May 16 2016

Spicy Sautéed Cauliflower



Healthy Notions Spicy Sautéed Cauliflower


In George Mateljan’s book, *The World’s Healthiest Foods, I found the 5-Minute “Healthy Sautéed” Cauliflower recipe (page 201) intriguing because of the Mediterranean twist, so I decided to try this one as a side dish to a meat entree.

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To me, vegetables are usually boring with no personality.  I steam all my vegetables. When I read that sauteing them was a better process which provides more nutrition and taste, it made me even more interested in this recipe. I hardly ever cook cauliflower. I like it on occasion, and since I had some homemade turkey broth on hand, I used that in place of the low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth that the original recipe called for.  I also added some chopped red onion, more lemon juice, a generous sprinkle of dried cilantro, and sprinkles of cayenne pepper because I put cayenne on almost everything!

Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable which means it has chemical components in it which may protect you from cancer.

The other thing I learned about cauliflower is that by cutting it into small pieces and letting it sit for 5 – 10 minutes allows the cell walls to break down that bring out enzymatic activities which increase its phytonutrient activity. The squeezing of lemon (ascorbic acid) on the cauliflower during this time increases its phytonutrient concentrations and helps it to become resistant to low or medium cooking heat.

It is similar with garlic that by mincing or pressing it and letting it sit for 5 – 10 minutes it allows a phytonutrient called allicin to form which is garlic’s claim to fame and its main health promoting component. It also makes the allicin somewhat resistant to being destroyed by the heat of cooking.

Here is the way I did my recipe:

1 cauliflower head, cut into florets then dice florets into quarters
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
¼ chopped red onion
¼ cup turkey broth

Lemon and Oil Dressing:
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice of one lemon (I LOVE lemon juice!)
Generous shake of dried -or- a handful of chopped fresh cilantro

Sea salt and pepper to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste

I do not sauté vegetables very much, so this was a new way of cooking them for me.

  • First put cut up cauliflower florets in a bowl, squeeze some lemon on them and let them rest for 5-10 minutes.

  • Mince the garlic and let it sit for 5-10 minutes before cooking.

  • Bring the turkey broth to a steaming point and add cauliflower, cover and let steam for three minutes (use a timer).

  • After three minutes, add minced garlic and red onion for the final two minutes (use timer).

I was concerned that the garlic might overtake the dish, but it turned out very tasty without any heavy garlic taste. I tossed the cauliflower mixture with the lemon and oil dressing and served it.  I loved the al dente taste because it was half cooked and half crunchy.

This recipe was a success in my book and even my husband enjoyed it. Now he is interested in what other vegetables we will be cooking from The World’s Healthiest Foods book. So, that in itself is a good thing!

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*Visit The World’s Healthiest Foods for more recipes and information!

Note: Persons with thyroid issues may want to avoid cruciferous vegetables as they contain goitrogens which can aggravate some conditions.


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  1. Cassie

    Great info and recipe. Thank you so much!!

  2. rudy

    This looks like a great way to prepare broccoli or other similar vegetables. We all have to eat vegetables every day, so it makes sense to learn many ways to prepare them that make the enjoyable to eat.

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