By Holly Bieler
Updated on 05. Nov. 2020

This gorgeous cousin of cauliflower is more than just it's good looks; romanesco is surprisingly healthy as well. Read up on this unique vegetable below.

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  • ...contains chlorophyll.
    Romanesco owes its green color to the natural coloring agent chlorophyll, which helps to detox the blood, keep the gut healthy and boost the immune system, among other benefits.
  • heart-healthy.
    Romanesco contains around 280 milligrams of potassium, a powerful mineral which helps keep the heart in rhythm. It also contains a significant amount of vitamin K, which helps heart and circulation health.
  • ...helps keep blood healthy.
    The chlorophyll in Romanesco is also called green blood for good reason: its chemical structure is almost the same as that of the red blood pigment, haemoglobin. Chlorophyll therefore helps promote the formation of new blood cells and the transportation of oxygen throughout the body.
  • a good diet food.
    Romanesco is low in calories and fat, but packed with fiber, which helps keep you full for a long time and is a natural appetite suppressant.
  • rich in vitamin C.
    100 g of romanesco covers your full daily requirement of vitamin C, which helps keep the immune system healthy.
  • easy on the stomach.
    Unlike other types of cabbage, romanesco is relatively easy to digest, making it tolerable for people even with sensitive stomachs.

What You Should Know About Romanesco

Romanesco is a member of the brassica family, which includes cabbage, kale and cauliflower. And while it might have a similar taste and nutritional makeup to its brassica cousins, from the outside romanesco is a vegetable all its own. Vivid green and bursting with intricate florets, romanesco is one of the most beautiful vegetables around, not to mention one of the oldest. Romanesco has been farmed for consumption for at least 400 years.


Romanesco originates from the Mediterranean region.


Romanesco is cultivated in only a few parts of the world, mainly in Italy and parts of the eastern United States, and has two flowering seasons: spring or early fall.


Romanesco tastes like a combination of cauliflower and broccoli, though if you could it for a long time, it begins to taste more like cabbage. 

How Healthy is Romanesco?

The gorgeous green hue for which romanesco is most widely known is also the source of many of its powerful health benefits. Romanesco gains its color from chlorophyll, a natural coloring agent which is also known as "green blood", and for good reason. Chlorophyll's chemical structure is almost the same as that of the red blood pigment haemoglobin, making it a powerful substance when it comes to keeping the blood healthy. Chlorophyll helps promote the formation of new blood cells, detoxify the blood, and supports the transportation of oxygen throughout the body, among other benefits. Beyond blood health, chlorophyll supports bodily healthy in a variety of other ways, including helping to keep the gut and intestinal flora healthy, heal wounds and boost immune system function. 

Romanesco is also a good source of a variety of vitamins and minerals, including potassium, which helps keep the heart in rhythm, and vitamin C, which supports healthy immune function. It's also packed with fiber while being low in calories and fat, making romanesco a perfect dieting food.

Calories 22
Protein 2.4 g
Fat 0.3 g
Carbohydrates 2.3 g
Fiber 3 g

Shopping and Cooking Tips


When it comes to buying romanesco, take your cue from the florets; crisp, green and firm florets mean the romanesco is fresh, while even the slightest bit of wilting or discoloration often means the romanesco is past its prime and has lost much of its flavor and nutrients. 


The sooner you consume romanesco, the better, as the longer it sits, the less flavorful and nutritious it becomes. That said, kept in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator, romanesco should stay fresh for up to 4 days. 


Preparing romanesco only takes a few minutes. First, remove the stem base and the outer leaves with a knife. Next, wash the romanesco head briefly under running water. Finally, cut off the florets, which are the most-commonly used part of the romanesco for cooking. 

To prevent it from losing its pretty green colour during cooking, it is best to cook romanesco as briefly as possible. Cut it into small florets and blanch it in salted water only long enough to give it a bite.

What to Make With Romanesco

The younger the romanesco is, the better suited it is for raw comsumption. A young, tender romanesco has an earthy flavor when consumed raw, and sliced into thin rounds makes a beautiful addition to nearly any salad.

That said, cooked romanesco is by far the most popular way of consuming romanesco, as even a little bit of cooking nullifies its bitterness while amplifying its tasty earthy flavor. Whether whole or cut into florets, cooking romanesco quickly in salted water will make it more digestible and tastier for more palletes, and as long as you keep cooking time short, shouldn't effect its beautiful green color or nutrient count.

Cooked romanesco is perfect in a variety of dishes, from soups to gratins to a pretty vegetable garnish. As a rule of thumb, in almost any recipe you can easily substitute romanesco for cauliflower. 

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