April and May brings about one of my all time favourite seasonal vegetables – the cauliflower. Now I know it’s probably not one of the first vegetables that spring to mind when we think about choosing our favourite, but bear with me because this little cruciferous vegetable is one of the most versatile vegetables to cook with and no………….
I don’t just mean blitzing it up to form ‘cauli rice’.
Cauliflower can be eaten raw, steamed, blended in a soup, mashed, roasted whole for a vegetarian Sunday Roast or added as a main ingredient for the tastiest vegan curry. Plus; If you haven’t yet tried cauliflower buffalo wings – you’re missing a trick.
It’s also insanely good for us.
Nutritional benefits of cauliflower
An 80g (raw) portion contains approximately:
24 kcal/02 KJ
45mg vitamin C
Why is cauliflower so good for us?
Cauliflower is high in choline which is an essential nutrient that is beneficial to our mood and memory. It’s also one of the essential nutrients that we need during pregnancy and more often than not it is sadly neglected.
The importance of choline has even been compared with the same scale of importance as folate. The two work in conjunction to prevent neural tube defects and it is crucial during pregnancy and in the run up to pregnancy.
Shockingly the human requirement for dietary choline was only officially recognised in 1998. With the establishment of adequate intake recommendations by the Food and Nutrition Board of the US Institute of Medicine.
The demand for choline is increased in pregnant and lactating women, as well as postmenopausal women and it plays an integral role in the brain development of our growing baby. Recommended guidelines state that pregnant women need 550mg a day of choline for optimal health during pregnancy.
Cauliflower is a great source of antioxidants and supports our immune system
It contains sulforphane; which is a plant compound that reduces the damage caused by inflammation due to oxidative stress. This stress can often play a part in the development of heart disease. Adding cauliflower to our diet on a regular basis is a great way to ensure our hearts remains healthy.
Cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower are also a great source of sulfur which can aid in gut health and our immune system. We need sulfur as it protects our cells from damage that can lead to serious diseases such as cancers. It also enables the body to metabolise food.
Plus for any mum’s to be that are struggling with digestive issues it is a great source of dietary fibre, supporting the digestive process and helping the body to ward off the bad bacterial, and in turn fuelling the gut healthy bacteria that resides in our gastro tract..
SPICY CAULIFLOWER & CHICKPEA RICE BOWL
- 1 medium cauliflower broken into florets
- 14 oz. 400g can chickpeas, drained
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 3 cups cooked rice
- For the sauce:
- 2 tbsp. sriracha
- 2 tbsp. tamari
- 1 tbsp. maple syrup
- 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp. fresh ginger minced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tsp. sesame oil
- 2 green onions chopped
- ¼ cup 30g peanuts, chopped
- Preheat oven to 230°C (450°F) and prepare a baking dish or tray.
- Break the cauliflower into bite-size florets and place them on the tray along with drained chickpeas. Drizzle with olive oil and season to taste with sea salt and pepper—bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
- In the meantime, prepare the sauce by mixing all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl.
- Once cauliflower and chickpeas are roasted, remove from oven and mix with the earlier prepared sauce.
- Increase the oven temperature to broil, return the tray into the oven and cook for about another 5 minutes.
- Remove from the oven divide between bowls and serve with a portion of rice.