Cauliflower And Its Versatility Within The Paleo Diet

November 22nd, 2016
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Matt Poteet, Pharm.D.

Cauliflower And Its Versatility Within The Paleo DietThere are chefs and cooks everywhere that have taken the much-maligned cauliflower out from underneath the cheese sauce and given it new life, new recipes and a whole new image!  Cauliflower rice, a wonderful alternative to regular rice for the Paleo Diet, as well as cauliflower pizza crust, (yes, you read that right!) for Paleo pizza lovers everywhere!  You can roast, bake, boil, mash, stew or even turn it into a hearty soup. Cauliflower is extremely versatile and takes on the flavors of whatever spice or sauce it is around. So many things you can do with it, where do I begin?

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Since I have already whetted your appetites with pizza, here is the easiest and most delicious way to make pizza dough without any grains and plenty of taste!

For the dough:

1 head of cauliflower, stalk removed

1l/2 cup shredded mozzarella

¼ cup grated Parmesan

½ teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

2 eggs, lightly beaten

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  • Break the cauliflower into florets and pulse in a food processor until fine.
  • Steam in a steamer basket and drain well (I like to put on a towel to get all the moisture out) Let cool.
  • In a bowl, combine the cauliflower with the remaining ingredients until well mixed.
  • Transfer to the center of the baking sheet and spread into a circle, resembling a pizza crust.
  • Bake for 20 minutes. Add desired toppings and bake for an additional 10 minutesDividers and borders

Curried Cauliflower Soup

I do recall mentioning soup. And this one is a curried soup. I love curry. Give me a good curry and I will follow you anywhere. This one is mild. But it doesn’t have to be….

Ingredients:

1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets

2 tablespoon olive oil (yes, it’s Paleo)

1 medium to large onion, chopped

3 cups chicken stock, low sodium

½ teaspoon coriander

½ teaspoon turmeric

1 ½ teaspoon cumin

1 cup full fat coconut milk

¼ cup roasted cashews

2Tbln parsley, finely chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spread cauliflower and onion in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  • Drizzle with olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste. Roast for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown, stirring once.
  • Place the cauliflower and onions into a large pot, add the chicken stock and the spices with a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and let boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • With an immersion blender, puree the ingredients in the pot until smooth. If you have no immersion blender, carefully transfer to a stand-up blender to puree.
  • Stir in the coconut milk and return to the stove to warm soup. Adjust the seasonings to taste. Serve with roasted cashews and parsley as garnish.

This recipe can be made into your own by adding other vegetables, such as sweet potatoes or carrots. Even parsnips or any other interesting root vegetable. This is a great soup for a cold winter evening!Dividers and borders

Roasted Cauliflower with Dates and Pine Nuts

This is an excellent side dish, or stand alone snack or light lunch. It complements any meat dish, even meatloaf!

Ingredients:

1 large head of cauliflower, broken into small florets

4 tablespoon coconut oil

1/3 cup pine nuts

1 clove garlic, minced

½ cup Medjool dates, pitted and coarsely chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Evenly spread cauliflower on a parchment covered baking sheet and season with salt and pepper.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, tossing once after 10 minutes to assure even baking. The cauliflower should have golden brown edges.
  • Add coconut oil to small skillet, add the pine nuts, stirring frequently, until they are light golden brown, about 5 minutes.
  • Add garlic and dates, cook for another 2-3 minutes until they are softened. Add salt to taste.
  • Transfer hot cauliflower to a serving bowl and drizzle the pine nut and date mixture over the top and toss to combine. Adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Can be served warm or at room temperature.

Of course, you know me; I can’t leave any recipe alone. I like to add nutmeg, or allspice for a more Mediterranean taste, or Chinese five spice or oyster sauce for an Asian twist. Ginger is good as well. Play with it and see what kinds of variations you can come up with.Dividers and borders

Healthy Cauliflower Rice

This is a great alternative to regular rice, it not being specifically on the Paleo Diet*. Use it for your stir-fry dishes, as a side dish to broccoli beef or as a potato alternative, to add a bit of variety to your meal.

Ingredients:

1 large head of cauliflower, separated into 1” florets

3 tablespoon coconut oil

1 medium onion, finely diced

1 teaspoon salt

For the Garnish:

2 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley

Juice of ½ lemon

Instructions:

  • Trim as much of the stem as possible off the florets
  • In the food processor break up the florets until they resemble couscous. You may have to do up to three batches.
  • Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and stir to coat. Continue cooking, stirring frequently until onions are golden brown and soft. Approx 8 minutes.
  • Add the cauliflower and stir to combine. Add the salt and continue cooking until the cauliflower has softened, approx 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • Spoon cauliflower into a serving bowl, add parsley, sprinkle with lemon juice and add salt to taste**. Serve warm.

When I make rice, I use chicken bouillon to add flavor. Here you can use a bit of chicken or beef bouillon instead of the coconut oil to give it a heartier flavor. Just use less oil, because it will only be for the onions and replace the rest of the oil with the bouillon. Again, play with it to make it your own.Dividers and borders

Tips For Cooking Cauliflower For Paleo Diets

*White rice is allowed in the Paleo diet if you need more carbohydrates. But there are no nutrients in the white rice, unless added later. Brown rice, because the hull is left in place, is considered a grain because the hull has toxins in it just like the other grains.

**If you are using the cauliflower rice for an Asian dish, leave out the parsley and lemon juice, as they will detract from the meat and sauce.

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About Matt Poteet, Pharm.D.

Matt Poteet graduated with a B.S. in Biological Science from Lee University in 1998, and a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Mercer University in Atlanta in 2004. Professionally he has been fortunate to hold positions on staff at two of the leading private, academic teaching hospitals in the southeast; Emory University in Atlanta and Vanderbilt University in Nashville.