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Loaded with vitamin C, this cruciferous cousin to broccoli was once revered by a French king.

First prized by the court of King Louis XIV, cauliflower provides a royal health boost to everyone's diet. This versatile veggie is not only low in calories, it's also full of vitamins and minerals. One cup of raw cauliflower is high in the antioxidant vitamin C -- required for the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of your body, and necessary for the formation of the important protein collagen, used to make skin, scar tissue, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels.

Cauliflower also offers a healthy dose of potassium, fiber, and folic acid and contains a sulfur compound called isothiocyanate that protects health and prevents disease. Not all cauliflower is white. You can find green and orange varieties of this cruciferous (named for the cross-shaped flowers) cousin of broccoli and brussels sprouts. The difference is in the amount (or absence) of chlorophyll present during the vegetable's growth.

More Veggie Might

All vegetables in the cruciferous family -- kale, cabbage, broccoli, and brussels sprouts -- are packed with vitamin C and potassium.

Recipe

Cauliflower and Broccoli Pasta Medley With Mustard Sauce
Makes 8 servings (serving size: 1 cup)

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Pinch of salt
1/2 pound (2 cups) uncooked whole-wheat spiral pasta
1 head cauliflower, broken into florets
1 head broccoli, broken into florets
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1. Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat.
2. Add the onion, garlic, and red pepper. Sauté 3 to 5 minutes.
3. Add the parsley, mustard, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Cook 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Cover and set aside.
4. Cook the pasta in boiling water for 5 minutes. Add the cauliflower and broccoli. Cook an additional 3 minutes or until vegetables and pasta are tender. Drain well.
5. Combine the pasta mixture and the red pepper/mustard mixture. Toss well. Sprinkle with the cheese and serve.

Per serving: 180 calories, 3 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 34 g carbohydrate, 9 g protein, 0 mg cholesterol, 8 g fiber, 133 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 14%.


Originally published in the January/February issue of WebMD the Magazine.

WebMD the Magazine - Feature

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