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Cauliflower is the Comeback Kid of 2015

Carly Roop, RD, is a registered dietitian at the Joan Karnell Supportive Care Services (JKSCS). She provides nutrition education and support to patients while addressing nutrition-related side effects from chemotherapy and radiation. Dietitians at JKSCS provide educational nutrition programs that are open to patients as well as the community.

Move over kale, this year cauliflower is taking over menus everywhere. And the cauliflower appearing on menus at some of the top restaurants in the United States is not the same steamed cauliflower you once pushed around your plate.

Dietitians everywhere are thrilled about this comeback because cauliflower is full of cancer and disease fighting properties. Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable, like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, bok choy and cabbage; it belongs to the cabbage family. These sulfur-containing vegetables may have a pungent smell but they also contain phytochemicals such as Sulforaphane and Indole-3-carbinol which aid the liver in production of enzymes that block cancer-causing chemicals from damaging the body and help enhance the immune system.

This vegetable is low in calories while still being rich in vitamin C, fiber and B vitamins such as biotin, which contributes to healthy hair and nails. Cauliflower is more than crudité, there are a variety of ways one can prepare this vegetable, it can be coated with a spicy yogurt and baked tandoori style, pureed into a creamy soup, roasted with a touch of melted Parmesan, tossed in sauce for vegetarian Buffalo wings and it can even be prepared to have a couscous- like texture.

The year has just begun but I predict there is a lot more culinary fun to come with cauliflower.

Spicy Whole Roasted Cauliflower

Serves 6


Roasted Cauliflower

  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1 ½ cups of plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • 1-2 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. cumin
  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 400 °F and lightly grease a small baking sheet with vegetable oil.
  2. Trim the base of the cauliflower to remove any green leaves and the woody stem.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the yogurt with the lime zest and juice, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, curry powder and pepper.
  4. Dunk the cauliflower in the bowl and use a brush or your hands to smear the marinade on evenly over its surface (Extra marinade can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days).
  5. Place the cauliflower on the prepared baking sheet and roast until the surface is dry and lightly browned 35-45 minutes.
  6. Let the cauliflower cool for 10 minutes before cutting it into wedges and serving alongside a big green salad

Nutrition per serving: 65 calories; < 1 gm of total fat; 7 gram of carbohydrates; 2 gm of dietary fiber; 7.5 gm of protein

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The Focus on Cancer blog discusses a variety of cancer-related topics, including treatment advances, research efforts and clinical trials, nutrition, support groups, survivorship and patient stories.

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