White foods, such as white rice and pasta, have become a villain in recent years, getting a bad rap when compared to brown rice and 100-percent whole grain or whole wheat pasta.
But that doesn't mean you can never eat white foods. There are several healthy types of white foods, including beans, onions, garlic (my favorite), leeks, turnips, celeriac, fennel, jicama, parsnips, mushrooms, Jerusalem artichokes, kohlrabi, white asparagus, white corn and this column’s featured ingredient—cauliflower.
Cauliflower and Skin Health
Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable containing both soluble and insoluble forms of fiber. It’s also an excellent source of alpha-linolenic acid and vitamins C and K. Higher intakes of vitamin C and linoleic acid, combined with lower intakes of fats and carbohydrates, are linked to a lower likelihood of wrinkles and dry skin, according to a 2007 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
This Cauliflower Gold recipe builds on those beauty benefits, providing a powerhouse of nutrients. Aside from the cauliflower, the turmeric is a famed wonder spice commonly found in Indian kitchens that is renowned for its antiseptic and inflammatory properties.
The tomato paste provides excellent amounts of vitamins A and C, good amounts of vitamins E and K and is a great source of lycopene, which may reduce the risks of cancer, heart disease and cardiovascular disease. The walnuts provide another great source of alpha linolenic acid, with one ounce of nuts containing 2.5 grams along with 25 percent of the daily value of copper, 125 milligrams of potassium, 4 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber, 44 milligrams of magnesium and 98 milligrams of phosphorus, as well as the antioxidants selenium, melatonin and gammatocopherol.
The cumin, chili powder and cayenne may help reduce inflammation and stimulate stomach secretions, aiding digestion.
Good for You—and Great Tasting
This recipe is one of the best tasting cauliflower preparations. Not only is it good for you, it tastes delicious. When preparing, make sure you cut the cauliflower into similarly-sized bite-size pieces so they will cook and caramelize evenly. Do not overcook the cauliflower.
Toast the walnuts (no higher then 275°F to preserve omega-3 fatty acids) and briefly toast the spices so the flavor is enhanced, but don’t brown the spices too much or they will have a burnt flavor. Also, make sure to reduce the sauce to glaze the cauliflower and allow the cauliflower to cool on a flat pan before putting it into a bowl to keep the hot cauliflower from sweating and diluting that wonderful sauce.
First, read these instructions and have all ingredients ready—so have one head of cauliflower cut into same-size, bite-size pieces, the walnuts toasted and coarsely ground and the vegetable stock and tomato paste pre-measured before you begin. (This is referred to as your mise en place.) In a small bowl, combine the following ingredients: ½ teaspoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, ½ teaspoon turmeric, 1 tablespoon garam masala, a pinch of cayenne pepper. Set aside.
In a large skillet, add 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, turn on medium high heat to get the pan hot. Add the cut-up cauliflower, toss well and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons kosher salt. When pan becomes hot, turn heat down to medium and lightly brown cauliflower until golden brown while agitating frequently (takes about 15 to 18 minutes). Remove and set aside.
To the hot pan, add spices. Lightly toast in pan for about 10 seconds, and then add 1 ½ cups vegetable stock to prevent spices from over-toasting. Add 3 tablespoons tomato paste and mix well. Add cauliflower, toss and sauté 2 minutes. Add ½ cup coarsely ground toasted walnuts, mix well, remove and spread on a flat pan. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, place in a bowl and serve.
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