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Is Cauliflower White Broccoli?

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There are so many different types of vegetables out there; it can get confusing trying to remember all of the different names!

Two of the most popular vegetables used in most homes are broccoli and cauliflower. However, these two can cause some confusion, and many people think that cauliflower and broccoli are really just the same thing, only a different color.

So, is cauliflower white broccoli? Cauliflower is not white broccoli, even though the two look very similar. Both have their own taste, texture, and nutritional profiles, which are fairly different from each other. The appearance of cauliflower and broccoli means they are grouped together in one species, but that’s about it.

There are quite a few differences between broccoli and cauliflower, enough that cauliflower should not be called white broccoli. To better understand why they should not be considered the same thing, you need to understand the difference.

Why Cauliflower Isn’t White Broccoli

It is fairly easy to see why someone would call cauliflower white broccoli. At first glance, the two look very similar, with florets growing from a center stem. They are roughly the same size, with broccoli coming out slightly smaller most times.

Even though the two vegetables come from the same ancient cabbage, they have descended from different plants further down the line, and this is why their appearance and shape is about the only thing that they really share – other than both being really good to include in your diet!

Looking very similar to each other, and often being used together in cooking, broccoli and cauliflower do seem like the same plant, just a different color – but cauliflower definitely isn’t just white broccoli!

The Difference Between Broccoli And Cauliflower

There are certain qualities that cauliflower and broccoli share, but there are also many differences between them. Broccoli has some benefits and features that cauliflower doesn’t, and the same is true the other way round.

The unique colors, nutrition, and taste mean that they deserve to be classified as their own vegetables, and they should be celebrated as such!

To better know why cauliflower shouldn’t just be called white broccoli, here are the differences between the two, to show that they are not as similar as some people would think!

The Structure Of Broccoli And Cauliflower

Many people group broccoli and cauliflower together as the same vegetable because of how similar they look. However, upon closer inspection, you would see that the two, while similar at surface level, have quite different structures.

The stem of a cauliflower grows together in a dense formation; it is a solid mass that only branches out close to the florets. This thicker stem helps to support the weight of a cauliflower head, which can grow to be quite large.

The stem of a broccoli head is different, with the stalks not as closely bunched together, and separate low down on the base of the stem. There is more space between the different stalks and stems on a broccoli head, and they aren’t as closely bunched together as they are on cauliflower.

The same is true for the florets. Cauliflower florets are very closely bunched together, with little to no space between them at all. These are easily separated when the stalks are cut, but otherwise, they form a dense canopy over the stem.

Broccoli florets are more spread out and are easily broken apart. They are not as tightly grown together as cauliflower, and look very similar to the top of a full-grown tree!

The Color Of Broccoli And Cauliflower

It is easy to see the difference in color between cauliflower and broccoli, with cauliflower being white and broccoli being green. However, there are different varieties of each, and while green and white are the most common colors, you can come across some others.

While you will mostly find the green type, you also get purple broccoli. This is due to a pigment found that turns the broccoli a deep purple-blue color, which usually helps it to be more cold-resistant. A mutation can also cause this to happen.

Cauliflower also has some variations, which aren’t nearly as common as white cauliflower. These variations include a bright purple cauliflower, or a yellow-orange version.

While you might come across these variations, it is still easy to tell them apart, as their structural differences are still quite apparent, and they will hold some of the green or white hues which are unique to either cauliflower or broccoli. If not by appearance, the taste will help you tell the two apart!

Different Varieties Of Broccoli And Cauliflower

Both broccoli and cauliflower have their own varieties, with each having a few common types to be found.

Cauliflower has more major varieties than broccoli, with four main types, such as Asian cauliflower, European annuals, Italian, and European biennials.

Broccoli has two main varieties – Calabrese and sprouting. The Calabrese variety of broccoli is more common, while sprouting broccoli can be found in some areas on occasion.

