My most recent creation is inspired by a recipe my mother makes often, with just a little twist. It is a great, healthy alternative to mashed potatoes and includes pumpkin to boot! I prescribe to the belief that pumpkin should be consumed year-round, not just in the fall. Adding pumpkin to recipes is a great way to add a little sweetness without all of the added sugar. There is enough of that already in a lot of what we eat today! Additionally, I have replaced the butter with coconut oil, which is so good for you.
Let’s break down the health benefits in this delicious goodness:
Cauliflower: Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable and is in the same family as cabbage, kale, collards and broccoli (all really healthy veggies!). It is a great source of antioxidants, including vitamin C, manganese, carotenoids (such as beta-carotene), and phytonutrients. It also contains vitamin K and omega-3, two anti-inflammatory nutrients, and is a good source of protein, phosphorus and potassium. There are many studies that link cauliflower to cancer prevention, particularly with respect to bladder cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer and ovarian cancer. Most people eat the florets of the cauliflower, but the stem and leaves are edible too (throw ‘em all in, no wasting!). The cauliflower you will most commonly see at your local market is white, though it can also be light green, yellow or purple.
Pumpkin: I have touted the benefits of pumpkin before in the recipe for my Pumpkin Granola, but there are so many of them that it doesn’t hurt to share them again! Pumpkin is high in vitamin A, which aids in vision, and, like cauliflower, is rich in cartenoids such as beta-carotene. It is high in fiber, potassium (more than a banana!) and vitamin C and low in calories. You can get all of these benefits from canned pumpkin so we can eat it year-round (wahoo!).
Coconut Oil: This puppy is a staple in my kitchen, as I’ve mentioned before. I commonly use it as an alternative to butter on toast and in this recipe and always put a dollop in my morning smoothies to add creaminess and flavor. It is a high heat oil so is safe to use when sautéing on the stove (low heat oils such as olive oil burn when cooked at high temperatures and break down into a carcinogen). Coconut oil helps boost HDL (good) and lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. It contains lauric acid, which helps to prevent various heart problems like high blood pressure, and its antimicrobial properties can help fight off bacteria and fungi. It aids in digestion and the absorption of vitamins, minerals and amino acids.
Lemon: This fruit is high in vitamin C and vitamin B and, due to its high limonene content, it is a powerful antioxidant that can help ward off free radicals. Known for its therapeutic properties, lemon helps to strengthen the immune system, cleanse the stomach, and soothe an irritated throat and supports respiratory function.
The recipe below makes about 3-4 servings. I use a Sistema microwave steamer to steam the cauliflower and a high-powered food processor to whip it all up.
1 head of cauliflower
½ cup canned pumpkin
4 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp lemon juice or 1 drop of lemon essential oil
salt and pepper to taste
Five Simple Steps:
Unwrap and wash the head of cauliflower. Cut it up into 2-3 in. pieces and steam in a microwave or stovetop steamer for about 5 minutes or until tender (but not too tender so that it is limp).
Place steamed cauliflower in food processor (be careful of the steam from your steamer as it will be hot!).
Add pumpkin, lemon juice and coconut oil to food processor.
Blend until smooth. You may have to stop it a few times and wipe the sides so all cauliflower chunks get evenly blended.
Season with salt and pepper as desired.
~Peace, love and veggies~