Tips for healthy Living Featuring: Cauliflower

Cauliflower, the New Kale

Sharon Stewart, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Sharon Stewart, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

By: Sharon Stewart, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Move over, kale! A new starlet in the vegetable world is rising. Cauliflower is quickly earning the reputation as “the new kale,” thanks to its versatility and variety. Not only will you find your grandmother’s creamy white variety, but also pastel shades of lavender, orange, yellow and green.

First cultivated in western Asia along the Mediterranean some 2600 years ago, it’s now grown very successfully here in California ten months of the year, where our dry Mediterranean climate is very similar.

As for health benefits, cauliflower gets a gold star: it is naturally low in calories, high in fiber, an excellent source of vitamin C, and chock-full of phytonutrients. Like its cruciferous cousins, broccoli and cabbage, when cauliflower is broken down through cooking, eating, and digestion, anti-cancer compounds form. These compounds may help inactivate carcinogens, protect cells from DNA damage, and offer anti-inflammatory effects.

In recent years, there’s been a surge in recipes that use cauliflower in lieu of common starches like potatoes, rice and even wheat. Low-carb dieters will especially appreciate this approach, but whatever food plan you follow any opportunity to add more vegetables can go a long way toward overall health by keeping our calorie intake down and fiber intake up.

Here are some ways you can power up your nutrition while lowering your starch intake.

  • Pulse raw cauliflower florets in a food processor until they have broken down into small granules and voilà!
  • You have a base for tabouleh without couscous (a boon if you’re eating Paleo or gluten-free);
  • Stir-fry them with vegetables to make a fried rice-inspired dish;
  • Include them in burrito filling.

Love mashed potatoes but watching the starch? Try these cauliflower fauxtatoes:  Steam cauliflower until very tender. Drain, then put in a blender and puree with butter, milk, salt and pepper.. (You can also do this with a mix of potatoes and cauliflower if you like.)

And if you’d like a recipe where cauliflower is the star, try the one Carmelo suggests in this week’s newsletter, Sicilian-style Cauliflower and Pasta. If you try it, let us know what you think! Send us your comments to



Sharon Stewart is our latest and greatest Tips for Healthy Living writer. Sharon Stewart is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN). She offers personalized, one-on-one nutrition counseling in the Palo Alto area. She specializes in clients with obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and gastrointestinal disorders as well as nutrition check-ups for general well-being. She also works for Plus Health Management, providing nutrition counseling to the employees on the Facebook campus in Menlo Park.  Feel free to contact her over at Sharon Stewart, R.D. Nutrition Consulting.

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