Cauliflower, meaning flowered cabbage, is a vegetable that belongs to the cabbage family and is considered one of the world’s healthiest foods.1,2 The part of the plant that is enjoyed most often is the hard flowers as they are also the most nutritious. While these flowers are known mostly for their white color there are varieties of the plant with purple, green, yellow and even orange flowers.2
Cauliflower is believed to have originated in both the Middle East and Italy during the fifteenth century. From there it migrated to Europe from Cyprus during the sixteenth century, spreading in popularity from Italy to France. By the end of the 1600’s, the cauliflower plant had found its way to North America with the first cauliflower cookbook published by Arthur A. Crozier in 1891.2
As an excellent source of vitamin C, folate, dietary fiber and various other vitamins and minerals, enjoying cauliflower is healthy choice. Regularly consuming cauliflower is also known to reduce the risk of a number of cancers including lung, colon, breast, ovarian and bladder cancer.2 Research from the University of Hawaii has also shown that cauliflower and other cabbage plants provide multiple benefits to the cardiovascular system including providing a phytonutrient, called indole-3-carbinol, which can decrease plaque formation in blood vessels.2
Cauliflower can be cooked in a variety of ways. You may already know that cauliflower florets can be steamed, broiled or eaten raw with your favorite dip. Did you know that cauliflower can also be a substitute for potatoes? Steam and puree cauliflower to make either a mashed cauliflower dish or cauliflower “tator tots”.3 Cauliflower can be pureed to make a smooth soup base, roasted in a risotto or added as florets to a soup recipe instead of noodles. When steamed and shredded, you can even mix cauliflower with mozzarella to make a healthy pizza crust.3
Patients on warfarin are usually told to be wary of vegetables that are deep green and leafy. While cauliflower may have leaves it is decidedly not green and may be deceiving. One cup of cauliflower, raw, contains about 15.5 micrograms of vitamin K and one cup of boiled cauliflower contains about 17.1 micrograms of vitamin K. Cauliflower is considered a medium food making it a vegetable that warfarin patients can consider when planning their meals and maintaining a constant vitamin K intake.