5 Healthy Reasons to Crave More Cauliflower—Plus Flavor-Packed Recipes for Any Night of the Week

As if we didn’t love cauliflower enough already.

Cauliflower benefits: Raw cauliflower on the table of the kitchen
Photo: Angel Simon/Getty Images

The goodness of cauliflower goes beyond its ability to become almost anything you can imagine in the kitchen—a crust, a "wing", a rice, a mash, and the list goes on. Cauliflower's mild flavor, satisfying texture, and chameleon-like versatility makes it not only a hearty and nutritious add-in as is, but also an inventive and savvy swap for gluten-free, plant-based, and refined-carb-conscious eaters.

"Cauliflower is grown seasonally in many climates and locations, so it's easy to find and budget-friendly—and you can also grow it yourself quite easily," says Sharon Palmer, MSFS, RDN. "It comes in different colors, like pink, orange, purple, and green."

And in terms of nutritional value, although bright and colorful veggies typically get all the attention, don't let cauliflower's (often) pale complexion fool you: This member of the cruciferous family is loaded with nutritional benefits, too.

Cauliflower Benefits

Cauliflower is fiber-rich.

Recent research estimates that 95% of Americans don't get enough fiber in their diets (yikes!). Fiber helps keep you feeling full and satisfied, maintains healthy digestion, and regulates blood sugar levels, and meeting your daily requirements can also reduce cholesterol and blood pressure. Specifically, cauliflower is a good source of insoluble fiber, which helps keep things moving in your digestive system.

Cauliflower contains vitamins for immunity, blood clotting, bone health, and more.

One cup of cauliflower provides over 75 percent of the daily value of vitamin C, which means your immune system, metabolism, and nervous system get the boost they need. It also contains 20 percent of the daily value of vitamin K that's essential for bone formation and blood clotting. A cup of cauliflower also has impressive amounts of vitamin B6, folate, and potassium.

Cauliflower has antioxidant power to fight inflammation.

The veggie's anti-inflammatory compounds help the body reduce free radicals and lower oxidative stress that increase the risk for chronic diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer, Palmer says. Eating foods high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents as part of a healthy diet, like cauliflower, can help prevent and mitigate chronic inflammation and protect your cells.

Cauliflower is a source of choline.

A cup of cauliflower contains around 45 milligrams of choline, around 10 percent of the daily adequate intake for women. Our bodies need this essential nutrient for several key functions, including fortifying cell membranes, DNA synthesis, brain development, and nervous system maintenance. But since the body only makes a small amount of choline on its own, high-choline food sources are important.

Cauliflower may protect against cancer.

With antioxidant compounds and the benefits of sulfur, cauliflower could help reduce your risk of cancer. Cruciferous vegetables are associated with reduced risk of colorectal, lung, prostate, and breast cancer. This is because the glucosinolates help to fight oxidative stress caused by free radicals.

Cauliflower Ideas and Recipes

Some of Palmer's favorite ways to cook and enjoy cauliflower include: "roasted or grilled with a flavorful marinade as a side-dish or a topper for a grain bowl, tacos, or salad; in a flavorful buffalo cauliflower recipe; and raw in crunchy salads." Keep going for more recipes packed with cauliflower (and its many nutritious benefits!).

Grilled Cauliflower Steaks With Romesco and Manchego Recipe
Victor Protasio

Grilled Cauliflower Steaks With Romesco and Manchego

Hearty, lightly charred cauliflower steaks are the perfect vehicle for savoring this flavorful Spanish-inspired romesco sauce. Get the recipe.

For this recipe for buffalo cauliflower with yogurt ranch, Cauliflower florets are roasted for a healthier take on the bar snack favorite, and then tossed with a buffalo sauce spiked with just a touch of butter.
Victor Protasio

Buffalo Cauliflower With Yogurt Ranch

This is everyone's favorite game-day popper, reimagined using cauliflower and tangy Greek yogurt. Who says bar snacks have to be bad for you? Get the recipe.

Creamy Cauliflower Rice with Shrimp on a white plate with a purple cloth napkin
Caitlin Bensel

Creamy Cauliflower Rice With Shrimp

Need dinner party or date night dish inspiration? Impress anyone at the table with a bowl of creamy cauliflower rice topped with gorgeous shrimp and greens. Get the recipe.

whole roasted cauliflower with grapes and feta
Greg Dupree

Whole Roasted Cauliflower With Grapes and Feta

Here's another delicious way to make vegetables the main attraction. Boil a whole head of cauliflower before placing it on a baking sheet and roasting alongside salty feta cheese and sweet grapes. You'll finish it with the subtle punch of almost-pickled shallots and fresh oregano to tie all the flavors together. Get the recipe.

Pasta with Bacon and Caramelized Cauliflower
Greg DuPree

Pasta With Bacon and Caramelized Cauliflower

For this pasta entree, you'll cook the cauliflower florets in leftover bacon drippings for deep color and even deeper flavor. Get the recipe.

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