I sadly spent many years being a bit ambivalent about the old cauli. Actually I pretty much hated it. A stalwart of many a pub side-veg mélange, it inevitably turns up boiled or steamed; turning cold quickly (my theory is its large surface area) and just tasting a bit flaccid and bleh. I blame this very lazy and unimaginative restaurant habit on my tendency to ignore it in supermarkets…which I did for a looong time.
Not any more, though – not since I remembered that everything tastes better roasted! It concentrates the flavour, caramelises and gets all toasty, especially when dusted with spices.
It’s quite substantial too – as veggies go – so makes a good substitute if you want to lay off the carbs. It’s quite trendy to see ‘cauliflower steak’ on menus; griddled and charred, and as veganism continues its upward trend it seems these more imaginative efforts with veggies are here to stay. That’s certainly the case in my kitchen, anyway.
For one reason, we tried (albeit with little consistency) to do meat-free Monday for the good of the environment, as well as our pockets and health. I was fully on board with this, until the parameters became a bit sketchy re ‘does fish count?’ and ‘what about snaffling up my son’s leftovers? Surely wastage is a bigger crime…’ In any event, we’ve certainly been eating lots more veggies and making them the major part of meals more often than not.
We’ve also been dabbling with the old 5:2 again, so low calorie recipe ideas have returned to consume my thoughts; before I consume them…(waf waf).
However, despite roasted being our favourite way to cook (and eat) mister choux-fleur, this recipe doesn’t call for an oven…or hob, or barbecue, or griddle pan…just an (a-hem) microwave :).
After my step mum recommended making ‘cauli rice’ recently, by grating and microwaving it, I’ve tried it a few different ways; including adding desiccated coconut and raisins, the result of which makes a tasty accompaniment to a quick saucy curry. And healthy too! It’s really captured my imagination…hence the cauli-chronicles idea (Matt’s gonna be sick of the stuff before long – bad luck).So, on a warm summer’s eve…(it is summer now, right?) I fancied packing a zingy flavour punch to dinner, whilst keeping it light (to ensure plenty of room for pud!) and Cauliflower Tabbouleh was born 🙂
- Half a large (or one small) cauliflower, grated
- One lemon, zested and juiced
- Fresh leafy herbs – such as mint, parsley, chives, basil, coriander – approx 300g bunch, chopped
- 100g dried cranberries, chopped
- 1tsp dried mint
- 1 tsp bouillon powder, optional
- 5 medium sized tomatoes, diced
- 1 cucumber, diced
- 6 spring onions, finely sliced
- Extra virgin olive oil
Place ye olde cauliflower in a heat-proof bowl and add the cranberries, dried mint and bouillon, if using. Cover with cling film and microwave on full power for eight minutes. Stir through with a fork and taste – it might need another minute or two at a medium setting; depending on the texture you prefer.
When all the juicy flavours have been sucked up by the cauliflower and it’s cooled down, add the remaining ingredients, season with sea salt and pepper and probably some more olive oil. You need to use masses of fresh herbs in this – don’t skimp on the mint.