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Cauliflower Craze: 10 Healthy and Delicious Recipes

by
author image August McLaughlin
August McLaughlin is a health and sexuality writer with more than 10 years of experience as a nutritionist. Her work is featured in the Huffington Post, DAME Magazine, The Good Men Project and more. She specializes in eating disorders and loves connecting with readers and writers via her blog and social media.

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Cauliflower Craze: 10 Healthy and Delicious Recipes
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Move over, kale, it’s cauliflower’s time to shine. This member of the brassica oleracea family (along with other trendy veggies like Brussels sprouts and kale) has made its way into the hearts of the carb-conscious as an alternative to potatoes, rice and even bread. A versatile food, cauliflower is easily adapted into recipes as an ingredient to replace typical high-carb foods. Aside from reducing carbs and overall calories, a recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that cauliflower also helps promote heart health and could lengthen your life. In analyzing the eating habits of 134,796 Chinese adults, researchers found that participants who ate diets rich in vegetables -- particularly cruciferous varieties such as cauliflower -- had significantly lower risks for heart disease and related deaths than people who did not. So whether you’re a trend-conscious foodie, someone watching your carb intake or one of the people who just enjoys the taste of cauliflower, read on for nine healthy and delicious cauliflower recipes.

1. Cauliflower Bread
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1 CAULIFLOWER BREAD

Whether you’re cutting back on starchy foods or desire a light, nutritious white-bread alternative, Maya Nahra, RD, recommends making bread by mixing together freshly ground cauliflower, eggs, cheese and herbs. The “dough” can be baked into patties until crisp or grilled on a skillet laced with olive oil. They can also be made into breadsticks. They won’t rise the way typical breads do, but the flat, flavorful loaves can be enjoyed alone or with healthy toppings, such as marinara sauce and cheese, hummus or nut butter. “It’s hard to think you’re even eating cauliflower!” says Nahra. “It’s awesome to see such flavorful cauliflower dishes replacing highly processed starches.” CALORIES PER SERVING: 85.

Related: See Full Recipe and Nutritional Details in MyPlate

2. Buffalo Cauliflower
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2 BUFFALO CAULIFLOWER

Whether you’re vegetarian or simply want a healthier alternative to high-fat buffalo wings, use cauliflower as a wing substitute. To make, dip cauliflower florets into a batter consisting of a whole-grain flour -- such as rice or quinoa flour -- water, salt and a dash of hot sauce. Next, bake the “wings” until the coating hardens. Afterward, brush them with buffalo sauce (made with equal parts hot sauce and oil, plus a pinch of salt) and bake them for a few additional minutes. Fast-food chicken wings contain about 100 calories per wing, while one buffalo cauliflower floret contains about 20 calories. CALORIES PER SERVING: 130.

Related: See Full Recipe and NutritSee Full Recipe and Nutritional Details in MyPlate ional Details in MyPlate

3. Cauliflower Pancakes
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3 CAULIFLOWER PANCAKES

Orange juice isn’t the only way to get your vitamin C in the morning. One cup of cooked cauliflower provides about 55 milligrams of the antioxidant vitamin and works well as the main ingredient in pancakes. To make, combine cooked, mashed cauliflower with eggs, breadcrumbs and a dash of salt and pepper. Drop dollops of the batter on a griddle coated with olive oil and cook until crisp on both sides. For a more nutritious option, use whole-grain breadcrumbs and add diced mushrooms or shredded kale. For sweeter cakes, add a bit of honey and cinnamon (skipping the cheese and pepper) and top with berries and pure maple syrup. CALORIES PER SERVING: 83.

Related: See Full Recipe and Nutritional Details in MyPlate

4. Cauliflower Pizza Crust
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4 CAULIFLOWER PIZZA CRUST

“Cauliflower” and “pizza” are two words you don’t typically see together, but rest assured, you won’t be disappointed with this recipe. Mixing ground raw cauliflower with cheese, eggs, parsley and garlic creates a healthy pizza “dough.” While the batter won’t seem doughy at first, once it’s baked until crisp then covered with delicious toppings, your family may not notice the difference. For a pizza that eats like a salad, top your cauliflower crust with marinara sauce and veggies, such as diced bell peppers, olives and mushrooms. CALORIES PER SERVING: 194.

