The Power of Cauliflower and Summer Squash

Who doesn’t like a versatile vegetable? Cauliflower and summer squash do not disappoint.  Due to their mild flavor, both are great options to blend into their culinary environments as well as pick up flavors of other ingredients in a dish. Give these two a try. If you don’t like them prepared one way, you’ll surely enjoy them another way. 



Once considered the “plain jane” of vegetables, cauliflower has made its way into the spotlight. It supplies body and bulk in low carbohydrate recipes, and while the most common color of cauliflower florets is white, beautiful hues of green, purple, and orange can be used to liven up your plate.  


Nutrition Facts 

Rich in fiber as well as vitamin C, cauliflower is an excellent substitute for starchy foods such as potatoes, rice, and pasta. Because of its high-water content, it can also help keep you hydrated and feeling fuller, longer. 


How Do I Select and Store Cauliflower? 

When selecting cauliflower, look for clean, tightly bundled, creamy white florets with bright green leaves. Avoid cauliflower with dark or soft spots. A whole cauliflower can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. Once the florets are cut from the stalk, they need to be consumed within 4 days. 


What Can I Do with Cauliflower? 

To prepare cauliflower for most recipes, rinse the head and pat dry. Remove the green leaves. Slice the cauliflower in half, then slice the halves into quarters. Remove the core from the quarters. Cut or break up the florets by hand. 

  • Steam  
  • Sauté   
  • Mash  
  • Roast  
  • Eat it raw with your favorite vegetable dip  
  • Make it into rice, pizza crusts, and wraps  

The question really should be: what can’t you do with cauliflower? 

Super Simple Cauliflower Rice 

To Prepare: 

  • Rinse and dry the cauliflower 
  • Cut the florets into big pieces 
  • Slice the thick stalk into thin disks 

In a food processor: 

  • Pulse a few pieces of cauliflower until crumbly and resembles rice 
  • Continue with remaining pieces 

In a large pan: 

  • Heat 2 T of coconut oil or butter 
  • Sauté 1 small, diced onion until lightly browned 
  • Add the ‘riced’ cauliflower 
  • Sauté for about 8 minutes 
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper 

Spice it up: Halfway through sautéing the onion, add: 

  • 1 clove garlic  
  • 1/2 t cumin 
  • 1/2 t turmeric  
  • 1/2 t ground ginger


Summer Squash 

Squash varieties seem endless! Each has their own unique size, shape, and texture. They are commonly separated into two groups, winter squash and summer squash. Yellow squash belongs to the summer group and includes several crookneck and straight-neck varieties. 

Yellow and Green summer squash in a rustic basket -Author attribution - nociveglia from Appennino Emiliano, Italy

Nutrition facts: 

Squash is an excellent source of vitamin C, fiber, and minerals such as potassium and magnesium. The vitamin C and beta-carotene found in squash may help to slow the progression of vision loss caused by macular degeneration.  


How to pick and store summer squash 


When picking summer squash, they should be two inches or less in diameter and six to eight inches long. The skin should be glossy and easy to pierce with your fingernail. Think small with a vibrant color. Summer squash does not keep in dry conditions very long. Kept at room temperature, squash will keep no more than two weeks. You can place it in a paper bag in the refrigerator, but it will only keep for just a few days. Buy it to eat it right away! 


What to do with summer squash: 

The list goes on and on:  

  • steam  
  • roast 
  • sauté 
  • grill 
  • bake 
  • Use as ‘zoodles’ in place of noodles 
  • Add as a unique pizza topping with prosciutto, gorgonzola, and arugula 


Let’s be crazy for our series finale recipe and put these two beauties together. 


Garlic Roasted Cauliflower and Summer Squash 

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees 
  • Cut 2-3 summer squash and 1 cauliflower head into pieces and place into a bowl  
  • Add 2-3 cloves fresh minced garlic 
  • Drizzle with 2-3 T of extra virgin olive oil 
  • Toss well and sprinkle with sea salt and fresh pepper 
  • Line a baking sheet or two with parchment paper and spread vegetables evenly in a single layer  
  • Bake for 45 minutes or until nicely browned and fork tender 
  • Try adding some fresh oregano, thyme, rosemary, sage or a combination 


Pick Your Own Farms Update: 

Kathan’s in La Crescent, MN reports that the 2023 Raspberry picking season is almost here! It should begin sometime around Labor Day, depending on Mother Nature. Kathan’s hopes to have raspberries into October. 


Heidi Kutz 

Education Specialist, ViaroHealth 

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