Many, having first seen this vegetable, ask themselves the question: is it cauliflower or broccoli? In fact, this is Romanesco, or Roman cabbage, the inflorescences of which are not just edible, but very tasty and healthy.
What is romanesco
Romanesco cabbage is a member of the Cruciferous family, the most famous representatives of which are different varieties of cabbage. Yes, and Romanesco is also a type of garden cabbage. In appearance, it resembles a colored one, but its pale green flowers form intricate pyramids arranged in a spiral, which gives the vegetable a special beauty. The "construction" of Roman cabbage consists of smaller elements that mimic the shape of a large inflorescence, and they, in turn, are formed from an even larger number of smaller copies. And all of them are built with mathematical precision in smooth spirals. Exciting, right?
Compared to cauliflower, Romanesco after cooking is more tender and has a sweetish aftertaste. Compared to broccoli, its stems are shorter and softer, due to which it is quickly prepared and suitable for use in raw form. And the most delicious inflorescences are small, about 10 cm wide.
This bright green vegetable looks rather strange, but very beautiful. It is enough only to see Romanesco once - and it is definitely not to be confused with other vegetables. Outwardly, it is so bizarre that some sometimes joke that aliens planted this cabbage on Earth, while other jokers even consider it a decorative plant.
Today it is generally accepted that Romanesco is a mixture of cauliflower and broccoli. Although some researchers disprove such a theory, since, according to their calculations, Roman existed long before cauliflower. They say that the Etruscans who lived in the first millennium BC were the first to grow it. It was they who brought this culture to Tuscany, from where Roman cabbage spread to other regions. According to another version, this culture was first discovered in Italy in the 16th century. But despite such a long history, the vegetable entered the world market only in the 90s of the twentieth century. This explains why Roman cabbage is not so popular and less studied than its "sisters."
Benefits for humans
By aroma it reminds cauliflower, but with a light nutty “flavor”. Scientists and nutritionists consider Romanesco one of the most easily digestible vegetables. But in addition to its amazing appearance, this vegetable boasts no less amazing chemical composition. And although scientists continue to explore the features of this culture, even on the basis of what has already been learned about it, we can say that this is one of the most useful vegetables on the planet.
Romanesco is a low-calorie diet product with rich reserves of vitamins and minerals, making it ideal for a vegetarian diet.
As part of the vegetable, scientists found vitamins B, A, K, C, folic acid, fiber (albeit slightly less than broccoli), iron, manganese, carotene, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids and useful amino acids. And most importantly, it is an easily tolerated food for people with a sensitive stomach.
Similarly to other cruciferous romanesco, it is famous for many health benefits. Having studied the properties of this "cosmic" cabbage, scientists came to the conclusion that it has amazing properties. In the body, it works as:
- antiviral agent;
- antibacterial drug;
- antimicrobial agent;
In addition, the vegetable protects the eyes, strengthens the immune system, improves the functioning of the heart, blood vessels, organs of the respiratory system, has benefits for healthy bones and muscles, cleanses the blood and protects the central nervous system (brain, spinal cord, nerve endings). Romanesco helps fight viral infections, is useful for treating influenza and the common cold, improves lung health, activates brain function and has beneficial effects on muscle tissue.
What science says
In Romanesco cabbage, scientists found a flavonoid compound known as kempferol. It is believed to be able to destroy cancer cells and prevent the formation of new ones. Among other properties of kempferol are called anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, cardio and neuroprotective effects.
This flavonoid is able to prevent diabetes, osteoporosis, allergies, has analgesic properties and regulates hormones.
There are chemical compounds in cabbage such as sulforaphane and isothiocyanates, which increase the ability of the liver to remove carcinogenic toxins, thereby preventing malignant transformation of cells. The anticancer effectiveness of these substances has been laboratory-proven on the cells of the bladder, breast, colon, prostate and ovaries.
High carotenoid content improves the appearance and tone of the skin. The rich reserves of iron, folic acid and vitamin C (100 grams of vegetables have a daily rate of ascorbic acid) make Roman cabbage an excellent choice for those who struggle with anemia and infertility. And people with a lack of taste or a “metallic” taste in their mouths say that romanceco helps to eliminate these symptoms. Researchers say it's all due to zinc.
It also helps regulate blood sugar, control inflammation, and improve bone density. Fiber, which is part of the vegetable, improves digestion, while providing a feeling of "fullness", which is useful for maintaining a healthy body weight. And low calorie content makes the product an ideal ingredient in a diet for weight loss. Since Roman cabbage is a cruciferous family, it contains glucosinolates - sulfur and nitrogen compounds that naturally cleanse the kidneys.
List of Romanesco Benefits
- Improves eyesight. Inflorescences contain a lot of vitamin A, which is necessary for the proper functioning of the eyes. This vitamin prevents macular degeneration leading to visual impairment.
- Reduces the risk of cancer. This delicious vegetable is rich in vitamin C, one of the antioxidant substances that have been proven to be effective in the fight against cancer.
- Improves circulation. Iron stores in cabbage help increase red blood cell production. And the more red blood cells, the more oxygen and nutrients are transported throughout the body.
- Activates brain function. Improving blood circulation enhances brain functioning. The more oxygen the brain cells receive, the more active they are and the shorter the response time of neurons.
