A few years ago I did a series of blog posts highlighting a different vegetable each week and sharing ideas on how to cook and prepare it in different ways. In ways that we might not be used to. If you follow me on Instagram (I'm @thehonestproject there) you will know that I'm taking some time off to focus on treatment for a reoccurence of cancer. That means my blog posts will be more sporadic - energy and mood dependent. Having said that, I still love the interaction from blogging and from Instagram and it's a welcome distraction from all the serious stuff going on at the moment. As I'm not quite up to doing new receipes and posts just yet, I thought that I'd re-share some older posts that you might find interesting. Starting with this one.
Back when I did my #VegoftheWeek series of posts, the first vegetable I choose was cauliflower. If cauliflower was a brand, I should totally be #spon by them. I'm pretty much it's number one fan. Widely available and relatively inexpensive, it is accessible to most. If, when you think of cauliflower, you think overcooked and soggy, think again. There is so much more to cauliflower; it has a mellow flavour and is extremely versatile making it the perfect option to build a delicious vegetarian meal around.
Cauliflower belongs to the cruciferous family of vegetables. Other members of this family include cabbage, kale, broccoli and brussels sprouts. The most common type of cauliflower is white, but it can also be green, purple and orange in colour.
Cauliflower doesn't just taste delicious, it's health benefits are gaining more and more attention. It is low in calories and a good source of certain B vitamins, vitamin C and vitamin K. It also provides manganese, magnesium and potassium. It's high in fibre which aids our digestive system and high in antioxidants and glucosinolates.
Interestingly Mark Twain once described cauliflower as "cabbage with a college education" and Twain wasn't the only fan of cauliflower. It was the vegetable of choice of French kings in the 18th century. King Louis XV was so fond of cauliflower that some French cauliflower dishes bear the name of his mistress, Comtesse du Barry. While the Comtesse proved rather unpopular with the French people and met her end at the guillotine, cauliflower's popularity has soared thanks to its versatility, flavour and nutritional profile.
Things to do with cauliflower:
Cauliflower is a delicious vegetable and its versatility means it can be used in numerous ways. Here are some of my favourite ways to prepare cauliflower.
If you want to cut down on the carbs, this is a perfect alternative to white rice. Cut out the core of the cauliflower and roughly chop the cauliflower. Put it into your food processor and blitz it lightly. Don't over blitz into a powder. You want a rice like consistency. Depending on the size of your food processor, you may have to do this in batches. If you don't have a food processor, use a box grater to grate the florets instead. Place the blitzed cauliflower in a clean towel or paper towel and press to remove any excess moisture. Turn your pan on over a medium heat. Warm 1 tbsp of olive oil, put the rice in and season with a pinch of salt. Cover the pan and lightly fry / steam for 6 minutes. Garnish as you like. I like to add the juice of half a lemon, a teaspoon of sumac, some pomegranate seeds and chopped parsley and mint.
Cauliflower 'steaks' (as they are now widely known) are so tasty and a nice alternative to meat. Slice 4 slices of cauliflower from the middle of the cauliflower about a centimetre and a half thick. Whisk together a tbsp of olive oil, a tbsp of lemon juice, a clove of garlic minced, a pinch of chilli flakes and some sea salt and ground pepper. Place the steaks on a lined baking sheet and brush half the olive oil mixture over the tops of the steaks. Roast in a preheated oven (gas mark 6 / 200 degrees celsius) for 15 minutes. Turn the steaks and brush the remaining olive oil mixture over the other side of the steaks. Return to the oven for a further 15 minutes. Once done, serve with a leafy greens and a lentil salad for a super healthy lunch or dinner. Add some crumbled feta, just because crumbled feta makes everything taste better.
Try cauliflower mash as a delicious alternative to creamy potatoes. Cut a cauliflower into florets and steam for 10-15 minutes until tender. Place the cauliflower in a food processor along with a clove of garlic, 1/3 cup of milk (I use almond), 2 tbsp of olive oil, 1 tsp of butter, a pinch of salt and black pepper. Blitz until creamy. If you want a dairy free version, use nut milk and leave out the butter.
This is a similar technique to the cauliflower steak. Rather than roast a large slice of cauliflower, cut it into small florets. Toss in a tbsp of olive oil, some sea salt and black pepper. If you wish, add some additional spices such as chilli flakes or turmeric. Place on a lined baking tray in the oven (gas mark 5 / 190 degrees C) for 25 minutes. Serve with a quinoa salad and some hummus on the side.
Baked Curried Cauliflower:
This is one of my favourite cauliflower recipes. Cut the cauliflower into florets and place in an oven proof dish. In a bowl, whisk together a tin of full fat coconut milk, the juice of a lime, a tsp of turmeric, a tsp of ground cumin, 1/2 tsp of chilli flakes and a pinch of sea salt. Pour over the cauliflower florets and ensure they are evenly coated. Place in a pre-heated oven at gas mark 5 / 190 degrees celsius for 30 minutes until the cauliflower is tender and lightly browned on top.
We usually cook cauliflower, but it can also be eaten raw. Chop into small florets and use for dipping in hummus or guacamole. Blitz it into a rice like consistency using the grater attachment on a food processor or a box grater. Instead of cooking it to make cauliflower rice, instead add it to salads raw. Make a cauliflower tabbouleh by placing the blitzed raw cauliflower in a large bowl. Add 2 tbsp. of olive oil, juice of a lemon, chopped mint, finely chopped cherry tomatoes, red onion and cucumber and season with sea salt and black pepper.
Bonus Honest Project Recipes
(just click the images below for the recipes)