Tuesday, March 10, 2009


My kids love cauliflower! Bet you can't say that. Maybe you can, maybe you understand the smile that starts in your toes and draws to both sides of your face when your child asks for a fruit or a vegetable or something as unhip as cauliflower.

I admit it; I was a cauli-hater. I saw no real redeeming value in that white (so I figured tasted bad AND not high in antioxidants) cabbage-like vegetable. That was until I roasted it one day and the bowl hardly made it to the table as we all tasted and tasted and tasted. That's still our favorite and easiest way to prepare cauliflower. The kids LOVE it. I love it. Even the Husband loves it. I bet the dog would too if he ever got any but we clean the bowl. Now I buy and make two at a time to keep up with our ravenous cauli-tite.

Like Broccoli, Cauliflower is a cruciferous super-vegetable that helps ward off and fight certain cancers. Only cruciferous vegetables are rich in the nutrients isothiocyanates, sulforaphane, and indole-3-carbinol, all linked with reducing the risk of breast, prostate, cervical, lung, and other cancers. Cruciferous vegetables boost the immune system, support cardiovascular health, build bones, fight cardiovascular disease, fight age-related macular degeneration, and help fight against birth defects. We should all make them a part of our healthful delicious diet.

Be on the lookout when YELLOW or ORANGE and PURPLE Cauliflower is available. Broccoflower and Romanesco Cauliflower, that's the one that looks like a lime-colored crown, are also fun and different. We love to try new vegetables and in new ways but hey, when you find something you love, like roasted cauliflower, well we make that all the time.

Roasted Cauliflower Power

Preheat oven to 425F
Chop up the cauliflower into sort of even size pieces so they cook the same
Drizzle on some olive oil and toss it around to coat it. Sprinkle on some sea or grey salt.
Lay on a cookie sheet. Do not crowd it. This is important, if you crowd it, it will steam, not the delicious goodness you are looking for so don't crowd it.
Roast 15-20 minutes, maybe more depending upon the size of your pieces, until it browns and caramelizes at the tips and tops and is tender. (Fork it to be sure, you don't want it tough or chewy, should be tender and soft and delicious!) Enjoy hot out of the oven - I dare you to get it to the table without a massive dent in the bowl.

Will make a cauli-lover out of any cauli-hater, takes one to have known one.

Roasting vegetables this way can actually make any vegetable more delicious as it caramelizes it. You can chop KALE and do the same thing (again, be careful not to crowd it and WATCH IT - don't overcook it - then crunch away like potato chips.) Broccoli is great roasted too. So is sliced cabbage. Remember the secret is not to crowd the pan.

So good. So easy. Roasted veggies are a healthy food my kids love!

Some other things I do to add nutritious foods to our kids bellies:
  • Breakfast Smoothies of course - I add flaxseed meal, flax oil, or chia seeds for added omega 3s as well as a healthy amount of fresh and colorful fruits, splash of vanilla, some honey or maple syrup and maybe a dash of cinnamon to milk, yogurt or kefir.
  • I add leafy greens to stews, dinners, lunches and our favorite is adding a healthy dose of Spinach to Basil Pesto which I add to everything from brunch Frittatas to Stews to Pizza. Getting more veggies is much easier when you start the day with foods like frittata. See my post on Greens here with that recipe and more ideas.
  • We have a hot breakfast in the morning, no cold cereal, rarely hot cereal, it's usually eggs. The lutein, antioxidants, protein, are all good to start their day. Some of them like scrambled, others like the yellows good and runny. Of course only organic and preferably pastured and free roaming and not soy-fed.
  • The kids love grassfed meat and rice and of course I add shredded zucchini and other vegetables, like a stir-fry.
  • The kids enjoy (healthful) yogurt as a snack or a meal. They like dipping spelt pretzels into it or fruits. Make sure it is real yogurt, not the ones loaded with sugars, emulsifiers, fillers and rBGH. We like Seven Stars organic biodynamic brand best - the vanilla rocks but we usually get plain and add the maple syrup and vanilla ourselves.
  • We eat together. We eat our meal not several different meals. We eat together. I had to say that twice because I have seen several friends feed their kids "kid-food" first and then clean up the kids, send them away, and sit down for the adult meal. Kids need to be part of that adult meal. They need to see us taste new foods, even if we don't like it. They need to see us eat our vegetables. They need to be with us and we need to be with them.
I'm not a believer in hiding vegetables in the brownie. If that's your thing, that's cool, it's just not mine. I think that the brownie should be experienced unadulterated and pure, with very little flour and only whole wheat, and succanat, but you will not find spinach puree in my baked goods.

I will, however, hide vegetables in ground beef, meatballs, meatloaf, pesto.

I think kids should see and enjoy the color of vegetables and experience each one at least three times, yes, even under duress and threat of taking away every electronic device that they cannot bear to live without. They won't starve, I promise, well, they may for a couple days if they are as stubborn as one of mine, but hey, it's part of the adventure and eventually they will indeed eat the food you prepare for your family.

For more tips on how my children make good food decisions on their own see: How Has Real Food Changed Our Lives?

This post is part of two Carnivals:

Getting Human is the topic for today at


is about Kid-Friendly Real Food - Healthy Food Kids Love! Join the Real Food Wednesday Carnival by heading over to CheeseSlave and Join the Works For Me Wednesday Carnival by going to We Are That Family.


  1. we love mashed cauliflower too. Add some milk, some cheese, and even a little bacon. SOOO Yummy!

  2. great post, good information. we follow a lot of that but I am still researching what I think is best.

  3. I make a point of adding cruciferous vegetables to our meals every day... Today I roasted Brussels sprouts and added them to our salad dinner. It was delicious!

  4. I have roasted broccoli before, but it has never occurred to me before to roast cauliflower. It sounds delicious; I will definitely be making it soon!

  5. I just learned about roasted vegetables within the past few months. It was like a whole new experience! I have always loved veggies - so that wasn't a problem, but I always just steamed and ate.

    Great Tip!

    My WFMW post this week is about keeping drinks cold.
    Have a great week!
    Kristin (The Goat)

  6. Cauliflower is probably my most favorite vegetable. I'm glad you've 'discovered it'!
    Have you ever had Cauliflower Polanaise? (Or maybe that's Polonaise.) Soooo easy and good. All you need is the cooked cauli, a hardboiled egg or two, some bread crumbs and butter. (You could certainly use a butter sub, but, IMHO--yuck.) Chop up the eggs. Then, just throw the butter and crumbs in a skillet and cook them until the butter melts and the crumbs are golden. Take it off the stove, mix in the chopped egg and mix this into the cooked cauliflower.
    I promise you...it's another one that might not make it all the way to the dinner table!
    (And I agree about not hiding vegetables in brownies, either. I never forced them on my kids, but there are plenty of ways to get those vitamins without being sneaky!)

  7. I am willing to step out of my box and try this - you make it sound so good! Currently, the only way I eat cauliflower is the sweet pickled kind found in a jar. :) I will let you know what we think of this.

  8. Thanks so much for this recipe! I have roasted root veggies before, but never cauliflower. I made it for dinner tonight and my husband went wild over it! We polished off an entire large head of cauliflower, with plenty of help from my three-year-old son.


thanks for your comments! If you submitted a question or position on one of the points, I'll do my best to research that and respond promptly. Thank you for your part in creating a healthier world for us all.