- Kills infections. Many antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals found in Romanesco are known as the best defenders against infections. Therefore, Roman cabbage is one of the best vegetables for the prevention of many diseases.
- Improves the digestive system. Like cauliflower or broccoli, Romanesco is rich in dietary fiber, which plays a key role in the functioning of the digestive organs and in cleansing the body of toxins.
- Lowers cholesterol and sugar. Thanks to fiber, Roman cabbage is useful for regulating the "fat" and "sweetness" of blood.
- Strengthens the heart. Thanks to iron, vitamin K, omega-3 fatty acids, as well as B vitamins, lovers of Roman cabbage can significantly improve the condition of the heart, supplying it with all the necessary substances.
- Protects from free radicals. Fiber and antioxidants are essential in the fight against free radicals that are known to cause cancer and other serious health problems.
|Calorie content||30 kcal|
|Vitamin A||3 mcg|
|Vitamin C||70 mg|
|Vitamin B1||0.1 mg|
|Vitamin B2||0.1 mg|
|Vitamin B3||0.6 mg|
|Vitamin B4||45.2 mg|
|Vitamin B5||0.9 mg|
|Vitamin B6||0.2 mg|
|Vitamin B9||23 mg|
|Vitamin E||0.2 mg|
|Vitamin K||1 mcg|
Romanesco contains a large amount of fiber, and this can be a problem against the background of some diseases. In acute digestive disorders, Roman cabbage provokes bloating, with some cardiac diseases it affects the pressure inside the body. Cruciferous vegetables are not recommended for people with thyroid dysfunction. For some, the combination of romanesco and vinegar (or other acidic sauces) causes reflux.
Avoiding Roman cabbage is important for individuals with individual intolerance to vegetables, although such cases are rare.
How to cook
With this vegetable, in almost any recipe, you can replace cauliflower or broccoli. The delicate texture and sweet-nutty flavor allow you to combine Roman cabbage with a variety of ingredients. It perfectly "fits" into a plate with pasta or other stewed vegetables, goes well with cheese, and Italians often add it to their favorite pizza. The best taste is manifested in young inflorescences. The leaves of this cabbage are also edible, but they can be very bitter.
This vegetable without remorse can be fried, stewed, grilled or steamed, consumed raw or cooked from it a gentle puree. In this case, Romanesco reaches its readiness much faster than other types of cabbage. Short heat treatment allows you to save the maximum amount of nutrients in the product. Experts advise to cook inflorescences no longer than 10 minutes, and for a couple of the desired consistency they reach in 5-7 minutes.
To maximize the benefits of the vegetable, you need to choose and store it correctly. Useful romanesco is primarily fresh romanesco. Only solid heads should be bought, without signs of rotting, damage, mold, and the leaves should be fresh and green. A fresh and juicy vegetable will always seem a little harder for its size.
It is advisable to store the fruit in the refrigerator in tightly closed packaging.
What to cook from Roman cabbage
Different peoples have their own gastronomic preferences regarding what to cook from Roman cabbage. The Italians, in whose culinary tradition this vegetable is almost national, prepare hundreds of various dishes from it. It is nice that even after heat treatment, Romanesco retains its delicate color.
The easiest way to fry cabbage pyramids in olive oil with garlic. Many love boiled romanesco flavored with white wine vinegar and olive oil. It is possible that by dinner, Italians can serve a mix of Romanesco, broccoli and cauliflower, and chicken or pasta to it. Americans prefer Roman vegetables with cheese sauce. Another variant of the cheese-cabbage combination: put a little steamed romanesco on a baking sheet, greased with oil, and sprinkle with grated cheese. Send to the oven for a couple of minutes - only to melt the cheese. The “folk” recipe from oriental cuisine suggests lightly fried Roman and Beijing cabbage (other vegetables can be added if desired). Season with sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger. In a word, how many cooks - so many recipes.
Steamed Garlic Romanesco
For this dish you will need 1 head of Roman cabbage, half a teaspoon of sea salt and black pepper, 1 minced garlic clove, 1 lemon zest, a tablespoon of olive oil.
Mix all the spices. Rinse the cabbage and cut into 4 parts. Grate romanesco with a mixture of spices and place in a double boiler. Cook for 4-6 minutes. Cooked cabbage should still remain crispy (soft inflorescences are a sign of overcooked vegetable). It goes well with rice. As a side dish, it is suitable for meat or fish.
How to grow
Despite the fact that the homeland of Romanesco is sunny Italy, it is a frost-resistant plant, so there is every chance to harvest Roman cabbage in our latitudes.
This culture is grown in two ways: from seeds or seedlings. Seeds are sown in April, and when the third real leaf appears (around May), transplanted to a permanent place, observing a distance of 50-60 cm.To care and grow according to the example of broccoli, however, agronomists warn: romance is more capricious than other types of cabbage. She prefers alkaline soil, good watering, moist air, regular top dressing and does not tolerate sharp temperature fluctuations.
Romanesco is considered one of the most beautiful vegetables in the world. This cabbage resembles a sea shell to one, to a magnificent Christmas tree to others, and still others look at it for some more intricate pictures. But no matter what is considered in the appearance of this fractal cabbage, its “internal component” will not change because of this: the romanceco belongs to the most healthy vegetables known to mankind.