Roasting is an easy, quick, delicious approach to preparing vegetables. You might think cauliflower roasted in the oven becomes dry, but dry heat from the oven removes moisture from the vegetables, thereby concentrating their flavors. In fact, cauliflower is about 92% water, so after roasting it’s moist and tender.1 Like broccoli, cabbage, kale, and radishes, cauliflower belongs to the brassica family of vegetables. Brassica vegetables, also known as cruciferous vegetables, are exceptionally nutritious and should be featured prominently in our diets.
Brassica vegetables are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, and fiber. They are also high in glucosinolates, unique sulfur-containing compounds, which give them their distinctive bitter tastes and pungent aromas.2 Moreover, glucosinolates exhibit powerful healing properties, breaking down into indoles and isothiocyanates, which have been shown to inhibit the growth of cancer cells.3 Isothiocyanates also protect against pre-cancerous cells, helping the body eliminate them before they can damage DNA.4
Unfortunately, one of the most common ways of cooking cauliflower is boiling. Glucosinolates are water soluble, meaning they can leach into the cooking water. A 2007 study confirmed that boiling brassica vegetables results in significant glucosinolate losses, whereas steaming or stir-frying results only in minor losses.5 For the boiled vegetables, 90% of the lost glucosinolates were detected in the cooking water.
With brassica vegetables, you should also avoid cutting them long before consuming them. In the same study, glucosinolate losses of 75% were observed just six hours after shredding them.
In our recipe, cauliflower combines beautifully with fresh dill and Indian curry spices. Curry powders vary widely in terms of quality and composition, so be sure to read the product labels avoiding those with added salt. Enjoy!
- ½ – ¾ head of cauliflower
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1-2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
- Olive oil for drizzling
Christopher James Clark, B.B.A. is an award-winning author, writer, consultant, and chef with specialized knowledge in nutritional science and healing cuisine. He has a Business Administration degree from the University of Michigan and formerly worked as a revenue management analyst for a Fortune 100 company. For the past decade-plus, he has been designing menus, recipes, and food concepts for restaurants and spas, coaching private clients, teaching cooking workshops worldwide, and managing the kitchen for a renowned Greek yoga resort. Clark is the author of the critically acclaimed, award-winning book, Nutritional Grail.
1. Nutrition Data. Retrieved July 8, 2014 from http://nutritiondata.self.com
2. Johnson, I.T. (January 2002). Glucosinolates: bioavailability and importance to health. International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research, 72(1). Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11887749
3. Hayes, J.D., Kelleher, M.O. & Eggleston, I.M. (May 2008). The cancer chemopreventive actions of phytochemicals derived from glucosinolates. European Journal of Nutrition, 47(Supplement 2). Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18458837
4. Zhang, Y. (November 2004). Cancer-preventive isothiocyanates: measurement of human exposure and mechanism of action. Mutation Research, 555(1-2). Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15476859
5. Song, L. and Thornalley, P.J. (February 2007). Effect of storage, processing and cooking on glucosinolate content of Brassica vegetables. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 45(2). Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17011103