A Delish (and Healthy) Side Dish!

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Hello friends! I hope you’re enjoying a safe and healthy summer! It’s been crazy around here, even though the 4th has passed, we have continued to gather for cookouts. Must be due to living in our forever home- finally!

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We have 3 acres and a big pond, so we have plenty of backyard in which to enjoy these gorgeous summer evenings.

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We also like to gather around the fire pit after dinner to roast marshmallows. One last great part of our yard is my HUGE herb and vegetable garden, more on that in a later post!

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I wanted to share a GREAT side dish/salad to consume mass quantities of at your next cookout. I call it “Super Cabbage Slaw”, because it’s far more than just coleslaw. But did you know that coleslaw is really good for you? Coleslaw comes from the Dutch word Koolsla, which means “cabbage salad”. Traditionally coleslaw is made with raw, shredded cabbage and some combination of shredded carrots, jicama, raisins and other healthy ingredients. It’s usually made with a dressing of mayonnaise, or buttermilk with vinegar and spices.

Cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable along with broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower, and they are renowned for their ability to protect against cancer. Recommendations are that you eat a minimum of 1 1/2 cups of cruciferous vegetables 2-3 times a week in order to reap the best benefits from this cancer fighter. Cabbage is an excellent source of a compound called sinigrin, which is particularly effective in helping to prevent cancer of the colon, prostate, and bladder. The health benefits of cabbage are greatest when it is eaten raw, as cooking it destroys much of it’s cancer fighting compounds, which is why coleslaw is such a great way to eat cabbage.

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Cabbage also is a good source of fiber, is high in vitamin C and K, and is loaded with calcium, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin B6, manganese and folate. In addition, it’s high in glutamine, which is an amino acid with anti-inflammatory properties. To top it off, cabbage is low in calories, only 50 calories per cup!

Why I call my side dish “Super cabbage slaw” because in addition to the cabbage, I make a vinaigrette as the sauce instead of a creamy dressing. The vinaigrette pickles the cabbage, which is great for the digestive system (see my previous post, “Peter Piper knew what he was talking about”  https://vitalvaldecap.com/2015/07/16/peter-piper-knew-what-he-was-talking-about-heres-why-you-should-do-it-too/ ). Also, remember that extra virgin olive oil is a healthy fat (monounsaturated fatty acid or MUFA), which adds even more good health to this dish. And it tastes delicious too!

It’s super easy to make, too, so it won’t take much time away from sitting outside and celebrating these beautiful summer nights. To borrow a phrase, it’s “semi-homemade”. All you need is a bowl and a knife to make this so here we go!

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Valerie’s Super Cabbage Slaw

  • One cabbage chopped finely or shredded (Or if you want to save time use a bag of already prepared coleslaw mix from the grocery store)
  • 1/2 of a red onion (provides pretty color) finely chopped
  • 1 large jalapeno (remove ribs and seeds if you don’t want a spicy slaw)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Fresh herbs- I used basil and chives- about a tablespoon each

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First, chop the cabbage (or open the bag of already prepared mix), and add to a large bowl. Next chop the onion and jalapeno, and add to the cabbage. Then, prepare the vinaigrette.

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Combine the last 6 ingredients in a smaller bowl and whisk. The last step is to add the vinaigrette to the vegetables and mix until it’s fully incorporated. Taste, and if it needs more salt, go for it.

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If you are not a coleslaw person, you will like my version, I promise you. It’s crunchy, light and flavorful. This is not your grandmother’s coleslaw! Danielle and I are actually making another batch right now as we speak (or as I write) with cabbage, onions and peppers I grew in my garden. It is addictive and we really can’t get enough of it!

So try this recipe, and you’ll like it. Oh by the way, you can add whatever healthy ingredients that you enjoy eating to this super slaw; you really can’t mess it up. Eating my super cabbage slaw will help you to live a life of vitality- with Valerie! 🙂

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Cauliflower Pizza Crust- REALLY?!!

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The finished cauliflower crust pizza. Read on to see my opinions on it!

The finished cauliflower crust pizza. Read on to see my opinions on it!

