One of the things you learn quickly after about the first six months of eating a plant based diet is that you have to get creative. You have to think outside the box when you can’t just grab an animal protein and add it to some veggies and grains. You need something that will be:
And you know what vegetable fits that criteria? Cauliflower.
I know, I know. Cauliflower is the redheaded step-child of the produce section. No one wants it and no one is quite sure what to do with it other than boiling it and slathering it in butter. But, hold up, there is a way to cook cauliflower that makes it delicious and satisfying. When it comes to vegetables in particular but a plant based diet in general, the most common myth or misconception out there is that we don’t eat enough or we’re not getting sufficient nutrients.
First, just let me say thank you for your concern over my dietary health.
Now, back to the cauliflower. Let’s start with the important stuff: one cup of cauliflower is just 30 calories. Yep, 30 calories which means losing weight is easier and you won’t feel like you’re starving. But it’s not just its low calorie count that makes cauliflower such a powerhouse, it’s also the vitamins. This vegetable is packed with Vitamins C, K and B6. And don’t let us forget fiber and omega 3 plus 5% protein per cup!
There are plenty of reasons to eat cauliflower and I’ve just given you a few but the best reason of all is that you can turn one whole head into a complete meal.
The first thing you’ll need to do after you’ve washed and trimmed the head of cauliflower is to give it a quick blanch, no more than 5 minutes. This will get the cooking process started so that when you pop it into the oven with all the other goodness, you won’t pull out a gross, stringy and too hard.
Now it’s time to gather your toppings–onion, garlic, tomatoes, parsley, salt & pepper, herbs & spices–and cook them just a bit until the onions and garlic are transparent. You can use fresh tomatoes or canned but the fresh ones really take this dish to a whole new level. That sweet, fresh goodness also allows you to add a hint of spice or if you’re like me…a whole lotta spice.
Pour the sauce over the cauliflower and bake it for 30 to 45 minutes, depending on your oven, until the cauliflower is soft and delicious.
If you’re feeling adventurous, add some vegan parm, but in my opinion this dish didn’t need anything extra. We ate a few slices of bread along side it, choosing to forego the mamaliga and anything else. And trust me when I tell you that two helpings of this cauliflower bake was FILLING. Like I retired to the sofa with my food baby for about an hour before I decided that movement would make it better.
And since I’ve just seen a Thanksgiving cauliflower recipe…I’m thinking about trying it out!