Why Is Everyone So Obsessed With Cauliflower?
We explore the cruciferous vegetable and just what it is that makes it so good.
Published Oct 11, 2018 7:05 PM
Summer 2018 was all about tomato toast—which, if you haven’t heard, is the new avocado toast. And since our appetite for eating with a nutrient-rich mindset is near insatiable, we’re always on the lookout for the next big trend in healthy dining.
Now, it should go without saying that we’re not here to eat healthy simply for the sake of eating healthy. With the insurgence of fresh, new flavor pairings and the creative developments that belong to the same vein, substituting better ingredients in the place of their caloric counterparts no longer results in a flavorless product.
The latest ingredient to emerge in said scene is an arguably unlikely one: the cruciferous vegetable is none other than cauliflower—the underrated and often overlooked sibling of the ever-present broccoli. The nutrient-dense superfood is chockful of various health benefits and rich with vitamins. “Sulfur-rich foods like cauliflower play a powerful part in a plant-based diet,” notes Whitney Tingle, co-founder of Sakara Life. “[Sulfer] is necessary to help create glutathione in the body, one of the most potent antioxidants. It also strengthens hair, skin, and nails, and is a major detoxifier.”
The surprisingly versatile vegetable made its debut in the spotlight thanks to its ability to double as a healthy alternative to carbo-rich pizza crusts and from there, things have only escalated. What could have once passed as a surprising substitution has now become the focal point of many a dish. But, it doesn’t just stop there.
Ahead, we take a look at the impressive array of packaged goodies and recipes, which feature the vegetable in all its glory. Take a look.
Cauliflower Pretzels and Crackers
When you find yourself craving a little something savory, it can definitely be hard to resist grabbing that bag of salty potato chips. Consider this your next best bet. How do cauliflower pretzels work exactly you may ask? The health food purveyor takes a plant-based approach to their limited line of alternative snacks, derived from cauliflower flour and cassava flour (a woody shrub with starchy qualities). Available in flavors encompassing sea salt, cheddar, and even nacho, you can happily snack free sans the guilt.
Trader Joe’s Riced Cauliflower is a standout favorite amongst team Domino. The versatile dish can be paired with a wide variety of flavors and ingredients, resulting as the ultimate base for easy weeknight meals. Whip up a seafood-heavy stir-fry with fresh vegetables, scallops, and shrimp or saute with button mushrooms for a protein-rich side.
Probiotic Cauliflower Puffs
Vegan Rob’s probiotic cauliflower puffs are the ideal middle ground between popcorn and chips. The puffy treats are delightfully crunchy and claim to support digestive and immune health, which, in our books, is always a win.
Looking to integrate the vegetable more pure in form? Read on for a few of our favorite recipes where cauliflower is the main event.
Cheesy Baked Pasta with Cauliflower
Not that this one needs much of an explanation—the photo is reason enough for us to make it—but we’ll divulge a few details nonetheless. Sure, this dish may be a little pasta-heavy but there’s no denying the effect of the cauliflower itself and the healthy balance it brings to the four-cheese blend inside.
Get the recipe on Bon Appetit.
Harissa Spiced Cauliflower Steaks
Harissa brings on the flavor in this creative rendition of a classic. Sure, a cauliflower steak isn’t quite anything like the real thing but humor us here. The easy-to-make dish features a slew of spices, which result in a dynamic flavor profile that’s fresh and spicy. A touch of maple syrup brings on a hint of sweetness while the accompanying chickpea salad, on the side, lends a refreshingly tart complement.
Get the recipe on Evergreen Kitchen.
Chipotle Cauliflower Tacos with Jalapeño Cilantro Sauce
Taco night just got a major upgrade and we couldn’t be more thrilled. Mostly because it entails a healthyish spin, courtesy of none other than the cauliflower itself. Garnished with a spicy jalapeno cilantro sauce, the smokey flavor of the chipotle easily lends itself to the dish, resulting in a multi-dimensional finish that’s bold yet refreshing.
Get the recipe on Clean Eating.
Spice-Roasted Cauliflower with Pine Nuts and Tahini Drizzle
Consider this the low-lift meal your busy worknights were missing. The cauliflower portion of the dish is about as easy as they come: blend the vegetable with a spice blend and bake! Afterward, a smooth tahini topping contributes a burst of added flavor, resulting in an utterly satisfying dish that can easily stand in as the main course.
Get the recipe on Food52.
Caramelized Cauliflower Soup
Come fall, we’re all for the cold weather-friendly dishes and soup instantly comes top of mind. This rich and creamy blend features parmesan-roasted cauliflower florets, which are further enhanced by the addition of the leeks and garlic. Garnished with a heavenly lemon-butter drizzle, this soup is packed with unexpected flavors and plenty of punch.
Get the recipe on Le Creuset.