Cauliflower season is here

Heads of cauliflower (Provided photo — Yvona Fast)

It’s September, and I bought two large heads of cauliflower — one white, one purple. There were also yellow and light green varieties to choose from.

Today, cauliflower has become a substitute for potatoes, pizza crust and rice. But this vegetable is popular in Mediterranean cuisine and has been used for millennia in both Asian and European cuisines.

Because of its neutral flavor, it goes well with many foods. It is popular in Indian curries like Aloo Gobi, Eastern European soups and stews, and numerous Italian dishes. It is used raw in salads, cooked in stir-fries and baked in casseroles.

A cruciferous vegetable, cauliflower is low in calories and high in fiber. It contains the vitamins A, C and K plus folate and many B-complex vitamins. It has 18 amino acids, Omega-3 fatty acid, and the minerals potassium, calcium, copper, iron, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, selenium and zinc.

Like other crucifers, it helps to prevent cancer. Compounds in cauliflower prompt the liver to produce enzymes that detoxify cancer-causing chemicals and interfere with the replication of cancer cells. Glucoraphin, a glucosinolate found in cauliflower, can help protect the stomach lining and so aids the digestive system. The orange variety also contains beta carotene, while purple cauliflowers are rich in anthocyanins, phytochemicls found in red cabbage and red wine that have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, heart-healthy, anti-aging and anti-carcinogenic properties.

This versatile veggie is good raw in salads as well as cooked. It can be sauteed, roasted, broiled, grilled, steamed or cut into steaks and barbecued. It can be a side dish or a main course. It mixes well with other vegetables as well as herbs and seasonings.

When shopping for cauliflower, look for firm, tight, heavy heads surrounded by fresh, green leaves. A cauliflower should have a faint cabbage scent, but if the smell is strong, it’s old. An overripe cauliflower will also have yellow spots or blotches, while brown spots indicate bruising. Store unwrapped in the vegetable crisper.

The heads average about six inches across and weigh between two and three pounds; this makes five or six servings.

Here are a couple recipes that use cauliflower in different ways.

Cauliflower Potato and Sausage Skillet


1 teaspoon olive oil

1/4 pound sweet Italian sausage

1 red or yellow onion (about 1 cup diced)

4 cups cauliflower florets (I used white and purple)

Baby potatoes (I used pink) (about 1 cup sliced)

Several carrots (about 1 cup diced)

1 cup broth

1 or 2 Tablespoons shredded cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

2 Tablespoons fresh minced parsley


Coat large skillet with oil. Crumble and brown the sausage. Add the veggies, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook about 5 minutes. Add broth and cook until everything is tender. Stir in the cheese. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with fresh parsley. Serves 3.

Polish Chicken and Cauliflower Soup


For the broth:

6 cups water

1 chicken thigh, with bone

1 teaspoon salt

Few grains allspice

1 bay leaf

1 or 2 carrots

1 small parsnip

Piece of leek

Piece of celery root or 1 stalk celery, cut up

1 small head cauliflower (or 1/2 large) or about 6 cups florets

Egg drop noodles:

1 egg

1 Tablespoon flour

Few drops milk or water (if needed)

For the garnish:

1 cup fresh minced parsley

1/4 cup sour cream


For the broth:

Place water, chicken thigh, salt, allspice and bay leaf in soup kettle. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer.

While the above is cooking, prepare the vegetables (carrot, parsnip, leek, celery) and add.

Simmer 30 – 40 minutes.

Add cauliflower, and simmer 20 – 30 minutes longer.

Remove from heat and cool slightly.

Dice vegetables and cauliflower; remove meat from bones and cut up; remove allspice and bay leaf (if you can find them). Taste, and add more salt if needed.

Return vegetables and meat to pot. Mash coarsely with potato masher.

Make egg drop noodles:

In a large mug, beat 1 egg with 1 Tablespoon flour. It should be a very thick liquid — still pourable — the consistency of pancake dough or honey or sour cream.

Return the soup to a rolling boil. Pour the dough from the mug in a thin stream into the boiling soup. Cover, reduce heat to simmer for a few minutes, then turn off heat.


Garnish each serving with fresh chopped parsley and a little sour cream.

Serves 4.

Note: For a quick soup, omit chicken and use prepared chicken broth; add vegetables and cauliflower and cook until tender.

— — —

Author of the award-winning cookbook “Garden Gourmet: Fresh & Fabulous Meals from your Garden, CSA or Farmers’ Market,” Yvona Fast lives in Lake Clear and has two passions: Writing and cooking. She can be found at www.yvonafast.com and reached at yvonawrite@yahoo.com or on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter: @yvonawrites.


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