I recently rediscovered my love of cauliflower. My only memory of it as a child is a microwaved head, smothered in Velveeta cheese product — certainly not something I would eat now as a food-conscious adult. So I’ll admit I overlooked this vegetable for many years.
Mild, delicately crunchy, and a little bit sweet and nutty, cauliflower makes a delicious addition to many dishes. Not only is it delicious, but like most vegetables, it is full of amazing nutrients and health benefits. A cruciferous vegetable, cauliflower has been linked to a decrease in the risk of: bladder cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, and ovarian cancer. The link to various cancers is because of cauliflower’s effect on three major body systems.
First, cauliflower supports the body’s detoxification system with antioxidant nutrients, sulfur-containing nutrients, and phytonutrients called glucosinolates that can help activate detoxification enzymes.
Second, cauliflower contains 91% of our daily intake of Vitamin C in a single serving, providing powerful antioxidant support. The vegetable also provides a host of other broad-spectrum antioxidant phytonutrients, which helps lower the risk of oxidative stress in our cells (chronic oxidative stress is a key factor in cancer risk).
Third, cauliflower is an excellent source of Vitamin K and omega-3 fatty acids, which are both powerful anti-inflammatories. It also contains other anti-inflammatory compunds that can help stop inflmmatory responses at a very early stage. (Turmeric, also included in this recipe, provides anti-inflammatory benefits as well.) Fighting imflamation can help prevent cancers and other chronic diseases, as well as boost cardiovascular health.
And there’s more! Cauliflower is high in fiber and, as mentioned, contains glucosinolate, both of which aid the digestive process. It’s low in calories and high in nutrients. What more reason do you need to enjoy some fresh cauliflower?
This is an adapted Indian recipe. It’s delicious alongside some sauteed greens, or with another curry dish, like Masoor Dal.
Chile-Garlic Potatoes and Cauliflower with Turmeric
Preparation: 45 minutes to 1 hour
- 10-12 small whole red, or yellow waxy, potatoes
- 1 head of fresh cauliflower
- 2 tbsp light olive oil
- 1 tsp mustard seeds, preferably brown
- 1 tsp whole cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 5 large garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 fresh green chile, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup canned crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 tsp salt, to taste
- 3-4 tbsp chopped cilantro leaves
- Cook the potatoes whole, in the skins, in a pot of boiling water for 20 minutes or until tender. Drain and soak in cold water for 20 minutes, and then halve or quarter (depending on size) to make 1.5-inch chunks. They should be about the same size as the cauliflower florets.
- While the potatoes are cooking/cooling, cut the cauliflower into 1-inch florets and blanch in a saucepan of boiling salted water for 3 minutes. Take care not to overcook the cauliflower, or it will be mushy and lose its nutrient content. Drain and soak in ice water to prevent further cooking. Drain again.
- Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add cumin seeds and mustard seeds and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Remove from heat, add garlic and chiles, and return to medium-low heat. Cook, stirring, until garlic is a light brown.
- Stir in turmeric and add potatoes, cauliflower, and tomatoes. Add salt, increase heat to medium. Cook, stirring, until vegetables are thoroughly mixed with spices and heated throughout.
- Add cilantro. Stir, remove from heat, and serve immediately.