Welcome to Creative Veges 101 where I take you on a journey of learning how to:
- Get creative with vegetables
- Experiment with delicious quick recipes
- Easily get them into your meals everyday
This week is Cauliflower, a very underestimated vegetable.
Cauliflower is one of the super cancer-kicking vegetables from the cruciferous or brassica family.
There is sufficient epidemiological evidence to suggest that the consumption of cruciferous vegetables is associated with a reduction in cancer!
Cruciferous vegetables contain sulforaphane which is a natural, sulphur rich, plant compound that has been shown to have cancer-fighting abilities.
The trick with sulforaphane is that it needs to be activated. When we chop or chew it begins the activation process. Chop then wait about 40 minutes and it’s activated. Once activated it can be heated/cooked because it’s resistant to heat.
So eating some raw is a great idea as it activates in the stomach and can activate the cooked cruciferous vegetables as well!
However, don’t get hung up on this! I just try to chop my veges first so they can sit and activate and eat some raw while I’m chopping. At the end of the day, it’s about getting them into us as easily as possible!
Cauliflower Rice – in my quest to reduce liquid oil (even if it’s healthy!) I now just spread the cauliflower rice on a baking tray lined with baking paper, spread with herbamere (healthy salt) and bake in a moderate oven until just cooked. I then use as you would rice or toss through a salad. You can also get creative and sprinkle with other seasonings, including Nutritional Yeast for a cheesy flavour.
Cauliflower Popcorn – is a fun twist on roasted cauliflower. Start with cutting the cauliflower into large popcorn sized pieces and spread on a tray lined with baking paper. Pour a teaspoon your chosen healthy oil like olive or coconut into the palm of your hand, mix with the other hand and then quickly spread over the pieces. The oil helps the seasoning to stick so you could also use a spray of water instead and skip the oil. Season and bake the same way as the cauliflower rice. Kids love this and adults have been genuinely surprised – we all love salty flavoursome foods!
Cauliflower Steaks – using the whole cauliflower, start slicing 1cm thick pieces. Near the middle the pieces will stay together as one ‘steak’. Place these ‘steaks’ on a tray lined with baking paper, season and bake until cooked. I have taken to mixing hummus with diced red capsicum, spring onions and coriander and spreading over the ‘steaks’ before you put them in the oven. Cook until the cauliflower is cooked which is usually about 30 minutes. These make a delicious side dish or a hearty lunch. NOTE: rice the unused cauliflower and freeze to put into casseroles or stews later – the ‘rice’ doesn’t need to be cooked.
Cauliflower White/Cheese Sauce – this is a delicious alternative to a traditional white sauce. After steaming the cauliflower you blend in a food processor with the hint of nutmeg, onion & garlic powder and herbamere. Add enough liquid (I use almond milk) until you get the desired consistency. Adding nutritional yeast will give you an amazing cheesy flavoured white sauce!
NOTE: If you have an underactive thyroid or iodine deficiency, cooking (lightly steaming) cruciferous vegetables lessens their goitrogenic properties.