Off to the market to buy some delicious vegetables and your eyes fall upon beautiful florets of cauliflower and broccoli and suddenly questions arise. Are they the same vegetable? Are they related? Is cauliflower just albino broccoli?
Well, both broccoli and cauliflower are from the same species known as Brassicaceae. They both are innately the immature flowers of cabbage. Though immature, both of them are highly nutritious and delicious.
For a lot of reasons, these two vegetables are often confused for one another, even though they possess striking differences in colour. Broccoli is green whereas cauliflower is white. But both of them have florets. Is it because of that? Maybe.
Let’s try and find out answers to all these questions today. But first, what exactly are broccoli and cauliflower?
What Are Cauliflower And Broccoli?
Cauliflower is a vegetable with a solid, dense, edible white flesh that looks like a ball of florets having a mild, sweet flavour.
Whereas Broccoli is a vegetable with thick green stalks and condensed green flowering head having a very green taste.
Is Cauliflower Just White Broccoli?
Absolutely no! Cauliflowers are not white broccoli. While both the vegetables appear to have bunched florets growing from the centre, the difference is in the way the florets are spread. Broccoli has spread out green florets whereas cauliflower has closely bunched white florets.
They are not only different in colour, floret composition but also in nutritional profiles.
Both are derived from the ancient vegetable cabbage but from different parts. The similarity in appearance that they share is due to their same species classification. But their unique colours, groups and structure make a good difference.
Let’s list down the differences these two beautiful, healthy and nutritious vegetables have.
Difference Between Cauliflower & Broccoli
There are a lot of features that differ in broccoli and cauliflower. These differences clarify the point that cauliflower is not white broccoli.
Their structure of florets is different.
If you look closer, you will surely notice this difference. Surely, broccoli and cauliflower look alike but on keen observation, you will see visible structural differences.
You would be able to see the stalks of broccoli easily but not the stalks of cauliflower amidst the solid mass it has.
The florets of cauliflower are bunched together while those of broccoli are spread out. It is the most basic feature that is quite visible to note the difference in both.
Each of them possesses different varieties.
There are four major types of cauliflower found in the markets. They include Italian, Northern European annuals, Northwest European biennials and Asian cauliflower.
Whereas broccoli is categorized into two types namely calabrese and sprouting broccoli. Calabrese broccoli is the most common type of broccoli and sprouting broccoli is quite a rare variety. These two vegetables possess numerous varieties in each of these categories.
They have different colours.
Generally, cauliflower is white and broccoli is green but there are various mutations available.
Although very rarely, you may find white broccoli, their florets are further apart than cauliflower and are smaller as well.
At times you may find purple broccoli as well. This broccoli is a very cold-resistant version. Like purple asparagus, the colour comes from the natural mutation but the inside of the vegetable still remains the same old green.
Talking about cauliflower’s colour variants, you may find vibrant purple or yellow-orange colours.
They have a different flavour.
You must have noticed the difference in flavour cauliflower and broccoli have. While broccoli has a taste of green, cauliflower has a mild and sometimes even sweet flavour to it. Broccoli tends to be easier on the palate than cauliflower in terms of its flavour but seriously it depends on personal preferences.
They come from different cultivar groups.
Although broccoli and cauliflower belong to the same family Brassicaceae which includes cabbage and Brussel sprouts, they have different cultivar groups. Broccoli is a member of the Italica cultivar group whereas cauliflower is a part of the Botrytis cultivar group.
Their names have different meanings.
While the word ‘broccoli’ is derived from Italian and it means ‘flowering crest of cabbage’, the word cauliflower comes from Latin origins and means "the flowers of a cabbage."
They have slightly different nutritional benefits.
Both broccoli and cauliflower are highly nutritious and rich in Vitamin C and fibres. The difference is that broccoli contains Vitamin A which is absent in cauliflower and cauliflower has fewer calories compared to broccoli.
As both broccoli and cauliflower are derived from cabbage heads and hence known as cruciferous vegetables, they both are highly similar but not the same.
While we all have heard about numerous health benefits of broccoli and how amazing it is for our body, we surely know quite a little about cauliflower. Hence, from antioxidant properties to its flavour broccoli is considered better.
But in order to judge the better one, we must first take a look into the benefits cauliflower has as well.
Benefits Of Using Cauliflower
There are numerous health benefits from using cauliflower. We have listed them below for you.
Boosting digestion – As cauliflower is rich in fibre and water, which are essential in maintaining a healthy digestive tract, they help prevent constipation and reduce the risk for colon cancer as well.
Boosting memory – It contains choline: a vitamin-like substance that is essential in boosting memory. Choline aids in the transmission of nerve impulses, maintains the structure of cellular membranes and enhances the absorption of fats.
Reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases – Cauliflower is full of fibres that help reduce heart-related issues and keep cardiovascular diseases at bay.
Reducing inflammation – The bioactive compounds present in cauliflower are known to reduce inflammation.
Detoxifying the body – The natural compounds present in cauliflower help deactivate the potentially harmful chemicals within the body thereby detoxifying it.
Although cauliflower has a strong taste, using spices, herbs and garlic you can easily tame that flavour and have delicious and nutritious benefits. There are many ways in which cauliflowers can be incorporated into your daily diet.
The Wrap Up
Both broccoli and cauliflower belong to the same family of plants and thus share various similarities in terms of appearance, nutritional value and potential health benefits.
Now we definitely know that cauliflower and broccoli, though sharing similarities, are not the same vegetable. In the end, it is on your personal preference which one you prefer over the other but they mostly behave the same in most of the recipes.
While broccoli has a slight upper hand when it comes to nutrition, cauliflower has an upper hand when it comes to the calorie count. Both of these vegetables are delicious and highly nutritious. So, include them in your daily diet to enjoy the flavour and benefits they have to offer.
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