Cauliflower convert - stay with me!
So the humble cauliflower may have had a bad wrap in your household, especially in the years gone by or in more recent times, possibly when eating at your local bowlo. We've all had the squishy, slightly grey tinged, over-boiled version, but trust me on this one, I've converted so many people with this recipe, you'll never look back.
"Cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education"
Poor cauli, he's really just a little miss understood! For way too long, our cauli's were most likely just boiled and steamed, with some even pureed into an equally visually unappealing and often tasteless, soup concoction. It's time to rethink the glorious little fella and throw out those old cooking methods and to let this beautiful head of creamy, chunky, goodness truely shine.
Change is as good as a holiday!
So many vegetable flavours these days can be changed completely, just by changing your cooking method. I'm not talking about getting rid of some of our most beautiful comfort food moments like our beloved mash potato and pizza crusts. Many of you (myself included) may have tried to sub your cauliflower in for a healthier version but for me, sometimes you do just have to leave those glorious items in their original state (I mean with potatoes and flour!), just because!
Our cauliflower can be superbly changed in other ways, by just tossing bite sized florets into some olive oil with a good pinch of sea salt and pepper and roasting it at 180C deg for around 35mins or until it starts to charr and get those yummy caramelized bits on the edges. You heard it here folks, this is the game changer. It can be eaten as a star ingredient in a mix of warm roasted veggies or even at room temp in a delicious salad.
Warm winter salad for easy mid-week cooking
This recipe is a staple in my household and one I take to just about every gathering where a dish is required. It's great eaten warm or room temp and it's a one-tray-bake to make things nice and easy for a mid-week dinner.
Warm roasted cauliflower salad, with roasted walnuts, lentils & currants
1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into bite sized chunks
1-2 tbsp olive oil
sea salt and pepper
1/2 red onion, cut into wedges
1/2 cup walnuts, 1/2 kept whole, others roughly chopped
small combined handful of pepitas and sunflower seeds (optional)
1/4 cup currants
200g (1/2 tin) brown lentils, drained and rinsed
1/2 bunch parsley, roughly chopped
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp dijon mustard
sea salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 180C and line an oven tray with baking paper.
Toss chopped cauliflower, onion, walnuts and seeds in 1 tbsp of olive oil (use enough oil so all the cauliflower is coated, sometimes you need a slightly more depending on the size of your cauliflower). Spread onto your lined tray and roast for 35-40mins or until the cauliflower is tender and the edges have a good bit of char.
While cauliflower is roasting, make vinaigrette by combining all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well to combine.
Once cauliflower is cooked, remove from oven and set aside for around 5 minutes to cool slightly. Place into a large bowl, add currants, rocket, parsley and dressing. Gently mix to combine. Serve immediately with your favourite protein or just on it's own. Serves 4 as a side dish or 2 for a light lunch.
The most important tip I can give you is to make sure your cauliflower is quite charred and well cooked. This is the key to the change in flavour as it becomes quite sweet when roasted down like this.
Onion cuts - I call it my 'Asian cut' as it's the cut you will see when ordering a dish at your local chinese restaurant.
I think it's best to eat your roasted cauliflower either warm from the oven or at room temp. If you need to refrigerate it, bring it back to room temp before eating or you will start to recall those strong 'over boiled' flavours.
The vinaigrette is lovely added to many things like roasted vegetables, or simply used as a good staple salad dressing. I usually make double or triple of the recipe and keep it in the fridge in a squeeze bottle (or screw top jar) so it's easy to grab, shake and add to your dish as needed.
Store leftover salad in a container in the fridge and bring it to room temp before eating. Your rocket will be soggy soon after mixing the dish together due to the heat of the cauliflower, so bring your dish together right before serving. If you are not eating it immediately, simply leave out the rocket and mix that in right before serving.
I've added other veg in with the cauli too like brussel sprouts (yep same flavour transformation as the cauliflower), halved chat potatoes, zucchini and carrots. Your carrots and potatoes will need slightly longer so throw these in first for around 10 mins before adding the other ingredients.
If you prefer baby spinach to rocket, you can easily swap it out. Rocket however, holds it's form slightly better than the spinach if you are eating it warm. Either way, make sure you add your greens, right before serving.
What's coming up...
For those of you who have been to a class and have tried our freshly backed Chocolate Chip and Tahini cookies, I'll try my best to get this recipe to you next week.
It's a great time to book a class, so come and say hi soon and remember if you can't find a date on our website that suits, just send us a message or give us a call and let's see what we might be able to sort for you.
Until then, trust me on the cauli, he really does deserve a rethink and you will be rewarded with a lifetime staple of joy.
For now enjoy a lovely 'cauliflower cuddle' from your new bestie, to keep you extra warm this winter.
LOVE YOUR FOOD MOMENTS... ENYOY!