While it’s typically good advice to “stay away from white foods,” cauliflower is one big exception to the “rule.” Despite being naturally white, it’s oh so good for you. And with its mild flavor and versatility, it’s fast gaining in popularity. In fact, cauliflower can take the place of broccoli, potatoes, bread, rice, and even meat in various recipes, often increasing nutrient density while cutting calories.
Cauliflower can be grown year round, and while most of us typically eat only the florets, you may also safely consume the stems and leaves. Being part of the cruciferous family, alongside cabbage, collard greens, kale, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli, cauliflower can be consumed both raw or cooked. Either way, it provides an array of health benefits.
Loaded with antioxidants as well as demonstrating anti-inflammatory properties, cauliflower is a solid source of vitamin C, vitamin K, protein, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, fiber, vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid, potassium, and manganese. I guess you could say it has cauli-power :).
Most people were probably introduced to this great white wonder with a steamed version covered (that is, masked) with melted cheese. Others may have slathered raw cauliflower with a heaping side of ranch dressing. While both of those are perfectly acceptable, the following healthy cauliflower recipes will not only change the way you look at cauliflower but are guaranteed to wake up your taste buds.
5 Delicious Healthy Cauliflower Recipes
Roasted Spicy Cauliflower
It really doesn’t get any more simple than this, folks. Yet while it’s simple to prepare, it’s far from simple in flavor. This healthy cauliflower recipe is not only sure to win over the veggie haters, it is suitable for just about every type of diet—vegan, dairy-free, low-carb, Keto, low-glycemic, gluten-free, Paleo, or Whole 30.
- 1 head cauliflower, florets
- 2 Tbsps extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 pinch salt
- ground black pepper (fresh, to taste)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl, coating each floret with the mixture.
- Arrange in a single layer on a heavy baking sheet or baking dish.
- Roast for 25 – 30 minutes until softened and golden brown.
Using the same sauce I would typically use on chicken wings, I tossed in some cauliflower. I kid you not—you won’t know the difference between the original and this healthy cauliflower recipe! Blindfold your family and ask them to take a bite. Do it, and then come back and let me know the outcome.
- 6 cups cauliflower, florets
- 2 tsps garlic powder
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 pinch pepper
- 1 Tbsp butter (melted)
- 3/4 cup hot sauce (I’m partial to Frank’s RedHot®)
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
- Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray and set aside.
- Mix the garlic powder, salt, pepper, melted butter, and hot sauce in a small bowl.
- Add the cauliflower florets into a large gallon-sized bag, and pour the buffalo sauce into the bag.
- Shake until the cauliflower florets are fully coated. Spread on a baking sheet.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
- Serve with ranch or blue cheese dressing.
Twice Baked Cauliflower
Double the baking means double the fun, but lucky for you, not double the calories (or the work!). In fact, this twist on the classic twice-baked potato is half the calories, which is why I felt pretty confident in loading the toppings on.
If you were looking to make an even healthier version, you could add broccoli or another green vegetable, or chicken or turkey. The sky is really the limit with this healthy cauliflower recipe, and I would encourage you to be creative.
- 1 head cauliflower
- 4 oz low-fat cream cheese
- 1/2 cup low-fat sour cream
- 1/4 cup green onions, minced
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- 6 slices bacon, cooked
- 1 cup reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cut out stem and core from cauliflower, and cut into small pieces.
- Cook in a large pot of boiling salted water until cauliflower is tender, but not overly soft.
- Drain well and mash with potato masher, leaving some chunks.
- Mix in cream cheese, sour cream, green onion, parmesan, and 3/4 of the crumbled bacon.
- Spread evenly in a medium-sized glass casserole dish.
- Sprinkle with cheddar cheese and reserved bacon.
- Bake for 30 – 35 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.
Yes, it is as good as it looks!
Steamed Cauliflower with Turmeric
Studies have shown that the bioactive components of cruciferous vegetables can have beneficial health effects. Combine that with the turmeric, and more specifically the bioactive compound, curcumin, and you present yourself with a whole host of nutritional benefits. By adding the nutrient powerhouse Curcumin, this is one of the most delicious and healthiest cauliflower recipes.
- 1 lb cauliflower
- 5 Tbsps low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 3 Tbsps extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsps lemon juice
- 2 medium garlic cloves, chopped
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- Cut cauliflower florets into quarters.
- Heat broth in a skillet on medium heat.
- When broth begins to steam, add cauliflower and turmeric and cover.
- Transfer to a bowl.
- While cauliflower is still warm, toss with Mediterranean dressing.
Pasta in and of itself has a bad rap because of its classification as a starchy carbohydrate. There are many ways you can make a more healthful pasta dish, one of which is replacing traditional noodles with veggie noodles, and another way is to be mindful of your sauce.
It can be pretty easy to make a traditional tomato-based sauce more healthy by including a lean protein or veggies, but what do you do when your favorite pasta dish is made with a white sauce typically made with heavy cream and butter; i.e., fettuccine alfredo?
Using whichever type of noodle (or zoodle) you prefer, you can cut your calories in half by making this fake-out fettuccine alfredo using this healthy cauliflower recipe.
- 1 large cauliflower, florets
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
- *Garlic seasoning (I recommend FlavorGod™ Garlic Lover’s Seasoning)
- Bring a pot of water to a boil; then season water liberally with salt.
- Add cauliflower florets and cook to tender, about 7 – 8 minutes.
- Add cooked florets, milk, and a little salty boiling water to a Vitamix or food processor.
- Add cheese and either fresh garlic or garlic seasoning (to taste)
- Serve over pasta (or pasta-like veggie) of your choice.
I have tried this recipe with almond milk as well as chicken broth, and both have produced a great sauce. You could even do a blend of almond milk and chicken broth, or milk. I am also a huge fan of cheese, so I usually garnish my dish with a few extra sprinkles at the end. Same with my garlic seasoning.