Maple Sesame Cauliflower

Maple Sesame Cauliflower

I have yet to see cauliflower listed on a kid’s menu.  Heck, it isn’t usually on the regular menu because a lot of adults I know won’t eat it either.  But we all should eat it and here’s 5 reasons why:

  1. Don’t let it’s white pallor fool you.  Cauliflower is a nutritional rock star.  It is an excellent source of Vitamin C and K.
  2. One crunchy cup is only 25 calories!
  3.  It is a very good source of potassium, phosphorus and Vitamin B.  Not to mention that you can get Boron from it.  That’s one of the hippest trace minerals out there!
  4. Cauliflower is a cruciferous veggie which have been linked with reducing the risk of cancer.
  5. It has 3 grams of fiber per cup which can help keep you fuller longer.
The only problem is that most of us would rather pop a multi.  Not so  fast because if you are not a fan of cauliflower, research suggest you can grow to love it.  Experts say all you have to do is trick it out a bit.
Craig Johnston, PhD. Baylor College of Medicine, Pediatric Nutrition did several studies on nutrition intervention in children.  In one study he tried getting kids to eat plain raw vegetables.  It was a no go.  Shocker.  But then he gave them the same vegetables with peanut butter to dip it in.  Not only did they eat more vegetables but they tried a wider variety of vegetables!  At first I thought this was really weird.  But when you think about the longevity of the classic snack “ants on a log” it actually starts to make sense.
Actually, this phenomenon is pretty well documented that kids will be more willing to try yucky foods if it is paired with a familiar and yummy food.  Gwen Dewar, PhD. says “If your picky eater is neophobic, or resistant to trying new foods, you can try tricking his palate by pairing new foods with the flavors he loves.”  You can check out her 10 tips for the science-minded parent about getting picky eaters to eat more healthfully.
Dina Rose, PhD recently wrote about this topic:  She points to a study about “flavor preference learning” where kids were given grapefruit juice (eww yucky/bitter.)  The kids who wouldn’t drink plain grapefruit juice were willing to drink it if it was sweetened.  Then after they became familiar with the flavor of the juice and were given unsweetened grapefruit juice they liked it.  Rose says, “It’s unclear exactly why sweetened juice teaches kids to like unsweetened juice. It may be that the sugar doesn’t completely mask the taste of the grapefruit so exposing kids to the sweetened juice still gets them used to the grapefruit flavor.  It may also be that the sweetened juice helps children develop the idea that they like grapefruit juice, and that idea stays with them over time. After all, a lot of what we like is in our minds.”
I’m not really that interested in getting my family to drink more juice, but I am interested in getting them to eat their vegetables. So I applied these tricks to cauliflower and made this simple cauliflower salad. I used just enough Vermont maple syrup to make it “yummy” and watched it disappear off their plates.
Want more ideas for cauliflower? Don’t miss this Ultimate Guide to Cauliflower!

maple sesame cauliflower

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


To make ahead: prepare up to one day ahead, but omit the scallions and stir them in right before serving.



  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup, preferably grade A dark amber

  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce or tamari

  • 1 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar

  • 4 cups cauliflower pieces, about 1/2 head

  • 1/2 cup sliced scallions, about 1/2 bunch
2 teaspoons black and or white sesame seeds, optional


  1. Whisk maple syrup and Dijon in a large bowl until smooth. Whisk in soy sauce or tamari, sesame oil and vinegar. Add cauliflower, scallions and sesame seeds and toss until completely coated.


0 mg Cholesterol, 6 g Added Sugars


  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 114
  • Sugar: 9.8 g
  • Sodium: 379 mg
  • Fat: 5 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 16 g
  • Fiber: 4.5 g
  • Protein: 4 g