Ok, so I’ve been reading a few different recipes for a pizza crust made from CAULIFLOWER instead of flour. What, what? It seemed strange, but I’ll admit I was intrigued. After all, not only do my children both have gluten allergies which necessitates substituting for flour/wheat, but I try not to eat gluten or most carbs either because carbs are what cause weight gain and lead to many diseases/illnesses. In addition, cauliflower is a very, very good for you vegetable which also interested me in the idea of a cauliflower crust. In fact, I love cauliflower and appreciate it’s advantages so much that I’m going to spend a paragraph talking to you about how super duper it is!

Crunchy, delicious, healthy cauliflower!

Crunchy, delicious, healthy cauliflower!

Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable that contains many vitamins and minerals that help us lead a healthy life. It contains sulforaphane, which is a sulfur compound that slows tumor growth in cancer stem cells. Also, that same sulforaphane helps improve blood pressure and kidney function. Cauliflower contains anti-inflammatory nutrients like indole-3-carbinol or I3C, which helps prevent inflammatory responses on a cellular level. In addition, one serving of cauliflower contains 77% of your RDA for vitamin C, which I wrote about in my past post, “Beyond the Orange, Better Sources of C”. It’s also an excellent source of vitamin K, protein, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, fiber, vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid, potassium, and manganese. It’s an important source of fiber, which aids in digestion, and it’s full of antioxidants and phytonutrients which protect cells against attack by reactive oxygen species (ROS). Cauliflower is truly a super food!

So, with all that in mind and after looking at multiple recipes I decided to try one to see whether a cauliflower pizza crust could: 1. Taste delicious,  2. taste similar to a regular pizza crust, and 3. Be easily prepared with few ingredients. I chose Katie Lee’s recipe from http://www.foodnetwork.com because it seemed the most straight forward in terms of preparation and ingredients.

I have to say that I really liked it! It met my three criteria above and my family also liked it a lot. They said that you can taste the cauliflower in the crust, however the flavor is not totally in your face but more subtle, especially with the pizza toppings added.  I think even non-cauliflower fans would like it, and you can eat your pizza mostly guilt free because you are taking away bad carbs and adding in vitamins and fiber- that’s a win-win! I’ll share the recipe and my tips now. Try it and I’m sure you’ll like it!

Ingredients for cauliflower pizza crust!

Ingredients for cauliflower pizza crust!

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

  • One head cauliflower, stalk removed
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Break the cauliflower into florets and either chop them finely, pulse in food processor, or grind them up in your blender, a few at a time (that’s what I did).

Cauliflower in steamer basket on stove.

Cauliflower in steamer basket on stove.

Then, steam them in a steamer basket until they’re tender and drain WELL. I suggest preparing the cauliflower a good hour before serving it so it really has time to drain. If it’s well drained the crust will get crispy like a thin pizza crust. Or wring the cauliflower in a towel if you don’t have that much time; anything to get out all the water.

All ingredients combined and ready for the baking pan!

All ingredients combined and ready for the baking pan!

In a bowl, add the mozzarella, Parmesan, oregano, salt, garlic powder and eggs to the cauliflower.

Next, the oven!

Next, the oven!

Now, transfer the mixture to your baking pan and spread it into a circle, resembling a pizza crust. Make sure to spread it evenly so it will cook evenly.

Done and out of the oven it goes- ready for toppings!

Done and out of the oven it goes- ready for toppings!

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until it’s browned on the edges, and the center is firm. Last, add your toppings and bake for an additional 10 minutes. And voila, it’s done!

My mouth is watering just thinking about this pizza!

My mouth is watering just thinking about this pizza!

The toppings I added were mushrooms, pepperoni, Italian sausage, crushed tomatoes, 1/2 cup mozzarella, oregano and a little more garlic powder, but you can add whatever toppings you like. The best part is that this pizza crust weighs in at about 60 calories per slice (not including toppings) instead of 285 calories per slice of a 14 inch regular crust. That’s pretty incredible! And then when you add in the nutrient value, it’s a homerun, my friends! I guarantee you will like it, and best of all you won’t feel like you’re eating a “diet” food. I’m definitely not into deprivation, and you won’t feel deprived with this pizza. Let me know if you try it, and how you like it. Eating foods like this will help you live a life of vitality- with Valerie!