(Natural News) Cauliflower may be a plain-looking vegetable, but what it lacks in looks and color it makes up for in nutrients and health benefits. This superfood is a great source of vitamin C, and it can be used to make a delicious, spicy dish called Kung Pao cauliflower!
Cauliflower is a nutrient-rich cruciferous vegetable
A one-cup serving of raw cauliflower provides the following vitamins and minerals:
- Choline, about 10 percent of the daily goal – Choline is essential for learning, memory, muscle movement and sleep.
- Vitamin C, more than 75 percent of the daily minimum target – Vitamin C boosts your immune health, and it has a role in DNA repair. The vitamin is also needed for the production of collagen and serotonin, which promotes happiness and healthy sleep.
- Vitamin K, 20 percent of the daily target – Vitamin K has a role in bone formation. Vitamin D deficiency may increase fracture risk.
Cauliflower is also a natural source of other essential nutrients like B vitamins, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and potassium. (Related: From heart health to cancer prevention: 6 Science-backed health benefits of cauliflower.)
Cauliflower is full of dietary fiber
A medium head of cauliflower contains about 12 g of fiber that boosts your digestive health and keeps you regular. Dietary fiber also feeds the “good” bacteria in your gut that affect your mood and immune health.
Cauliflower promotes weight loss
Eating cauliflower can help you maintain a healthy weight because this superfood is full of fiber that makes you feel full longer. Fiber from the veggie also helps regulate both your blood sugar and insulin levels.
A one-cup serving of raw cauliflower contains 3.5 oz of water, which helps boost a feeling of fullness. Replacing rice with cauliflower will reduce your intake of calories and carbs, but without leaving you hungry for more.
A three-quarter cup serving of riced cauliflower contains 25 calories and one gram of net carbs, or three grams total and two grams as fiber. However, the same serving of cooked white rice contains 150 calories and 30 g of carbs, making cauliflower the healthier choice if you’re watching your carb intake.
Kung Pao cauliflower recipe
This recipe for Kung Pao cauliflower is from Molly Krebs’ book “Eat More Plants” and it makes the fiber-rich superfood shine by pairing it with a sweet glaze that is healthier than similar dishes from most Chinese restaurants.
The recipe below uses agave nectar instead of sugar, and the dish gets a natural flavor boost from garlic, ginger and hoisin sauce.
Ingredients for 2–3 servings:
- 1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into florets
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped (15 g)
- 1/4 cup roasted, salted peanuts, coarsely chopped (38 g)
- 2 Tbsp agave nectar (30 ml)
- 2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar (30 ml)
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce (30 ml)
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil (30 ml)
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch (9 g)
- 1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger (3 g)
- 1 Tbsp hoisin sauce (15 ml)
- 1 Tbsp sesame seeds (10 g)
- 2 tsp chili-garlic sauce (10 ml)
- 2 tsp sesame oil (10 ml)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- A pinch of red pepper flakes
- Black pepper, as needed
- Salt, as needed
- Get a medium bowl then whisk the vinegar, soy sauce, agave, hoisin sauce, ginger, cornstarch, sesame oil, chili-garlic sauce, garlic and red pepper flakes together until combined. Set the mixture aside.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, then add the cauliflower in an even layer. Season the cauliflower with a pinch of salt and a pinch of black pepper. Sear the cauliflower and leave it undisturbed for 2–3 minutes, or until it is golden brown.
- Flip the cauliflower and sear it again for 2–3 minutes, or until it’s golden brown on the other side.
- Add the sauce mixture, then reduce the heat to medium.
- Toss the cauliflower in the sauce. Make sure it’s evenly coated then saute for 3–4 minutes, or until the sauce thickens and the cauliflower is tender.
- Add the sesame seeds, scallions, peanuts and cilantro. Stir to combine.
- Season to taste with more salt and black pepper, if desired, before serving.
Boost your fiber and vitamin C intake by eating more cauliflower, a nutrient-dense superfood that also helps promote weight loss.