Cauliflower: Cabbage with a college education!
So says a paraphrased quote from Mark Twain. I don’t know anything about his culinary credentials, but his analogy was apt. With a bit of “learning” cauliflower can “graduate” into a variety of not only good, but good for you, dishes.
Ashley Cobb is a dietician in Summerville Medical Center’s Nutrition Therapy Department who teaches heart-smart recipes to cardiac rehab patients. She agrees that this ancient vegetable, which was first cultivated over 2,000 years ago, is one of the most versatile. It can substitute, with a lower carb count, for both rice and potatoes. Cauliflower is an excellent source of Vitamin C; Folate, one of the B Vitamins; and dietary fiber. It can also be converted into other delectables such as bread sticks and pizza crust. And Ashley has some delightful recipe suggestions to prove it.
For CAULIFLOWER RICE, chop cauliflower florets and place in food processor. Pulse until the cauliflower is in tiny bits – don’t let it turn to mush. Sauté on the stove top with a teaspoon or two of olive oil or nonstick cooking spray. You can make an especially good stir-fry with this rice, plus chicken, vegetables and Mrs. Dash’s Salt Free Spicy Teriyaki Marinade.
For MASHED CAULIFLOWER, chop cauliflower into florets, steam in microwave or boil on stove top until fork tender. Drain off water and puree in a food processor. Add 1-2 minced garlic cloves, and a small amount of milk or plain Greek yogurt for smoothness and creaminess. You can use as is for a mashed potato substitute or use half potato and half cauliflower.
And now for CAULIFLOWER BREAD STICKS AND/OR PIZZA CRUST. This recipe should make enough bread sticks for two or one single pizza crust. Try it and if you like it as much as I think you will, multiply it to meet your needs. Preheat oven to 350F and line a tray with parchment paper or spray it with cooking spray.
¼ of a large head of cauliflower or 1½ cups grated
1 teaspoon olive oil
` 2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large egg, lightly beaten (or equivalent egg substitute)
4 ounces grated Mozzarella cheese, divided
½ teaspoon dried Italian herb seasoning, divided
Grate cauliflower and put in microwave-safe bowl and microwave uncovered until softened, about 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally (don’t add water or anything else); cool slightly. When softened add garlic, ¾ of the cheese, ¼ teaspoon of the herb seasoning and pepper. Stir to combine and spread on a sheet pan. Bake until set and starting to turn golden, about 30 minutes. For sticks, cut and separate. Top with remaining cheese and herbs Preheat broiler and broil until cheese melts. Cool about 10 minutes. For pizza, Ashley uses cooked chicken strips, fresh spinach and fresh tomatoes as her basic toppings, along with pizza sauce, cheese, Italian herbs and pepper. Broil 2-3 minutes.
She reminds us that to cook heart-healthy, think portion sizes, salt free seasonings and low fat cheese. Ashley also suggests cooking other vegetables in a variety of different ways. Now is the perfect season to try them fresh and experiment with roasting, lightly glazed with olive oil and seasonings or grilling outdoors. How about veggie shish ka-bobs?
Remember her mantra: If it’s good for your heart, it’s good for your whole body.