Related: See Full Recipe and Nutritional Details in MyPlate

5. Cauliflower Rice With Herbs
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5 CAULIFLOWER RICE WITH HERBS

For a low-carb, nutritious alternative to white rice, try “ricing” cauliflower instead. One cup of white rice contains about 170 calories and 37 grams of carbohydrates, but one cup of cooked, chopped cauliflower contains about 30 calories and only five grams of carbs. To make, chop fresh cauliflower in your food processor until you have small, fine pieces (like rice) and then saute in a pan. Maya Nahra, a registered dietitian and behavioral nutrition expert in Phoenix, Arizona, recommends combining this cauliflower “rice” with fresh cherry tomatoes and herbs like sweet basil and Italian parsley. “I’ll dress it simply with an unfiltered olive oil, fresh lemon juice and a touch of sea salt,” says Nahra, “then top it with fresh avocado slices.” Nahra calls the dish a “simple and magical combination” that keeps well in the refrigerator for a week. This rice base can be used with curried Indian dishes, stir-fries or even as a side to a meat entree and an additional vegetable. CALORIES PER SERVING: 67.

Related: See Full Recipe and Nutritional Details in MyPlate

6. Simple Cauliflower Mash
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6 SIMPLE CAULIFLOWER MASH

A cup of homemade mashed potatoes (with milk and margarine) contains about 240 calories and 36 grams of carbohydrates. In contrast, one cup of cooked cauliflower pieces contains about 30 calories and five grams of carbs. “Potatoes are nutritious, but if you’re seeking a lighter dish or adhering to a low-carb diet, mashed cauliflower is a prime choice,” says Tina Marinaccio, RD. To make, purée steamed cauliflower florets with garlic, olive oil or butter and salt and pepper to taste. You can use almost any herbs and spices for seasoning. Add chopped chives for color and spiciness or cinnamon, nutmeg and a touch of pure maple syrup or brown sugar for a sweeter option. If you want to have your potatoes and eat cauliflower too, make a mash using equal parts of both. CALORIES PER SERVING: 78.

Related: See Full Recipe and Nutritional Details in MyPlate

7. Curried Cauliflower
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7 CURRIED CAULIFLOWER

Incorporating curry into any dish adds rich flavor and health benefits. Common curry spices, including fenugreek, garlic, ginger and turmeric, have been shown to help lower cholesterol levels, according to a report published in Food and Function in 2013. If you’re new to curry spices, curry powder provides a simple seasoning option. One of the easiest ways to incorporate curry is to roast cauliflower with the spice. Combining curry with paprika, cumin and cayenne gives your cauliflower a rich, spicy flavor and adds beautiful color to the dish. CALORIES PER SERVING: 60.

Related: See Full Recipe and Nutritional Details in MyPlate

8. Garlic-Roasted Cauliflower
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8 GARLIC-ROASTED CAULIFLOWER

Garlic can add sumptuous flavor and health benefits to cauliflower dishes. As a rich source of natural substances called organosulfur compounds, garlic may help protect you from heart disease and certain forms of cancer, according to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University. Chopping or crushing garlic and allowing it to stand for 10 minutes before cooking can increase these benefits. Tina Marinaccio, a registered dietitian in Morristown, New Jersey, recommends roasting cauliflower topped with chopped garlic and drizzled with olive oil for about 20 minutes or until golden brown for a tasty side dish. “Even kids will gobble this up!” says Marinaccio. CALORIES PER SERVING: 45.

Related: See Full Recipe and Nutritional Details in MyPlate

9. Chickpea and Cauliflower Soup
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9 CHICKPEA AND CAULIFLOWER SOUP

One cup of canned chickpeas provides 10 grams of fiber and 10 grams of protein. Like cauliflower, chickpeas also provide valuable amounts of the essential minerals calcium and potassium. Pairing the two vegetables in a soup isn’t merely nutritious, but also delicious, says Tina Marinaccio, RD. To make, saute onions, garlic, curry powder, drained canned chickpeas and cauliflower, later adding vegetable broth and, as desired, salt. Top the soup with chopped scallions and cilantro for added flavor and visual appeal. The combination of protein and fiber will leave you satiated for hours. CALORIES PER SERVING: 156.

Related: See Full Recipe and Nutritional Details in MyPlate

What Do YOU Think?
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WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Do you enjoy cauliflower? Which cauliflower dish sounds the most delicious to you? What’s your favorite way to prepare the veggie? Leave us a comment below -- we love to hear from you!

Related: 14 Foods to Help You Get Lean

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