Watching your carbs? This filling, nutrient-rich vegetable will satisfy your craving for something starchy—so eat up.
Taylor Selcke 1 / 6
<p>Poor cauliflower. It sometimes gets a bad rap—one it definitely doesn’t deserve.</p>
<p>See, its lackluster color leads you to believe that it’s not as healthy as it’s deep green look-alike (yes, we’re talking <a href="http://www.mensfitness.com/nutrition/what-to-eat/fit-food-the-benefits-o...). But in reality, it packs a pretty solid punch, nutrion-wise. Just take a look at these stats:</p>
<li>It’s full of <a href="http://www.mensfitness.com/nutrition/what-to-eat/foods-with-vitamin-c-5-... C</a>, a proven antioxidant that boosts immunity and protects against cancer.</li>
<li>It’s also an excellent, low-calorie source of <a href="http://www.mensfitness.com/nutrition/what-to-eat/foods-with-potassium">p..., says New York City nutritionist Stephanie Middleberg, R.D. (Case in point: One cup of the chopped raw vegetable has only 27 calories, as compared to a banana, which has 105.)</li>
<li>It’s rich in the mineral boron, which is said to be an aid in building muscle and increasing testosterone levels.</li>
<p>While you don’t have to eat cauliflower every day, you should try to work it into your vegetable rotation once a week. How, you ask? Here are five simple recipes to get you started.</p>
1. Mashed Cauliflower
<p>Do you wish there was a <a href="http://www.mensfitness.com/nutrition/what-to-eat/recipe-for-leaner-mashe... alternative to mashed potatoes</a>? Well, your prayers have been answered. Smashed cauliflower is just as creamy and delicious—with way fewer carbs. Simply trim a head of cauliflower into small florets, then boil it in a pot of salted water for about 10 minutes, or until tender. Save ¼ cup of the water, then drain the cauliflower before throwing it into a food processor. Next, add 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and the reserved water; puree until smooth. (Don't worry if you don't have a food processor. You can still make this recipe the old-fashioned way—that is, using potato masher.)</p>
2. Crudites and Dip
Football playoffs are in full swing, but eating nachos and drinking beer week after week can damage your diet. So this weekend, opt for an oldie but goodie: the crudités platter, including a sizable portion of cauliflower. Serve it up with hummus, or make your own low-fat dip. Simply combine French onion mix with 2% Greek yogurt instead of sour cream. (No one will be able to tell the difference—we promise.)
3. Roasted Cauliflower
If cauliflower is new to your diet and you’re not quite ready to eat it raw, try it baked. Start by cutting a head of cauliflower into florets, then spread them in a single layer inside an oven-safe dish. Drizzle with olive oil and toss in some garlic, salt, and pepper. Bake for 25-30 minutes at 400 degrees...then eat up. (We <em>swear</em> it melts in your mouth.)
4. Cauliflower Rice
This grain-free alternative to white rice is perfect in a stir-fry or burrito. To make, heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat while dicing an onion; then, toss onion into to pan and sauté for 10 minutes, until soft. Add 1 cup of finely diced celery and sauté for 5 more minutes, then place 1 head of cauliflower, trimmed and coarsely chopped, into a food processor. Pulse until it’s the consistency of rice. Toss the cauliflower into the skillet, cover, and cook for five to 10 minutes. Flavor with salt.
5. Cauliflower Soup
Tired of chicken noodle? Try cauliflower soup if you’re craving something creamier—but just as comforting. To start, cook 1 chopped onion in a large soup pot with oil for 5 minutes. Add 2 cloves of chopped garlic and 2 teaspoons each of finely chopped ginger, curry powder, and ground cumin seeds; stir the mixture for 30 seconds to a minute. Add 1 head of coarsely chopped cauliflower, 1 peeled and diced potato, 2 quarts of vegetable or chicken broth, and salt to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Puree in a blender until smooth and garnish with cilantro.