The Ascension of Cauliflower – The New York Times

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Others, like New York-based registered dietitian Alix Turoff, say they like cauliflower because it absorbs the flavors of other ingredients. She tells her clients to pair rice cauliflower with dishes that have lots of sauces and flavors, like curries, stir-fries, and chili. Some people even use cauliflower in place of rice in sushi, stuffed peppers, and taco bowls.

“It opens doors for people to be more creative,” she said. “It’s just a great way to get more vegetables into your diet.”

Food industry experts say the cauliflower trend is growing as it appeals to a wide range of consumers with diets ranging from plant-based to paleo. Many of them are drawn to vegetables and are looking for so-called clean label, or foods that limit additives, such as sugar, salt, artificial sweeteners and highly refined, synthetic or genetically modified ingredients.

According to Nielsen, there are 36 different categories in grocery stores that use cauliflower as an ingredient. The company found that sales of “cauliflower-centric” refrigerated dishes rose 108% over the past year, while sales of cauliflower baby food were up 34%. Centennial national food brand Hulk says cauliflower is one of the hottest vegetables it sells today.

“The cauliflower trend is everywhere,” said Jordan Rost, vice president of consumer insights at Nielsen. “We’re seeing it in everything from cream cheese to baby food. Sales of products that contain cauliflower are growing faster than their overall category. It’s driving growth across all foods.”

Some national pizza chains such as California Pizza and Pie Five Pizza, has made cauliflower crust pizza a standard item on their menu. The supermarket also sells several brands of cauliflower pizza, including Caulipower and a brand called Cali’Flour, which sells plain cauliflower crust and flat breads (including vegan varieties) for consumers who want to add their own sauces and toppings.

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