A new hybrid vegetable is hitting the shelves—here's the DL on what it is and how to eat it.

By Bethany George
Mann's Vegetables

Although it might look like broccoli without a tan, don't throw shade at this new veggie. You can thank Mann's Fresh Vegetables (the company that also invented broccolini, a combo of Chinese Kale and broccoli), for adding caulilini (your new favorite vegetable) to the produce aisle.

What Is Caulilini?

Unlike broccolini—which was crafted by naturally breeding two different veggies together—caulilini is actually 100-percent cauliflower. While Mann's calls it "baby cauliflower" it's not actually a baby version of the cauliflower you usually buy. It’s a cauliflower variety that's popular in Asia but, until now, hadn’t been grown in the U.S.

Caulilini’s stalks are more tender and, as a whole, tastes sweeter than your typical cauliflower. Mann’s spent the past two years developing the perfect strain and to make caulilini available year-round. You can steam, fry, and grill caulilini and use it to ~remix~ your usual salad or stir fry.

And just like with cauliflower and broccoli, the whole stalk is edible, from stem to flower, which cuts down on your food waste and allows for creativity in the kitchen. (Here are some other ways to cook root-to-stem to cut down on food waste).

The Heath Benefits of Caulilini

But it's not all about the flavor—it's also rich in fiber, vitamins B6 and C, and potassium, says Sharon Palmer, R.D.N., of The Plant-Powered Dietitian. Palmer says since caulilini is part of the cruciferous family it has plant-based compounds that help lower inflammation, as well as special phytochemicals that are linked with cancer protection. (More here: The Health Benefits of White Produce)

"It's a great idea to include cruciferous veggies in your diet at least a few times per week and this is another way to do it," she says. (You can also do it with all the epic cauliflower foods Trader Joe's has on sale.)

So, if you’re cauli-obsessed and find yourself broccoli robbed of cooking inspiration—try these caulini recipes below.

Simple Roasted Caulilini

From Dr. BBQ restaurant in St. Petersburg, Florida

Makes: about 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Caulilini, in portion-sized bunches
  • 1/4 cup garlic-infused olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350oF.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the Caulilini with the oil.
  3. Season lightly with salt and pepper, and toss again.
  4. Place in an even layer on a baking sheet.
  5. Roast for 15-20 minutes, just until tender.
  6. Before serving, drizzle a little oil if desired.

Dr. BBQ's Caulilini Soup

From Dr. BBQ restaurant in St. Petersburg, Florida

Makes: about 6 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 stick butter
  • 1-pound Caulilini, coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium leek, washed and chopped
  • 1 large rib celery, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 cups half & half
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons white pepper
  • Chive oil and Caulilini florets for garnish (optional)

Directions

  1. Melt the butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat.
  2. Add the Caulilini, leek, celery, onion and garlic.
  3. Cook, stirring occasionally for 8-10 minutes until the onion is translucent.
  4. Add the flour and stir to incorporate.
  5. Deglaze the pot with the wine.
  6. Add the half & half, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  7. Mix well and bring to a simmer.
  8. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes.
  9. If you have a stick blender, use it to puree the soup until smooth. If not transfer the soup in batches to a blender and puree.
  10. When it's all smooth, push the soup through a strainer to remove any pieces.
  11. Garnish with chive oil and Caulilini florets if desired.

Grilled Ribeye with Fried Caulilini

From Roux restaurant in Tampa, Florida

Makes: 1 serving

Ingredients

  • 20 oz. ribeye steak
  • 1 oz. horseradish sauce
  • 4 oz. raw Caulilini
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 oz. chili Worcestershire sauce

Directions

  1. Season steak with salt and pepper and set aside.
  2. Turn the grill on high heat.
  3. Meanwhile, heat oil on medium heat on the stove top.
  4. Grill steak to your liking, then set aside to rest.
  5. Fry Caulilini in the pan for 20 seconds, then set on a paper towel to drain the oil.
  6. Drizzle chili Worcestershire sauce on the plate.
  7. Place steak on the plate and place fried Caulilini over the steak.
  8. Serve with horseradish sauce on the side.
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