Don’t Forget That Healthy Side Dish!

Don’t Forget That Healthy Side Dish!

When I say “vegetable side dish,” what do you think of? I’ll bet the images that come to your mind are visions of limp broccoli, canned green beans, and soggy frozen green peas that have been microwaved into oblivion. For many of us, side dishes are an afterthought. If you really want to make an impression on your family and friends, treat them to vegetables that can compete with your perfectly grilled chicken, or stellar salmon dish.

This savory cauliflower and mushroom casserole from Recipe4Living is a perfect example of a simple side dish that can stand on its own. It doesn’t need your stellar salmon to be a star.

Snow-white cauliflower, an amazing cruciferous vegetable known for its cancer fighting benefits, is the star of this dish. Cauliflower is thought to be especially supportive for lung, colon, breast, ovarian and bladder cancers.

Then we add mushrooms. I can’t say enough about this fungus that most of us consider a vegetable.  These slightly pungent, spongy fungi are super high in selenium, vitamin B2, copper, vitamin B3, tryptophan, potassium, phosphorus and zinc. Mushrooms contain powerful phytonutrients that contribute to overall health, as well as protecting us against certain cancers such as breast cancer.

Now that we’ve identified the stars of our side dish, we can’t forget the supporting characters – onion, celery, garlic, Panko breadcrumbs and just a bit of nutty Parmesan cheese will complete our perfect side dish.  Have I convinced you that your next side dish doesn’t have to be limp and soggy, but could be flavorful and nutritious?

Give it a try, and I’ll bet you find your stellar salmon is still on the plate, while your delectable side dish is gone in a flash!

Savory Italian Cauliflower and Mushroom Casserole

3 cups cauliflower, chopped into small florets
1 tablespoon olive oil
¾ cup onion, chopped
¾ cup celery, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
4 cups mushroom, sliced
¾ cup vegetable broth
1 ½ tsp Herbes de Provence
¾ cup Panko bread crumbs
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Steam cauliflower in a steamer basket in a large pan filled with 2″ water over medium high heat for 4 – 5 minutes until crisp-tender.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add onions, celery, garlic, mushrooms, Herbes de Provence and vegetable broth. Cook for 4 – 5 minutes until vegetables are crisp-tender and sauce reduces.
  4. Combine mushroom mixture with cauliflower.
  5. Spray a medium sized baking dish with cooking spray and add cauliflower and mushroom mixture.
  6. Combine Panko breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese in a small bowl and then spread over vegetable mixture. Spray with olive oil cooking spray to allow for browning.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes until vegetables are tender and top is lightly browned.

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 119, Total Fat: 3.84g, Cholesterol: 2mg, Sodium: 244mg, Total Carbs: 16.42g, Dietary Fiber: 2.85g, Sugars: 3.70g, Protein: 5.66g, Weight Watchers Points 2

Nutrition details obtained from,,, and I am not a licensed nutritionist. I am currently a student at ACHS, working on a nutrition certification. Any advice in this column is strictly my opinion. Consult a licensed professional if you have health concerns.

It’s important to me that people have the ability to make good food choices, so Mother Rimmy’s Cooking Light Done Right  provides nutrition information and Weight Watchers points for every recipes.  I hope you’ll take the time to see what I’m cooking now.  -Kristi Rimkus

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