Souper Cauliflower
By Neil Zevnik
Upright stalks of broccoli get to dine with prime steaks, and common cabbage is considered indispensable with corned beef on St. Patty's Day, but where is the love for their lumpy white sibling?

Unless drenched with melted cheese, cauliflower has been largely shunned by the populace at large. This is a shame, because properly prepared, cauliflower is toothsome and delicious; and like the other members of the Brassica family, it is loaded with health benefits for young and old alike.

Two of the top nutrients are the phytochemicals sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol. The sulforaphane is especially intriguing, as it is released not in digestion but in the mechanical action of chopping or chewing the florets. Research suggests that this compound offers protection against tumor development at a cellular level, thereby providing an early defense against cancer formation. Indole-3-carbinol (or I3C) is an anti-inflammatory component that can operate at the genetic level, and thus is able to fight inflammatory damage at an early stage. And studies show that I3C in conjunction with sulforaphane acts as an anti-estrogen, intensifying the cancer-fighting properties of both.

Cauliflower is also a good source of vitamin C, beta-carotene, quercetin, vitamin K, and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).

Holiday Cauliflower Soup w/ Red Pepper Purée
Serves 6

This visually stunning starter, with its red pepper purée “poinsettia,” makes a delicious and festive holiday treat.

3 Tbs. blood orange olive oil (or regular olive oil)

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

2 medium cloves garlic, minced

4 cups low-sodium organic chicken broth

2 tsp. orange zest

1 large head organic cauliflower, cut into florets

1 ripe pear (preferably Anjou or Taylor Gold), peeled, cored, and chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Red pepper purée:

½ cup roasted red bell peppers (can used jarred peppers)

1 Tbs. olive oil

1 Tsp. fresh lemon juice

2 Tbs. chopped pistachio nuts

  1. In large heavy saucepan, heat orange olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring, until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute or so. Add broth and orange zest, increase heat and bring to a boil. Add cauliflower and cook until florets are no longer crisp but not soggy, about 5 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat, and add pear. Purée in batches in blender, return to pot, and keep warm until ready to serve. (May be refrigerated for later use, and gently reheated.)
  3. For red pepper purée: In food processor, purée red peppers with olive oil and lemon juice. Transfer to small saucepan and gently warm. (Add a little water if it’s too thick.)
  4. Ladle soup into bowls. To make a “poinsettia”: using a small spoon, place a tight circle of six round dime-size dollops of the red pepper purée in the center of each bowl. Using the back tip of the spoon, draw out each dot toward the edge of the bowl, creating six “petals” of the flower. Sprinkle a few bits of the chopped pistachios in the center of the flower, and serve.

per serving: 166 cal; 6 g prot; 11 g total fat (2 g sat fat); 14 g carb; 3 mg chol; 183 mg sod; 4 g fiber; 7 g sugars

Roast Indian Cauliflower
Serves 4

Serve this simple preparation with some lentils and steamed carrots, and you have a light but satisfying vegetarian repast…

1 large head organic cauliflower, cut into florets

¼ cup light olive oil (I use Greek for this)

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Salt to taste 

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375.
  2. Place cauliflower on a foil-lined baking sheet.  Drizzle evenly with olive oil and sprinkle with cumin, coriander & black pepper.  Roast until cooked through but not soft, about 15-20 minutes.  Add salt to taste and serve.  (And the foil lining makes clean-up a snap!)



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