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Cauliflower Power

The low-carb option takes center stage

As vegetables go, cauliflower was once an ugly duckling that rarely made the menu except at Grandma’s house, but in the past few years it has seen a transformation of which even kale might be envious. Cauliflower has now become the hero of paleo dieters, carb avoiders, vegans and veggie proponents, not only as a vegetable to be sautéed, roasted and served as a tasty substitute for meat or those carb-laden favorites rice and potatoes, but it has also emerged in packaged foods with chameleon-like versatility as a go-to ingredient for everything from tater tots to pizza crust.

Interest in cauliflower has skyrocketed, with U.S farmers reporting sales of $390 million worth of cauliflower in 2016, up from $239 million in 2012.

Certainly, consumer interest in eating more vegetables and fewer carbs has contributed to cauliflower’s rise, but it also has a strong nutritional pedigree: It’s packed with protein, thiamin, magnesium, fiber, and potassium as well as folate, and vitamins K, B6, and C —one head of cauliflower has 125 mg of vitamin C, nearly twice as much as a medium orange.  It also has a fraction of the calories of white or brown rice and one-ninth the carbs. Along with all these nutrients, cauliflower is thought to promote liver and bladder health, anti-inflammation, immune health and may even lower the risk of cancer.

And you thought chickpeas were hot stuff!