Cauliflower is having its moment in the sun – it’s the summer food trend that everyone’s talking about. Step aside cauli cheese and the few boiled florets accompanying your Sunday roast. Using it as a healthy ‘carb’ to replace pasta, rice or grains is now in vogue.
At Healthy Food Guide, we’re not into fad diets, but there are some food fashions that are tasty, healthy and make good sense. Cooking cauliflower to make ‘rice’ is one of them.
Our nutritionists give cauliflower the thumbs-up because it’s low in calories (34 per 100g), but high in fibre (2g per 100g). It provides a potassium boost (a mineral that helps keep blood pressure down), it’s got useful amounts of B vitamin folate (crucial for women of child-bearing age as it helps prevent birth defects), beta-carotene (an antioxidant used by the body to make vitamin A, needed for healthy skin and eyes) and lutein (which protects sight).
Here’s how I made it…
The prep bit
Take one cauliflower, peel the leaves off and chop the woody stump off the stalk. Cut the cauliflower in half. Using the coarse side of a grater, grate the cauliflower – watch your fingers – so that it resembles rice. Chop any leftover larger bits with a knife.
For ultimate convenience, you could cook the grated cauliflower in the microwave with a splash of water. For more flavour, lightly fry it (that’s what I did). Heat a drizzle of olive/rapeseed oil in a non-stick frying pan, add half a teaspoon of cumin seeds and toast until fragrant, then add 1 small chopped garlic clove and stir in the cauliflower. Cook on a medium to high heat for 3–5 min, stirring. Add 1tsp turmeric, half a teaspoon of garam masala and stir through roughly chopped coriander.
How did I rate it?
Highly! It makes a healthy and substantial change from rice and can be served with a variety of dishes – tagines, curries, salads… On this occasion, I added Indian spices to flavour my cauliflower and served it with a turkey curry. It doesn’t require any fancy gadgets, either – just a grater!
The down side…
It does require more effort than simply popping a pan of water on to boil rice/pasta/potatoes, and you do end up with little bits of cauliflower dotted around the kitchen. A small price to pay.