Is cauliflower the new kale, or just an old favorite rediscovered and reinvented? A member of the nutrition-packed, cruciferous cabbage family along with Brussels sprouts and broccoli, cauliflower is anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich, and may boost both heart and brain health. Eating cauliflower provides impressive amounts of vitamin C, vitamin K, beta-carotene, and much more while supporting healthy digestion and detoxification.
Cauliflower has indoles (sulfur compounds) that help to prevent cancer by neutralizing carcinogens. It also contains SOD (superoxide dismutase), an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that fights free-radical damage in your cells and keeps skin youthful-looking.
A great way to enjoy cauliflower is to bake it with olive oil, salt and pepper. I like to add turmeric (another anti-inflammatory) to give it an extra nutrition boost, and mix it up color-wise with white, green, purple and orange cauliflower. There’s a delicious recipe for Cauliflower Steaks with Herbed Goat Cheese from my latest cookbook, The Age Beautifully Cookbook that I’ve included below.
I also add cauliflower to my Tofu Vegetable Stir Fry, which provides plenty of health-boosting vegetables. In addition to the cauliflower and protein-packed tofu, it contains broccoli, a good source of lutein, which can help prevent macular degeneration. Both the cauliflower and the kale in the recipe have phytonutrients that protect against cancer. I like to use a wok to prepare this dish, but a large skillet will do. You can now enjoy cauliflower much of the year in some parts of the country, but it’s peak season is from September to June.
These cauliflower steaks can serve as a vegetarian main course or sit beautifully alongside grass-fed, grilled rib-eye or Porterhouse steaks. Piment d’Espelette is the French version of paprika. It’s mild and full-flavored. You can use paprika or red pepper flakes (1 tsp.) instead.
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 head cauliflower, sliced into 1-inch sections
1 Tbs. butter, cut into small pieces
1 tsp. piment d’Espelette, divided in half (or try turmeric for a variation)
Salt or salt substitute and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4–5 oz. herbed goat cheese spread
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Spread the olive oil in a large baking dish and lay the cauliflower slices in a single layer in the dish.
- Dot with the butter pieces and sprinkle with half of the seasonings.
- Roast at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.
- Turn the cauliflower over, sprinkle with the remaining seasonings, and roast another 20 minutes or until tender.
- Allow the cauliflower to cool slightly. Place on a serving tray and dot with the goat cheese.
Chef’s Note: While slicing the cauliflower, some of the slices will fall apart. That’s okay.
1 package (8 oz.) firm tofu
6 Tbs. peanut oil
1 Tbs. grated gingerroot
2 Tbs. minced garlic
1 cup baby carrots
1 cup snow peas
1 cup broccoli florets, cut or separated into bite-size pieces
1 cup cauliflower florets, cut or separated into bite-size pieces
3 cups chopped kale
2 chopped scallions
2 Tbs. oyster sauce combined with 2 Tbs. water
2 Tbs. cornstarch dissolved in ¼ cup cold water
- Drain the tofu and press between paper towels to remove excess water. Cut tofu into 1- to 11⁄4-inch cubes.
- Heat 4 Tbs. of the peanut oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tofu and fry until golden brown, about 2–3 minutes. Remove tofu from pan and keep warm.
- Add the remaining 2 Tbs. peanut oil to the pan and sauté the ginger and garlic over medium-high heat until lightly browned, about 2 minutes.
- Add the carrots, snow peas, broccoli, and cauliflower and cook until just tender but still crunchy, about 7–10 minutes.
- Add the kale and scallions and continue cooking until kale softens, about 4–5 minutes.
- Stir in the oyster sauce mixture and cornstarch mixture and cook until a thick sauce forms, about 2 minutes. (If using unfried tofu, add now and cook until heated through, about 2–3 minutes.)
- Remove vegetables from heat. Fold in tofu.