulse until smooth. Mix in oil, then vinegar. Mix in herbs and red pepper flakes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- When cauliflower is tender, remove from the oven. Serve cauliflower in the skillet or from a serving plate. Cut into wedges and spoon sauce around each wedge.
Yield: 4-6 servings
Source: New York Times www.cooking.nytimes.com
Cindy Kleckner, RDN, LD, FAND is a registered dietitian nutritionist and culinary expert, a Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and author of Hypertension Cookbook for Dummies, 2011 and the DASH Diet For Dummies, 2014. Email Cindy for a personalized demonstration of this fun and easy way to add more nutrients to your meals at 214-293-5306.