Like many cauliflower lovers I absolutely love cooked cauliflower with its gently yielding texture and subltey sweet, milky flavor. Entering its peak season of freshness from December-March, now is the perfect time for cauliflower lovers to consider adding the taste and health benefits of this lovely veg to their list of Holiday side dish options.

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This baked cauliflower dish is so simple, easy and fast and I promise it will be a company favorite! I mean, who doesn’t like buttery/cheesy/toasted-topped side dishes that are actually low in salt and fat, and healthy?!

Studies have indicated how cauliflower contains compounds that “stop enzymes from activating cancer-causing agents in the body, and they increase the activity of enzymes that disable and eliminate carcinogens…New research has greatly advanced scientists’ understanding of just how cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, kale and Brussels sprouts help prevent cancer. When these vegetables are cut, chewed or digested, a sulfur-containing compound called sinigrin is brought into contact with the enzyme myrosinase, resulting in the release of glucose and breakdown products….We now know that cruciferous vegetables contain both glucosinolates and thiocyanates (including sulforaphane and isothiocyanate). These compounds increase the liver’s ability to neutralize potentially toxic substances….Recent studies show that those eating the most cruciferous vegetables have a much lower risk of prostate, colorectal and lung cancer-even when compared to those who regularly eat other vegetables.”

How many weekly servings of cruciferous vegetables do you need to lower your risk of cancer? Just 3 to 5 servings – less than one serving a day! (1 serving = 1 cup).

1        head of cauliflower, de-leaved, florets broken apart into even-sized                  pieces, stems trimmed, rinsed in colander, set aside
1        cup of Daiya cheddar ‘cheese’
½      cup of whole grain panko-style (or you favorite) flavorful breadcrumbs
Spray olive oil
Smoked Paprika optional

Preheat oven to 375°

  1. Steam-cook the cauliflower until al dente
  2. Spray the bottom of a medium size baking dish
  3. Arrange a layer of cauliflower florets snugly
  4. Spray tops of florets lightly with oil
  5. Sprinkle the layer of florets with cheese
  6. Repeat steps 3,4 and 5, layering until you run out of florets
  7. Sprinkle the top layer of cheese with bread crumbs
  8. Sprinkle with optional Smoked Paprika
  9. Spray lightly with oil

Bake for 20-25 minutes until cheese is melted and bread crumbs are toasted

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