When can babies eat cauliflower?
When steamed to a soft consistency, cauliflower is an excellent first food and can be eaten as soon your baby is ready for solid food, which is generally around 6 months old. Like broccoli, cauliflower is a nutritious vegetable that is easy and fun for young babies to pick up and examine on their own.
Is cauliflower healthy for my baby?
Absolutely. Cauliflower is loaded with vitamin C, which helps our bodies absorb iron—a critical nutrient at this stage of life. Cauliflower is also a great source of vitamin K and B vitamins and is rich in antioxidants that support your baby’s organ function and immune system. Got a constipated baby? Cauliflower might just help things, ahem, move along.
Cauliflower comes in a range colors and varieties, and each one offers different nutrients. For example, green cauliflower contains chlorophyll and more than twice as much vitamin C than the white variety, purple cauliflower is high in anthocyanins (an antioxidant), and orange cauliflower is high in beta-carotene, which aids eye, skin, and immune health. Offering a wide variety of colors of food early on will help stave off picky eating and set your baby up for success.
Is cauliflower a common choking hazard for my baby?
If raw, yes. Raw, hard vegetables pose a choking risk for babies and children under the age of five. When cauliflower is cooked down to a soft consistency (steaming is usually the best method for babies as it yields a softer texture) it is a terrific first food for babies. Removing the stem will also reduce the risk of choking.
To serve steamed cauliflower to a baby starting solid foods, offer the whole floret so that your baby can easily pick it up. Once your baby develops teeth and/or a pincer grasp, cut the cauliflower into smaller pieces, being mindful to remove the stem or cut it in half vertically.
Is cauliflower a common allergen?
No – allergies to cauliflower are rare. That said, one could be allergic to any food in theory. Watch your baby as you introduce a food for the first time and take note of any reactions.
How do you prepare cauliflower for babies with baby-led weaning?
Every baby develops on their own timeline. The preparation suggestions below are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional, one-on-one advice from your pediatric medical or health professional, nutritionist or dietitian, or expert in pediatric feeding and eating. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read or seen here.
6 to 9 months old: Serve steamed, whole cauliflower florets. Bigger is better at this age as small pieces of food will be too challenging and frustrating for your baby to pick up. If you place a cauliflower floret upside down on its head, your baby might pick it up by the stem, making it easier to munch on the head of the floret.
9 to 12 months old: At this age your baby is developing their pincer grasp (where the pointer finger and thumb meet), which makes it easier to pick up smaller pieces of food. As such, you can try moving down in size to small, bite-size pieces of cooked cauliflower. If your baby is having a hard time picking small pieces up, move back up in size. Large pieces of food are completely fine as long as they are cooked to a soft consistency.
12 to 24 months old: As your baby becomes more of an advanced eater, you can decrease the amount of time you are steaming the cauliflower to give your baby the opportunity to chew more. Follow your baby’s ability (and your gut instinct) and explore a variety of ways to incorporate this healthy veggie into your weekly menus.
For more information on how to cut food for babies, visit our page on Food Sizes & Shapes.
Cauliflower has exceptionally high amounts of vitamin C, which helps our bodies absorb (non-heme) iron, a critical nutrient for growing babies. Serve cauliflower alongside a high-iron food, such as lentils, beans, tofu, dark leafy greens, or mushrooms. You can also try experimenting with grated or pureed cauliflower.
Recipe: Lemony Cauliflower
- Cauliflower (one head)
- Avocado or olive oil, or melted unsalted butter
- Wash the cauliflower well and pull off its thick outer leaves.
- Place the cauliflower upside down on a cutting board, and remove the inner stalk by using a sharp knife to carve it away from the head.
- Once the stalk is removed, pull off any remaining outer leaves, then cut the individual florets away from the head. Place the florets in a steaming basket and steam until they are very tender.
- While the cauliflower is steaming, whisk 1 tablespoon of oil or butter in a large mixing bowl with a squeeze of lemon (being careful to catch any seeds that fall out).
- Add in the cooked cauliflower and toss to coat.
- Serve at room temperature.
Given its natural sweetness, cauliflower pairs well with potent flavors and spices, such as cumin, garlic, nutmeg, and saffron.