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FOOD WISE: Get creative with cauliflower

Cauliflower Tabbouleh
Cauliflower Tabbouleh - Contributed

Cauliflower has taken the spotlight for its ability to be transformed into many foods: rice, wings, even steak! 
The cauliflower we typically eat is white in colour, but did you know that there are green, orange and purple varieties as well? The outer leaves of the cauliflower are what protect it from sunlight, keeping the plant a creamy-white. When exposed to sunlight, pigments are able to form and will change the colour of the plant.
Cauliflower is from the cabbage family of plants, which also includes other vegetables like broccoli, kale, and Brussels sprouts. It is rich in vitamin C and high in folate and fibre (which helps to improve digestion, blood sugars, and cholesterol). Finally, cauliflower contains a substance called indoles, which may help to protect against some forms of cancer. Indoles are also responsible for the Sulphur smell that is released when cauliflower is overcooked! 
When choosing cauliflower in the grocery store, look for a firm, compact, creamy-white head, and crisp, bright green leaves. If the head has a yellow tinge, it has matured past its prime. Once purchased, cauliflower should be stored in the refrigerator, unwashed, in a plastic bag and with the head turned downwards. 
Eating cauliflower goes well beyond serving it raw with your desired dip. Here are some different ways that you can cook cauliflower at home:

Make a Silky Soup. Sauté cauliflower with onion and garlic, add desired broth, bring to a boil then simmer until the cauliflower is tender. Purée the finished product, and season with your favourite herbs and spices.

Roast Cauliflower. Simply drizzle with oil and your favourite spices, pop them the oven, and roast until tender. You can also make a veggie “chicken wings” by roasting cauliflower dipped in your favourite barbeque sauce. My own favourite? Panko-crusted cauliflower “wings” dipped in marinara sauce! 

Steam Cauliflower. Cauliflower has a starchy texture when cooked. Mash it with just enough milk and you have an alternative to mashed potatoes! For a creamy, whipped texture, mash your cauliflower with some goat cheese. Yum!

Make Cauliflower Rice. Riced cauliflower is a great alternative to rice or other grain in salads, a stir fry, even pizza crust. A cheese grater or food processor can be used to transform your head of cauliflower into “rice”, or check out the PC Cauliflower Ricer that’s available now at Atlantic Superstore. With a one-handed pump, it is easy to use and requires less strength than a traditional ricer.   

With barbecue season just around the corner, you can make cauliflower the new favourite at the picnic table! This Cauliflower Tabbouleh salad uses riced cauliflower instead of couscous, so it’s a no-cook, gluten-free take on parsley-packed tabbouleh; the raw cauliflower provides a satisfying crunchy texture and the best flavour. Garnish with additional chopped fresh parsley and mint leaves, if desired. 

Cauliflower Tabbouleh

Half head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into large florets (about 5 cups/ 1.25L)
2 cups (500 mL)  lightly packed fresh parsley
1 cup (250 mL) lightly packed fresh mint leaves
4 green onions, sliced
2 PC Organics Roma Tomatoes, diced
1 sweet yellow pepper, diced
Half English cucumber, diced
1 clove garlic, finely grated 
1/3 cup (75 m L) PC New World EVOO Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp (5 mL) grated lemon zest
1/4 cup (50 mL) fresh lemon juice)
3/4 tsp (4 mL) salt
1/2 tsp (2 mL) black pepper

1. Place half of the cauliflower florets in PC Cauliflower Ricer; pump ricer until cauliflower is finely chopped. Transfer to large bowl. Repeat with remaining cauliflower.
2. Place parsley and mint in ricer; pump until finely chopped. Transfer to same bowl. 
3. Add green onions, tomatoes, yellow pepper and cucumber to cauliflower mixture; toss to combine.
4. Whisk together garlic, oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper in small bowl until combined. Drizzle over tabbouleh; toss to coat.
Recipe source:
Makes 10 servings 

Per serving: 100 calories, fat 8 g (1 g of which is saturated), sodium 200 mg, carbohydrate 8 g, fibre 2 g, sugars 3 g, protein 2 g

Ellen Greenan is a Registered Dietitian with Atlantic Superstore in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. 

Have a nutrition question? Want to book an appointment or shop with the dietitian? Book online at www.atlanticsuperstore/dietitians or contact me by phone at (902) 921-0700 or by email at

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