The Hungry Swimmer: Cauliflower 101

by Zoe Gregorace 0

December 22nd, 2020 Hungry Swimmer, Lifestyle

This past year cauliflower has gotten a lot of attention. From cauliflower rice to cauliflower pizza crust and gluten- free pretzels, this cruciferous vegetable has snuck into some of our favorite foods. Why might you ask? Because cauliflower serves as a low calorie, high fiber, nutrient dense carbohydrate alternative. It’s a staple in gluten-free cooking and serves as an amazing dupe for starchy food items. Not to mention, adding cauliflower to some of your daily meals is a great way to sneak an extra serving of vegetables into your everyday diet!

Before you replace every single carbohydrate in your diet with cauliflower, let me preface these recipes by saying that carbohydrates are not the enemy. Carbs are essential fuel for our bodies, especially as athletes that require carbohydrates as an energy source not only for performance, but also for muscle recovery. However, it is worth noting that complex carbohydrates are more efficient for energy production in our bodies. Complex carbohydrate rich foods, such as whole wheat items, fresh fruits, vegetables and grains provide consistent energy throughout the day. Simple carbohydrates, such as white flours and refined sugars spike our blood sugar and typically end in a sugar crash- not ideal for high performance athletes. With that being said, utilizing cauliflower as a simple carb substitute may be the more nutritious choice!

Intrigued? Check out these awesome cauliflower recipes for more fiber, sustained energy and flavor!

Rise & Grind Breakfast Bowl

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cauliflower rice
  • Handful of spinach
  • ⅓ cup sliced mushrooms
  • ⅓ cup sliced bell pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ avocado
  • 2 Strong Roots Cauliflower Hash browns (optional)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Drizzle of Hot sauce
  • Sprinkle of feta cheese

When you wake up in the morning and are craving the works, this is what you need to make! It’s savory, loaded with healthy fats and bursting with flavor. It’s also super easy to whip up. If you’re not into cauliflower rice, feel free to modify this recipe and use brown rice or your favorite grain!

To start, drizzle a pan with olive oil or cooking spray. Sautee the frozen cauliflower, mushrooms, peppers and spinach until wilted. Then, add in the eggs and fully combine with the sauteed vegetables. If you want to include your favorite brand of frozen hash browns, prepare them as you would. The Strong Roots Hash Browns I used are also made with cauliflower (what a coincidence!) and bake at 400F for 15-20 minutes. Once the eggs are cooked, pour the sauteed mixture into a bowl, top with ½ an avocado, salt, pepper, hot sauce and a sprinkle of feta cheese. Enjoy!

Blueberry Vanilla Protein Smoothie Bowl

Ingredients

  • Small handful of ice
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup frozen cauliflower rice
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 handful of spinach
  • ½ cup frozen blueberries
  • 2 scoops Vanilla Nuzest Protein
  • 1 tsp maca powder
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp Creamy Peanut Butter
  • Topped with Creamy Peanut Butter drizzles & sprouted buckwheat crunch

Who doesn’t love a thick and creamy smoothie bowl?! Even though winter is upon us in Boston, that’s not stopping me from whipping out my high power blender and going to town. The key to thick smoothies is to include a lot of frozen ingredients and be cautious of the amount of liquid you’re adding. I’ve found that roughly 1 cup of liquid works, however, if you need more liquid to blend smoothly, add more at about ¼ increments at a time.

First, add all ingredients, except for the toppings, into a blender and blend on high speed until smooth. If necessary, unscrew the top and scrape bits of unblended powder from the sides and blend again. Pour the smoothie into a medium sized bowl and top with the peanut butter and sprouted buckwheat crunch. Enjoy!

Rainbow Pasta Bowl

Ingredients

  • 1 serving of Banza pasta
  • Tomato sauce
  • Roasted Brussels sprouts
  • Roasted purple cauliflower
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • ½ tsp garlic powder

Healthy doesn’t have to be boring. Let’s eat the rainbow! As a big fan of chickpea pasta, these types of pasta bowls are a huge staple in my diet. They’re also a great way to incorporate vegetables into your daily meals. Whether you eat these for dinner or have leftovers for lunch, this rainbow pasta bowl will not disappoint those taste buds!

First, you want to roast the veggies. I used some roasted Brussels and cauliflower that I had on hand, but if you don’t, you’ll want to preheat your oven to 400F. Spread out the veggies on a baking sheet and roast for about 30 minutes. While the veggies are roasting, prepare the pasta. Combine the cooked pasta, I used Banza rotini, with your favorite tomato sauce and add in the roasted Brussels and cauliflower. Fully coat the veggies and pasta with the tomato sauce and add your seasonings. Pour the mixture into a bowl, top with grated Parmesan (optional) and enjoy!

Check out my website for more recipe inspiration and be sure to share your cauliflower creations with me @whatzoeeeats!

About Zoe Gregorace

Zoe Gregorace is currently studying Nutrition Policy at the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and recently graduated from Tufts University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and was a proud member of the Tufts Swimming and Diving team (Go Jumbos!). During her 16 year career as a competitive swimmer, she developed a passion for sports nutrition. She enjoys writing on the topic of nutrition, health and wellness and posts her meal creations on her Instagram page @whatzoeeeats. As a former college swimmer, she strives to share recipes and nutrition tips to promote balanced eating and optimize sports performance.

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