I can’t help but cook with a lot of cauliflower lately and for good reason.
I am going to get all nutritional geek on you right now but cauliflower is part of the cruciferous vegetable family. I have mentioned this many times before but what I haven’t mentioned is that cruciferous vegetables are full of a phytonutrient (plant nutrient) called DIM. DIM is short for di-indoly methane. Cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower were once cultivated for their medicinal properties because of compounds like this one. I believe that looking back in time at the days when medicine wasn’t readily available and people used food as medicine is important to do.
So what is this DIM phytonutrient you ask?
DIM is normally taken as a supplement to get therapeutic amounts but is found in smaller levels in vegetables such as cauliflower. DIM has been shown in studies to reduce the risk of certain cancers (especially those known to be effected by elevated estrogen levels), breakdown fat which may promote weight loss, and help balance estrogen hormones (found in men and women). The connection between DIM and estrogen is due to their molecular similarities. Supplementing the diet with DIM or eating cruciferous vegetables provides a greater chance for estrogen to be broken down into its beneficial form. Balanced hormones are an important piece of our health puzzle.
So as you can see one of the many reasons why I am finding more and more ways to incorporate these beneficial vegetables into my diet. Especially considering my recent experience with going off hormonal birth control and working on balancing my own hormone levels. I know there are many people experiencing an imbalance of hormones and for different reasons because I see it everyday in people I work with on health issues. But I assure you that if you have healthy an happy hormone levels there are still many great reasons to keep eating all different types of vegetables.
This salad is also wonderful eaten with your favorite leafy green in place of the cauliflower or with riced cauliflower to switch things up a bit. I would love to know your favorite ways to enjoy cruciferous vegetables. Share them with me in the comments.
- 1 head cauliflower, stem removed and cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup sun dried tomatoes, lightly chopped
- ¼ cup kalamata olives, pitted and cut in half
- ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted lightly in a dry pan over medium heat
- ½ cup fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces
- 2 tablespoons onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and lightly minced
- ¼ cup olive oil
- pinch salt and ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Toss the cauliflower in the coconut oil and sprinkle with salt.
- Roast the cauliflower in the oven until tender and golden brown about 20-25 minutes.
- While the cauliflower is roasting get all of the other ingredients together in a large bowl.
- Add the dressing ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth, setting aside.
- When the cauliflower is done roasting add immediately to the bowl with the other ingredients and toss together with the dressing.
- Serve immediately, at room temperature, or even cold from the fridge.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.