Find out what Romanesco is, what it can do for you, and how to prepare it…
Romanesco is one of those weird-looking veggies you’ve heard of, but you’ve probably never seen or tasted before! It’s in the broccoli/cauliflower family, and it looks like hundreds of tiny fractals. It’s found most commonly in Italy, where it’s used like broccoli or cauliflower in veggie-heavy recipes. Definitely one of the more delicious of the odd-looking veggies around!
Here are some of the benefits of Romanesco:
- Boost eyesight — Romanesco cauliflowers are loaded with Vitamin A, the vitamin that is needed by your eyes in order to function properly. Vitamin A can also reduce the macular degeneration that leads to eye problems!
- Reduce cancer risk — These delicious veggies are loaded with Vitamin C, one of the antioxidants that has been proven most effective at fighting off cancers.
- Improve circulation — Romanesco are high in iron, which helps to increase the production of red blood cells. More red blood cells means more oxygen and nutrient transported throughout your body!
- Increases brain function — An increase in circulation is the key to boosting your brain function, as more oxygen and nutrients to the brain can lead to better brain health and faster response time.
- Fights infection — The many antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals in Romanesco go a long way toward fighting disease and infection.
- Boost digestive health — Like broccoli and cauliflower, Romanesco cauliflowers are loaded with healthy digestive fibers that will do wonders for your digestion and waste elimination!
- Lower cholesterol and blood sugar — Thanks to the natural fiber in Romanesco, you can get your cholesterol and blood sugar levels back under control.
- Boost heart health — Thanks to the iron, Vitamin K, Omega 3 fatty acids, and B vitamins in the veggie, you can improve your heart health drastically.
- Protects from free radicals — The fiber and antioxidants in this veggie will go a long way towards helping to protect you from the free radicals that can lead to cancer and other health problems!
READ MORE: Cauliflower Au Gratin
Romanesco Prep Ideas
Few people outside of Italy know how to cook Romanesco, as they’ve never encountered the veggie before. Thankfully, it’s as versatile as broccoli and cauliflower, so you’ll find that there are many delicious ways to prepare it.
One of my personal favorites is to sauté it with nothing more than olive oil, garlic, and a pat of butter. The butter coats the veggie with delicious flavor, and the garlic only helps to make it even more awesome.
Some Italians will steam the veggie then coat it with a bit of white wine vinegar and olive oil. If you’re looking for a minimalist way to cook it, that’s the way to go.
You can always mix it into a casserole like broccoli or cauliflower. Simply shred the Romanesco like you would any other “tree” veggie, and mix it in with your cheese, noodles, chicken, or whatever else is going into the casserole dish.
If you want to go very American, try making Romanesco with a cheese sauce. You can lightly steam the Romanesco until it is nearly cooked, and then finish it off with a few minutes in the oven–just long enough to melt the cheese.
For a heartier, more creative flavor, stir fry it in a wok with bok choy, cabbage, and other Chinese veggies, and use sesame seed oil, soy sauce, and ginger (flakes or raw) as the base of the flavor. It makes for a delicious Oriental-inspired dish that you can’t help but love!