Food Prep and Recipes

Magical Cauliflower – A Versatile, Healthy Vegetable for Many Vegan Dishes

Cauliflower – New Exciting Ingredient for Vegan Cooking (Great for Paleo & Weight Loss)

With the epidemic of obesity in our country, many people are turning to a vegan diet to reduce unhealthy fats, dangerous hormones, and other additives in meat-based foods. The vegan diet embraces whole foods and is completely kind to animals and the environment.

For people seeking weight loss, the vegan lifestyle provides a lot of exciting food alternatives.  Typical American diets consist of foods that are high in starches, sugars, and fat. Potatoes and rice are part of many of our favorite dishes.  You will be pleasantly surprised to find that there is a simple healthy vegetable that can replace them.  This is the nearly-magical cauliflower  that is very low in calories and provides low glycemic carbs.  This article features lots of suggestions for some great vegan cauliflower dishes.

Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable. Like other veggies of its kind such as broccoli, kale, arugula, brussels sprouts, turnips and cabbage (among others), cauliflower is low and calories and high in protein. A few cups of a cruciferous vegetable contain 25 percent of the recommended daily intake of protein. Additionally, 100 calories worth of cauliflower is filled with 40 percent of your recommended dose of fiber. This is great for digestion and the natural cleansing of your body from waste.

cauliflower-riced

Cauliflower is one of the most versatile vegetables. It has spiked in popularity because of the low caloric, high vitamin, and high mineral properties. It is especially instrumental in the kitchen because it makes a filling but a healthy substitute for many starchy foods. The method of ricing cauliflower has taken the culinary world by storm. By simply removing the florets and pulsing them in a food processor, you end up with a rice-like texture. This can be used in recipes to substitute rice and cooks quite quickly. In complete contrast to this method, you can also roast an entire head of cauliflower without pulling off the florets.  These creative options can jazz up your vegan cauliflower dishes by using the same ingredient in many ways, like potatoes in its ability to blend, yet much more nutritious and easier to digest.

cauliflower-vitamins

In addition to its adaptable nature, cauliflower is extremely healthy. It is an anti-inflammatory and is high in vitamins C and K. This is also a benefit for the heart, as the vegetable can prevent a buildup of plaque in blood vessels and arteries. In a plant-based diet, there might be a concern of an overabundance of estrogen in your daily intake, if you consume foods like yeast and soy that contain estrogen (as well as many processed foods).  Cauliflower balances the hormones by reducing the levels of estrogen. This decreases the chances of issues related to hypothyroidism, autoimmune disease, fatigue, and certain cancers.

colorful cauliflower

Cauliflower comes in beautiful colors. It is most often found in white but there is a broccoli and cauliflower blend that is light green with beautiful geometric patterns (romanesco) as well as purple and orange colored heads. The vegetable is featured in recipes from cuisines around the world, from Asian to Italian as well as different cuisines ranging from eastern to western Europe. Check out at our healthy and creative vegan cauliflower dishes!

We have some great cauliflower recipes below but here are just a few examples of what can be done with this wonderful vegetable in vegan cooking:

Scrumptious Mashed Cauliflower

If you crave mounds of mashed potatoes, you will enjoy a healthier plate of mashed cauliflower. The recipes are similar:

  • Wash a large head of cauliflower thoroughly and cut into florets
  • Put cauliflower in a medium-sized pan and cover with cold water
  • Bring to a gentle boil and cook cauliflower until fork-tender
  • Remove from heat and drain with colander
  • Use a potato masher to mash cauliflower to a soft consistency
  • Season with salt, pepper, and vegan butter. If mixture is too thick, add a little non-dairy milk

Flavorful Cauliflower Rice

Rice is often the base for Asian or Southern dishes. Instead of consuming all the carbohydrates in rice, try cauliflower rice. It can be substituted in all of your favorite rice dishes and will soon become one of your favorite vegan cauliflower dishes:

  • Wash a large head of cauliflower and cut into small pieces
  • Put cauliflower in a medium-sized pan and cover with cold water
  • Bring to a gentle boil and test for “doneness”
  • Remove from stove and drain cauliflower in a colander
  • Put cauliflower in a food processor and pulse until it has the consistency of rice
  • Serve cauliflower rice hot or cold

If you want to make an amazing cauliflower couscous, just process the vegetable raw. It turns into small bits that have the same texture of couscous or quinoa.  (There is a great recipe with cauliflower rice below.)

cauliflower hummus

Delicious Cauliflower Hummus

Try this hummus recipe that substitutes cauliflower for chickpeas:

  • Put three cups of raw cauliflower, 2 Tbs olive oil, ½ tsp sea salt, 2 whole garlic cloves in a dish that is safe for the microwave. Heat for about 15 minutes, until the mixture gets a golden brown.
  • Put mixture into a food processor with 2 cloves of garlic, ½ tsp sea salt, 3 Tbs olive oil, 2 tsp. tahini paste, and 3 Tbs lemon juice. Process until it is the consistency of hummus
  • Put in a serving dish and drizzle with a little olive oil and smoky paprika

Fabulous Roast Cauliflower

You can cut a large head of cauliflower into “steaks” and grill them the same way you would meat. Roasted cauliflower can be used in soups, stews, and anything that may have potatoes. This is a basic recipe:

  • Cut cauliflower into steaks or floret “nuggets”
  • Preheat oven to 400F
  • Drizzle cauliflower pieces with olive oil and bake for 30 minutes
  • Season with salt and pepper

Mix roast cauliflower with other vegetables or make “steaks” for an entrée – another of the fine vegan cauliflower dishes.

(We also have a full recipe for roasted cauliflower below.)

Decedent Cauliflower Rice Pudding

Here is a way to use your homemade cauliflower rice for a yummy dessert:

  • Simmer three cups of cauliflower with three cups of coconut milk
  • Cook gently until coconut milk has evaporated
  • Add ½ cup coconut cream and ¼ cup of flaxseed
  • Stir in cinnamon, organic brown sugar, and pure vanilla to taste
  • Enjoy hot or cold

 

Fabulous Cauliflower Recipes

(Click on the links below for the full recipes and instructions.)

CAULIFLOWER STEAK ON SAUTEED GREENS

cauliflower-steak

CHEEZY CAULIFLOWER CHOWDER

cauliflower-chowder

ROSEMARY ROASTED HEAD OF CAULIFLOWER WITH PORCINI MARSALA SAUCE

roasted-head-cauliflower

CAULIFLOWER RICE BIRYANI

cauliflower rice web

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Thriving on Plants is a resource for a whole food, plant-based way of eating and living. Here we celebrate all things plant and honor the power of informed awareness and a diet focused primarily of unprocessed vegetables, fruit, legumes, and whole grains to support good health and happiness. Discover what a little more plant can do for your life!

Disclaimer

This website is for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing presented here should be construed as a substitute for medical advice. Before beginning any type of new diet (natural or conventional), it is advisable to seek the advice of a licensed physician, nutritionist and/or healthcare professional.
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