Often it is taught by dietitians that the healthiest vegetables to eat are those that are deep green, orange, and red. General advice is to eat colorful vegetables. 

Beware of this broad-spectrum advice as you might miss enjoying the magnificent, nutritious white cauliflower as well as the varieties that are colorful.  This blog explores cauliflower and diabetes, nutrition benefits of dining on cauliflower, fun cauliflower facts, cautions, and three recipes for you to try. By the end of this article I’m sure you will be delighted and inspired about the hidden secrets of cauliflower. 

Cauliflower and Diabetes

Most people with diabetes are encouraged to eat plenty of non-starchy vegetables. The American Diabetes Association recommends eating half of one’s plate or at least 3-5 servings of non-starchy vegetables per day. One serving is equal to ½ cup cooked or 1 cup raw. Non-starchy vegetables are encouraged because of the nutrition contributions they make to our diets. They are high in vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals. (1) I would like to encourage you to use cauliflower as part of this recommendation for people with diabetes!

There is no hidden secret here!

Nutritional benefits of Cauliflower

1 cup of cauliflower nutrition labelAs you can see from the food label, 1 cup of raw white cauliflower, contains only 25 calories with 2 grams of dietary fiber and 80% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C.

Hidden secrets of cauliflower not found on the nutrition label 

By eating cauliflower you get the benefit of an exceptional source of cancer fighting compounds that contain sulfur and nitrogen. These include Glucosinolates, which form isothiocyanates, indoles and sulforaphane. These substances help to decrease inflammation in the body and inhibit cancerous cell growth and induce cell death in certain types of cancers. (2,3)


Of course with any food, do not consume cauliflower if you have an allergy or intolerance to it. In previous years it was thought that eating foods high in substances called purines which are found in cauliflower may precipitate a gout attack. In 2006 a large study took place at Harvard with over 47,000 men. They concluded that vegetables high in purines were not associated with gout attacks. (4) Avoiding cauliflower may be advised if you have uric acid kidney stones. (5) Ask your doctor or dietitian if you should avoid cauliflower for any reason.

Having fun with colorful cauliflower facts

I love short guessing games. I asked 10 of my dear friends what color is a cauliflower. What do you think they said? If you guessed white, you are correct. White is just one color that cauliflowers are grown. A fact that is not well known (a hidden secret) is that cauliflowers come in many colors including purple, orange and green. New strains of cauliflower are produced with selective breeding by agricultural scientists. In 2003 an orange cauliflower was introduced which was the result of years of cross breeding. The orange variety has been found to have more than 25 times of the vitamin A content then that of white cauliflower. (6)

Names of colorful cauliflower that are now on the market include, purple Graffiti, orange Cheddar and green Romanesco. They are grown from heirloom varieties, hybrids and variations that occur in nature. (6) 

Three Cauliflower recipes 

Cauliflower soup with vegetables and cheddar cheese

cauliflower soup with cheeseMake this soup a day before you eat it for the flavors to blend. It is very hardy soup that can be a delicious focal point for lunch or supper.


Recipe By: Clara Schneider, MS, RD, RN, CDE, LDN
Make this for: Lunch or Dinner
Category: Soup
This Recipe Makes: 16 Serving(s) 

What you'll need

  • 1 large head of cauliflower (840 grams) chopped in pieces
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 16 oz package of frozen French cut green beans
  • 2 medium stalks chopped celery
  • 3 large carrots (chopped)
  • 3 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 5 cups water
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg 
  • ½ tsp curry powder
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 4 cups skim milk
  • 1 cup low sodium cheddar cheese
  • 16 oz frozen corn
  • 3 oz water
  • 2 TB of cornstarch


Step 1
In a large pot put the cauliflower, onions, green beans, celery, carrots, vegetable broth and water. Simmer over a low-medium heat until the vegetables are soft

Step 2
Puree mixture (it is easy with an immersion blender, be careful not to spatter mixture as it is hot )

Step 3
Add spices, milk and cheese (a little at a time) and puree again

cauliflower soup with vegetables and cheddar cheese

Step 4

Add corn

Step 5
Heat on low (do not boil) for 30 minutes stirring frequently   

Step 6
Stir together water and cornstarch in small bowl until smooth, add to the soup stirring constantly until blended into the soup

Step 7
Refrigerate soup overnight. Heat soup and enjoy (do not boil) 

Diabetic Exchanges

  • Carbohydrate:1/2
  • Non-starchy vegetables: 2
  • Medium-fat meat:1/2

This recipe is low in fat, a good source of fiber, high in vitamin C and a good source of calcium, it is also gluten-free if 

gluten-free if gluten-free broth is used

Mock Mashed Potatoes

A hidden secret of cauliflower is that you can make “Mock Mashed Potatoes” using them. This lowers the calories and also the carbohydrates per serving. 

Stir-Fried Singapore Noodles

This recipe is an excellent way to use many vegetables including cauliflower in for a quick, healthy meal with an Asian flare. 

As you can see there are hidden secrets of the cauliflower. These range from the excellent nutrition benefits of reducing cancer risks, to colorful choices. Our Mock Mashed potatoes is a hidden secret in some families. Many times people do not know they are eating cauliflower! As you can see, the cauliflower is very healthy and can be a tasty food to enjoy!