This Is How Healthy Cauliflower Substitutes Really Are

Pizza crust, buffalo poppers, breadsticks, rice, even steaks — cauliflower has become the unprecedented star of many favorite dishes. But before you start substituting cauliflower to make splurge meals into low-carb recipes, you should consider the health benefits of this cruciferous vegetable.

Although cauliflower has a reputation for not being as nutrient-dense as its green veggie companions like broccoli, it actually has some big nutritional benefits. The low-calorie, low-carbohydrate veggie contains fiber, folate, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin K (via WebMD).

Cauliflower can also be a good source of cancer-fighting, inflammation-reducing antioxidants. It is popular for weight-loss, as it's made up of 92 percent water, and is high in fiber — so you feel full without the high caloric intake (via Healthline).

There are some "cons" to cauliflower you should be aware of. Cauliflower can be difficult to digest due to raffinose — a carbohydrate that can cause gas, according to WebMD. Up your water intake and be mindful of the additional fiber in your diet to help battle the effect.

'Cons' to using cauliflower in recipes

The higher vitamin K levels in cauliflower can also pose some problems to those on blood-thinning medications. However, cauliflower doesn't have as high levels as other vegetables, so it is likely OK in moderation. It is recommended to check with your doctor if you plan on greatly increasing your cauliflower consumption, just in case.

You should also be cognizant of how the cauliflower dish is prepared. In some cases, the other toppings in your dish can make the cauliflower substitute just as calorie-ridden as the higher-fat food you are trying to replace. You might want to think twice before loading up your cauliflower pizza or breadsticks with tons of cheese and fatty toppings.

Cauliflower substitutes can actually be very healthy. The low-calorie vegetable is versatile, making it an easy addition to many dishes. Using cauliflower in your favorite recipes to replace grains or meat can be a fun way to spice up your well-rounded diet.