These major varieties each have their own smaller varieties and colors of either broccoli and cauliflower, some being more common in certain areas than others. However, most of us are most familiar with the white and green types!

Benefits Of Broccoli And Cauliflower

Broccoli and cauliflower are two vegetables that should definitely be included in a healthy, balanced diet.

The two are similar, with all the great nutritional benefits that they hold, but both broccoli and cauliflower have some unique benefits of their own.

Both broccoli and cauliflower are rich in fiber and vitamin C, which is vital in our daily diets, but these can be found in other vegetables as well, although broccoli does boast a good amount of fiber per serving.

If you are looking for the lower-calorie food, cauliflower would be the better option, as it does contain fewer calories than broccoli. However, broccoli contains a good amount of vitamin A, which is something that cauliflower does not have.

The Taste Of Broccoli And Cauliflower

Broccoli and cauliflower have very different tastes, with broccoli being easier on the palate than cauliflower.

Some people also choose to eat broccoli raw instead of cooking it, to preserve the nutritional benefits. However, cauliflower is most commonly cooked before being served.

Both can be enjoyed on their own with their unique flavors, but they are also great ingredients to add to different meals and make a healthy dish!

All About Cauliflower

With the number of nutrients and benefits that cauliflower holds, it is unfair to just refer to it as white broccoli!

There are so many reasons why you should include cauliflower in your diet, and here are some of them:

  • Cauliflower is rich in fiber, which is ideal to help boost digestion. Eating cauliflower regularly helps to improve digestion and prevent constipation.
  • The fiber found in cauliflower can also help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems.
  • As cauliflower contains choline, it can help to boost learning and memory. 
  • The different nutrients and natural compounds found in cauliflower can help to detoxify the body, which makes it a great food to include in a healthy diet.
  • Some compounds in cauliflower can help to reduce inflammation.
  • Being low in calories, cauliflower can aid with weight loss.

Nutritional Content

A single serving, 1 cup or 107 grams of cauliflower, cooked or raw, has the following nutritional content:

  • 25 calories
  • 0g fat
  • 5g carbohydrates
  • 2g fiber
  • 2g sugar
  • 2g protein
  • 30mg sodium

One serving of cauliflower contains the following vitamins and nutrients:

  • 100% daily recommended amount of vitamin C
  • 2% daily calcium and iron
  • 25% daily vitamin K
  • 6% daily potassium
  • 3% daily magnesium


Cauliflower has quite a unique taste that some people love, and others find a bit off-putting. The taste is quite nutty, earthy, and with a slightly sweet flavor too.

It is crunchy when not cooked fully, and the fairly mild flavor does help it blend in with meals and different dishes.

All About Broccoli

Broccoli is known to be very healthy and beneficial in a balanced diet and can help provide you with many different vitamins and nutrients.

There are many different benefits that broccoli has to offer:

  • Broccoli is a rich source of minerals, vitamins, and fiber.
  • Broccoli contains antioxidants that help to promote healthy cells and ti.ssues and help to boost the immune system
  • Several bioactive compounds found in broccoli have an anti-inflammatory effect.
  • Including broccoli regularly in your diet can help to lower blood sugar levels and is good for diabetics.
  • Broccoli can help to support healthy, regular bowel movements.
  • There is a high vitamin C content in broccoli, which is vital to support the immune system.
  • Calcium, vitamin K, and phosphorus found in broccoli can help to maintain healthy, strong bones.

Nutritional Content

A single serving, 1 cup or 91 grams of broccoli, cooked or raw, has the following nutritional content:

  • 31 calories
  • 2.5g protein
  • 6g carbohydrates
  • 1.5g sugar
  • 2.4g fiber
  • 0.4g fat
  • 30mg sodium

One serving of broccoli contains the following vitamins and nutrients:

  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Potassium
  • Phosphorous
  • Zinc
  • Thiamin
  • Riboflavin
  • Niacin
  • Folate
  • Vitamins A, B6, B12, D, E, and K


Broccoli has an herbaceous and earthy taste. It does have a slightly grassy flavor, which would be expected from a vegetable with a deep green color, and when raw, broccoli has a slightly bitter taste.

