A popular substitute for starchy and gluten-heavy foods, cauliflower is an unsung superfood! As a member of the cruciferous-vegetable family (think kale, cabbage, bok choy, broccoli), cauliflower has significant levels of glucosinolates, which break down to form chemicals that may ward off cancer. Mom may have been onto something when she reminded you to eat your broccoli.
For most of us, raw cauliflower isn’t the thing that gets our hearts racing. But never mind crudites — it’s that time of year when we need ready-to-bake lasagnas on hand in the fridge, or simple, satisfying pasta recipes to whip up on a busy weeknight. As it turns out, there are plenty of clever ways to incorporate the tender, winter-white florets into the season’s most-time-honored comfort foods. You can even replace traditional mashed potatoes with mashed cauliflower, or try tossing the roasted florets in hot sauce for a lighter alternative to Buffalo chicken wings. Whether you’re preparing a hearty sit-down meal or a casual snack to enjoy at the next big tailgate, here are six ways to revamp classic comfort foods by giving them a healthy cauliflower twist.
Roasted Cauliflower Lasagna (pictured at top)
When we’re talking comfort food, lasagna is one of the first dishes to come to mind. Beef, although classic, doesn’t need to be a part of the equation — especially if you’re looking to cut fat from your diet. In Food Network Kitchen’s healthy take, cauliflower is the star. The tender florets are not only blended into the ricotta cheese filling for texture, but also roasted and used in place of the traditional meatballs or sausage.
We’re now officially a couple of weeks into fall, and pumpkins are everywhere — stacked up outside grocery stores and in pumpkin-spice everything. But there’s a lot more fall produce you should be excited about. Here are some of the season’s best assets, plus ideas for incorporating them into healthy fall meals. Read more
Tabbouleh — the classic Middle Eastern cracked wheat bulgur salad with lemon and parsley — has gotten a brilliant makeover at Boulud Sud, Daniel Boulud’s elegant Upper West Side restaurant, featuring the lush flavors of the Mediterranean. Chef Travis Swikard’s duo of tabbouleh features a riot of flavors that includes mint, cilantro, jalapeno and za’atar, as well as dried barberries, figs, apricots, walnuts and pomegranate seeds. To accommodate gluten-free diners, Chef Swikard doesn’t use the classic bulgur in his recipe; instead he pulses blanched cauliflower until it’s the texture of couscous and uses that as the tabbouleh’s base. “We have a lot of gluten-free diners here, and I wanted to do something fresh with lots of textures,” he said.
When Chef Brad Farmerie opened Public in New York City’s hip Nolita neighborhood in 2003, fresh from a stint at London’s Providores, he was already taking chances with dishes like grilled kangaroo on a coriander falafel with lemon tahini sauce and green pepper relish. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. The dish is like sunshine on a cold, gray day. It became a signature and it is a perfect example of his gift — marrying unorthodox ingredients with layers of contrasting textures and a riot of flavors. It put him on the map as a serious player among New York City’s culinary consigliere.
Braised Collard Greens and Butternut Squash
Take a break from kale and cook up some collards, the Southern staple that happens to be a nutritional powerhouse. Sweet butternut squash tempers the bitterness of the greens while freshly grated ginger adds a surprising burst of flavor. Read more
A longtime filmmaker and environmental activist (she produced the Academy Award–winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth), Laurie David is now on a crusade to change the way America eats. A lofty goal, for sure, but after revamping the way her own family approached food, she’s primed to share her practical yet sly spin on healthier home cooking (sample recipe: Roasted Cauliflower “Popcorn”). A few years back, she coauthored The Family Dinner: Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids One Meal at a Time, cookbook that combined recipes with advice on how to establish a regular and semi-sane dinner routine. She’s now followed that up with her new book, The Family Cooks: 100+ Recipes to Get Your Family Craving Food That’s Simple, Tasty, and Incredibly Good for You, out this week. David also tackles the issue of childhood obesity in her new documentary, Fed Up, co-produced with Katie Couric and slated for release on May 9th.
Everyone’s buzzing about cauliflower these days. It’s simple, tasty and apparently very trendy; we love that this cruciferous veggie is getting a chance to shine!
Low in calories (25 per cup) but high in nutrients (fiber and vitamins C, K and B6), cauliflower also boasts various antioxidants, including those that may help prevent certain types of cancer.
Cauliflower is unique because has the ability to morph into many different forms. When it’s mashed, pureed, roasted or boiled – the texture and flavor completely change.
White is the most widely available variety, but you may also be able to find green, purple and orange versions at your local famers’ market.