Enjoy the health promoting benefits of turmeric with this easy turmeric cauliflower rice bowl topped with roasted squash, peppery watercress, fermented veggies, and a bright and fresh dill oil!
Being a dietitian, and writing this Food Rx column, where I espouse the health benefits of various foods, you might presume that I put a lot of energy into planning meals chock full of "superfoods." But that actually isn't the case. When I meal plan, I first consider what food I actually want to eat, then consider ways to make those meals a bit more nutritious or balanced, usually by throwing in whole grains or more vegetables. And that's it. I don't try to follow any set food rules like "I must eat ______ at least "x" times per week" or "I must get dark green leafy vegetables in every single day!" Food rules are super exhausting and take the fun out of eating.
That said, there are a few foods that I think about in the back of my head as foods to work into my diet whenever they fit in to a dish I'm planning - fatty fish, fermented foods, and turmeric.
Turmeric is a bright yellow-orange spice with a light peppery flavor and slight earthiness. If you've ever seen fresh turmeric in it's non-powered form, then you're not surprised to learn it's related to ginger. Turmeric has been used for centuries as a healing remedy for a variety of conditions - recent research shows they were on to something!
Most of turmeric's health benefits stem from it's active component, curcumin, which gives turmeric it's vibrant color. Curcumin is a powerfully anti-inflammatory phytonutrient and most of the reseach on health benefits of turmeric is actually done with curcumin. Although turmeric is the richest source of curcumin, it's still an overall small percentage of it's weight, so you'd need to eat a lot of turmeric everyday to get therapeutic benefits. Still, even small amounts of turmeric is helpful for general health promotion.
- Turmeric may help ease an upset stomach. As a relative of ginger, this makes sense, since multiple studies of ginger have found it to be just as effective as medications for curbing nausea and indigestion. If my stomach is feeling a little wonky, I like to make a turmeric tea with ginger and fennel and that often does the trick. Other studies have shown turmeric extract to be effective in reducing the symptoms of IBS.
- Turmeric is major brain food! Follow up studies done after finding much lower rates of Alzheimer's disease in India show turmeric may be part of the reason why. Two of the compounds in turmeric, curcumin and tumerone, promote repair of brain stem cells and help block the formation of the plaques found in the brains of people with Alzheimer's.
- I like to call turmeric a good mood food. That's because it's been shown to increase serotonin, a happy hormone, modulate cortisol, a stress hormone, and inhibit monoamine oxidase, a enzyme that is linked to depression if found in high levels.
- Turmeric may reduce the risk of heart attack due to it's anti-inflammatory benefits. In one study, curcumin was found to lower the risk of heart attacks by 65% in patients post-cardiac bypass.
- Turmeric may also help reduce pain, especially pain resulting from inflammation, as in arthritis. One study found turmeric extract worked just as well as ibuprofen.
Although turmeric is most frequently used in curries and other Indian food, it's much more versatile than you might think. It has a mild taste, so I like to blend it into smoothies, use it to flavor soups and pasta sauces, and even use it in baking!
In this recipe, I used turmeric to flavor cauliflower rice, which gives it an extra earthiness and really pretty golden color. Although I'm not usually a fan of vegetables standing in for carbs, I weirdly love cauliflower rice, and may even like it better than rice (probably due to my lack of rice cooking skills!). Just don't forget to include a carbohydrate in this recipe since you're swapping veggies for a grain - carbs are just as much a brain food as turmeric! I also snuck in some fermented food with curry fermented cauliflower from Farmhouse Culture (#sample!), but feel free to use fermented kraut or some other type of fermented vegetable if you like.
Enjoy the health promoting benefits of turmeric w/ this turmeric cauliflower rice bowl w/ dill oil! @healthyaperture Tweet this
Turmeric Cauliflower Rice Bowl with Dill Oil
- Dill Oil:
- 1 bunch fresh dill, roughly chopped
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Roasted Squash:
- 16 ounce bag cut butternut squash
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- Cauliflower Rice:
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1/2 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 16-ounce bag cauliflower rice
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1 dash cayenne
- 4 hard boiled eggs, peeled and halved
- 1 bunch watercress, trimmed
- 1/4 cup cashews, toasted and chopped
- 1 cup fermented kraut or vegetables
- First, make the dill oil. In a blender, puree dill, lemon juice, olive oil and garlic. Season with salt to taste. Set aside until ready to use.
- Next, roast the squash. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the squash with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and spread evenly on a large baking sheet. Place in the oven and roast 30-40 minutes until tender and golden, flipping halfway.
- Prepare the cauliflower rice. Heat coconut oil on medium-high heat in a medium skillet. Add garlic and onion and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add cauliflower and spices. Saute, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is tender, about 7 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
- Divide cauliflower rice between four bowls. Top with hard boiled egg halves, watercress, cashews, fermented vegetables and roasted squash. Drizzle with dill oil and serve.