The flavor is strong when eaten raw, and it does balance out more when it is cooked. Spices and herbs can also be added to broccoli to make it tastier!

Why Some Think Cauliflower Is White Broccoli

It isn’t surprising that some might thank that cauliflower is white broccoli. The two look very similar, with the florets flowering from the stem, and with them being fairly similar in size, and even sold together at times.

However, cauliflower is not white broccoli and is its own vegetable with its own benefits and unique qualities.

For those who do not enjoy the two vegetables too often, they would seem to be the same thing, or close to the same thing, but if you use broccoli and cauliflower often, you will know how unique each one is, and how they need to be prepared and enjoyed differently too.

Is White Broccoli A Real Vegetable?

White broccoli is not a real vegetable, and if someone is referring to white broccoli, chances are that they are talking about cauliflower.

There is a variety of broccoli, or rather a mutation that occurs, that can cause broccoli to be white. This can be confusing to tell the difference between broccoli and cauliflower if the broccoli is white, but the structural difference should still be unique to each.

There is no vegetable called white broccoli, and if you ask someone for white broccoli, they will more than likely give you cauliflower!

Broccoli And Cauliflower – Different Cultivar Groups

Broccoli and cauliflower both belong to the Brassicaceae family, which is the same family that Brussel sprouts and cabbage belong to, but they belong to different cultivar groups.

Cauliflower belongs to the Botrytis cultivar group, and broccoli belongs to the Italica cultivar group.

As these vegetables belong to different cultivar groups, it is incorrect to refer to cauliflower as white broccoli, as they are two very different vegetables, even though they might have a similar appearance.

Which Is Healthier?

There is no doubt that both cauliflower and broccoli are great vegetables to include in your diet, and while one might have more of a certain nutrient or vitamin than the other, and vice versa, you can’t go wrong with eating healthy amounts of either!

To see which is healthier, or which is better to include in your diet, here is a breakdown of what each contains.

Broccoli (1 cup, 91 grams)Cauliflower (1 cup, 107 grams)
Vitamin C90% Daily Value (DV)57% DV
Vitamin K77% DV14% DV
Vitamin B69% DV12% DV
Folate14% DV15% DV
Potassium6% DV7% DV
Copper5% DV5% DV
Thiamine5% DV5% DV
Riboflavin8% DV5% DV
Manganese8% DV7% DV
Phosphorus5% DV4% DV
Vitamin E5% DV1% DV
Magnesium5% DV4% DV

To determine whether broccoli or cauliflower is healthier than the other, you would have to consider the nutrients, vitamins, or nutritional benefits that are most important to you.

Both are low in calories and high in fiber, and both contain great vitamins and nutrients.

Related Questions

How Does Cauliflower Grow White?

Cauliflower grows white because as the cauliflower florets grow, they are completely covered by the large cauliflower leaves.

Some farmers choose to tie the biggest outer leaves of a cauliflower plant closed, to prevent the florets from coming into contact with sunlight.

This prevents chlorophyll development, which is what causes the green color in many different vegetables.

Is Cauliflower Always White?

Many of us are only used to the white cauliflower, which is the most common variety. However, cauliflower varieties do come in different colors. There is a bright purple type of cauliflower, and even a yellow and orange cauliflower too!

While these aren’t as common, they can be grown and enjoyed just the same as white cauliflower.

Is Purple Cauliflower Better Than White Cauliflower?

Purple cauliflower gets its color from anthocyanins, which is an antioxidant that has many great health benefits. For this reason, purple cauliflower is wonderfully beneficial and healthy, but white cauliflower is also a very nutritious vegetable.

There is also a purple version of broccoli, which we have a whole other article explaining!

Up Next: How To Tell If Broccoli Is Bad – The Ultimate Guide

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