The Power of Cauliflower!

Columns Ono, You Know

November 9, 2014

Story By: Alana Folen | Photos by: Nathalie Walker

I’ve always loved the holidays! The magnetic energy, festive cheer, warmth and love provoke the best kind of happiness this time of year.

Yet, with the holidays come the biggest temptation, and somehow I believe I can eat everything in sight without packing on an ounce of weight. I’m demolishing leftover Halloween candy that still seems to haunt me wherever I go, while a pumpkin pie is waiting for me when I get home, along with a fresh batch of caramel corn. Oh, and in preparation for Thanksgiving, I’ve already let myself indulge in buttery mashed potatoes, ham and stuffing. Yup, all this just to preview the ultimate Thanksgiving meal.

I’m a perfectionist, but the truth is I don’t have it all together. I’m not happy with the extra weight I’ve recently put on because I’ve slowly let myself go. So now I’m making a concise effort to get back into my exercise regimen and make healthier food choices without sacrificing taste.

I do believe the food gods are on my side because, this week, I’ve explored the many realms of cauliflower. Here at the following OYK eateries, I immersed my palate into this versatile, nutrient-rich cruciferous vegetable. The light-green cauliflower is most common, and is the perfect alternative to refined carbohydrates without sacrificing the overall flavor and character of a dish. You can only guess what I will be incorporating into my Thanksgiving must-haves this year!


Thanks to GRYLT, healthy eating is a breeze. Owners Allen and Mayu Farinas manage three locales on the island: in Manoa Marketplace, Ala Moana Center’s Makai Food Court and Kahala Mall. GRYLT is based on its “build-your-own-plate-lunch” system, and the owners are rooted in the belief that a nutritious menu filled with creative, chef-inspired food should be efficient and easy to access for those on the go. Simply choose your protein, starch, vegetable and sauce from the menu.

Tri-tip Angus steak is my personal favorite, and in place of a sauce, I like my meat with an extra sprinkle of Hawaiian sea salt. And there’s just enough room on the plate for grilled garden veggies and mashed cauliflower to complete my meal.

So, what exactly is mashed cauliflower? It’s perhaps the best faux version of mashed potatoes!

“It is clean, fresh and wholesome for someone who wants a light starch replacement,” explains Allen of one of GRYLT’s most popular sides ($3.95 a la carte).

For just $1 more, patrons may upgrade any plate with a serving of mashed cauliflower. The cauliflower is steamed to maintain its nutritional value, and then smashed with savory roasted garlic that’s prepared in-house. Lastly, a dash of Hawaiian sea salt and freshly cracked ground pepper, along with drizzles of olive oil are added into the mix.

With Thanksgiving here before we know it, mashed cauliflower may go against the traditional side of potatoes, but GRYLT’s mashed cauliflower is just as filling — it’s bombarded with flavor and has a lot more going for it nutritionally than the typical mashed potato. Eat up!

Kahala Mall
4211 Waialae Ave. (with additional locations at Ala Moana Center and Manoa Marketplace)

Greens & Vines Raw Vegan Gourmet

Greens & Vines chef and owner Sylvia Thompson is 100 percent dedicated to a raw vegan lifestyle, meaning she’s committed to plant-based foods that are not cooked over 118 degrees. Why 118 degrees? That’s the proper temperature to ensure enzymes, nutrients and antioxidants stay alive to aid digestion. As a vegan, Thompson refrains from meat, dairy and eggs.

Located across from Neal Blaisdell Center, Greens & Vines is Hawaii’s only raw vegan gourmet restaurant. Thompson and her staff dispel stereotypes that raw vegan cuisine is boring and bland. On the contrary, Greens & Vines presents a menu full of dishes featuring bold colors, flavors, fresh vegetables and grain substitutions.

Greens & Vines Romanesco "Buffalo" Wings ($8.50)

Greens & Vines Romanesco “Buffalo” Wings ($8.50)

Who said raw vegan enthusiasts can’t get their faux chicken wing fix? They most certainly can with Romanesco “Buffalo” Wings ($8.50), served with a side of Cashew Dill “Ranch” dipping sauce. The cauliflower florets take the place of chicken, as the vegetable is substantially filling as is. Morsels of cauliflower are then tossed in a modified version of the restaurant’s Sun-dried Tomato Raisin Ketchup, with onion, garlic powder, smoky and sweet paprika, ancho chili powder and cayenne seasoning, and then left to dehydrate for an hour.

“Just Add Water, an organic farm in Waimanalo, has been providing us with Romanesco and sometimes yellow cauliflower. Romanesco is a cross between cauliflower and broccoli, but it’s more cauliflower than broccoli,” explains Thompson.

This appetizer was a new one for me, but there’s a first time for everything! The dish definitely resembled a mound of tasty carnivorous Buffalo wings, yet it was anything but that. As I popped a piece into my mouth, my taste buds were more than pleased. The Romanesco was cooked just how I like it, in between tender and firm. And don’t even get me started on the seasoning — I love anything piled with savory and spice, and this was spot on! Trust me, Romanesco “Buffalo” Wings might give the tried-and-true Buffalo wings a run for their money. Best of all, it’s healthy!

Greens & Vines Raw Vegan Gourmet
909 Kapiolani Blvd., Unit B

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