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By Cheryl Forberg
Image of colorful cauliflower
If you’re looking for vegetable ideas to add to your Easter buffet, consider cauliflower. Its sweet and nutty flavor is now at its prime -- it’s in season, plentiful and affordable.

I usually recommend brightly colored fruits and vegetables due to the high concentration of antioxidants contained in their pigments. Cauliflower lacks the green chlorophyll found in other cruciferous veggies such as broccoli, cabbage and kale. That’s because cauliflower leaves shield the compact florets from the sun. While this process contributes to its familiar white coloring, cauliflower can also be found in light green, orange and purple colors. But even when the bright colors are absent, flavor is not, and the vitamins aren’t either. To receive the optimal health benefits from cauliflower, be sure to steam lightly to retain the most beneficial plant chemicals and to maximize their availability.

Tips for preparing cauliflower:
  • Though the florets are the part of cauliflower that most of us eat, the stem and leaves are edible too.
  • To prepare, remove the outermost cauliflower leaves and then slice each floret at the base where it meets the stalk -- trim away any brown spots
  • The beneficial plant chemicals that cauliflower contains will release sulfur compounds when heated.
  • The odor becomes stronger with increased cooking time. To minimize odor, retain a crispy texture and nutrient loss, cook the cauliflower briefly.
  • To minimize any discoloration, add a bit of lemon juice to the cooking water.
  • Be sure to add blanched cauliflower to your next crudités tray.
ORAC score
Cauliflower, raw 1⁄2 cup 324

Baby Cauliflower with Caramelized Onions and Toasted Almonds
Serves 4

2⁄3 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
1⁄4 cup balsamic vinegar
2⁄3 cup water
1 teaspoon Melissa’s Organic Agave Nectar
10 baby white cauliflower, cleaned and quartered (or 4 cups cauliflower florets (about 12 ounces)
1 tablespoon top-quality extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons lightly toasted almonds
1 tablespoon fresh lemon peel, grated

In a small saucepan, place the onion, vinegar, water, and agave. Bring to a boil and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes, or until the liquids have nearly evaporated. Watch carefully, stirring occasionally so the mixture doesn’t burn. Let cool. Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil. Blanch the cauliflower for 4 minutes, or until just al dente. Immediately transfer to a bowl of ice water. Drain well and transfer to a mixing bowl. Drizzle the oil over the cauliflower and toss lightly. Add the onions and toss again. Season to taste with the salt and pepper. Divide among four plates. Sprinkle with the almonds and lemon peel.

This veggie is an excellent source of vitamin C and K and folate. Its powerful antioxidants help prevent carcinogens from forming.

100 calories, 4 g protein, 14 g carbohydrates, 4 g total fat, < 1 g saturated fat, 3 g monounsaturated fat, 130 mg omega-3s, 3 g fiber, 7 g sugar, 323 mg sodium.
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