Tag Archives: cauliflower

Roasted Cauliflower & Garlic Soup

Yesterday, with the storm blowing outside, I was ready with a fist full of recipes. Sausage and Lentil Soup was already on the docket, along with sprouted wheat bread recipes, both dinner rolls and French bread.  Mid-morning, the creative process kicked in and this recipe lined up in my head like a military march.

I often wonder why these flashes of creativity strike during a shower, at 3:00 a.m., or when I am already committed to something else for the day. 

Oh well, I have learned to grab a pen and something to scratch it out on, because you can bet money on the fact it will NOT come back to me later.  Fortunately, I had more than the back of an envelope at hand, so the recipe made its way from my head to the paper.

Roasted cauliflower and roasted garlic … these would carry the show. 

Wanting it as creamy white as possible, I chose parsnips over carrots, and declined the notion of celery. Cauliflower creates a creamy texture all on its own once pureed, so a small amount of cream is all it took to hit the mark for texture.  Roasted garlic brings a smooth, deep flavor to quick soups, making it taste like it has simmered all day. Stir in extra roasted cauliflower just before serving, garnished with bacon and scallions for a little crunch and satisfying finish.

This recipe was so easy to put together it was ready in time for lunch with plenty of energy for my breads and lentil soup, which we had for dinner.

Roasted Cauliflower & Garlic Soup

Serves: 2
1      small head  garlic (8-10 cloves) — roasted
2     tablespoons  extra-virgin olive oil
1/2    small head  cauliflower — sliced 1/4″ thick
lemon pepper
2     slices  bacon — fried, crumbled
3/4   cup  parsnip — peeled and diced
1/2    cup  sweet onion — chopped
2      cups  chicken stock
2      tablespoons  cream
scallions — for garnish
sea salt — to taste
pepper — to taste

Heat oven to 400°F Cut top of garlic bulb off so that the majority of the cloves are exposed. Place in a small oven proof dish, pour 2 tablespoons olive oil over garlic bulb, and roast at for 30 minutes or until garlic is soft.

Arrange sliced cauliflower on a rimmed baking sheet, brush with additional olive oil and sprinkle with 1/2-1 teaspoon of the lemon pepper. Place in the oven beside the garlic and roast for about 10 minutes, stirring midway through, until cauliflower is lightly browned. Remove cauliflower from oven and set aside. When garlic is soft and top is lightly browned, remove from oven, place garlic bulb on a plate and let cool. Reserve roasted garlic oil for garnish, if desired.

Cook bacon in a medium sauce pan until crisp and fat is rendered. Drain on paper towel, crumble, and set aside. While bacon is cooking, finely chop 1/2 cup of the roasted cauliflower and reserve.

Cook onion and parsnip in bacon fat in the same sauce pan over med heat until vegetables are softened, about 5-6 minutes. Add cauliflower except for the reserved 1/2 cup to the onions and parsnips. Squeeze the garlic bulb from the bottom to remove garlic cloves and add cloves to the pot.

Pour 1 1/2 cups of the broth over the vegetables and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until vegetables are all cooked through.  Puree soup in a blender until smooth, return to sauce pan and add remaining broth, reserved cauliflower, and cream.

Heat on low for 2 minutes to heat through. Serve in warmed bowls and garnish with crumbled bacon, scallions, and drizzle with reserved roasted garlic olive oil.


Sausage & Vegetable Sauté

Everyone is encouraged to eat more vegetables for better health, but for a foodie like me, it has to taste good too. This dish is one of our favorite ways to increase daily servings. It is easy to prepare, composed of good-for-you vegetables and meets the taste qualifier we demand. Customize the vegetable or sausage selection to suit your own palate; just don’t be afraid to add something new to the mix. Incorporating one new vegetable into a mix of favorites is a great way to introduce it to your children or expand our own experience.

Orange Cauliflower

One of the vegetables I included in this sauté is a new cauliflower color variety sold in markets across the U.S.  Although orange cauliflower looks like someone created a new veggie-cheese combo right from the farm, I assure you it does not taste like cheese.  The striking color is due to the level of Vitamin A it contains—25 times more than white varieties—but its flavor is like the familiar white variety.

Select Vegetables

If you’re tired of steamed broccoli and boiled carrots, Sausage and Vegetable Sauté will be a welcome change. Sautéing is a far more flavorful than steaming. When cauliflower rests on the pan long enough to lightly brown, its nuttiness comes through. Vegetables with higher sugar content like sweet onions and carrots caramelize, incorporating a deeper, pleasing taste.  Patience and the right amount of heat is the key here, so don’t get in a hurry and stir too much. Allowing the vegetables to sear just a bit will make a big difference in taste and texture.

The sausage used in this recipe is Benetino’s Chicken Sausage with Mozzarella, Artichoke and Roasted Garlic, but any flavorful link sausage will work. Grill or pan-fry the sausage before starting the vegetables, then slice it to add-in just before serving.

Sausage and Vegetable Sauté

2-3 sausage links, grilled and sliced
1/2 small sweet onion, sliced pole to pole
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 large carrot, sliced thin
1 baby bok choy, coarsely chopped
1 meg yellow bell pepper, sliced
1/2 med head orange cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 small bunch broccolini (baby broccoli), roughly chopped
1 cup snow peas, whole
1 med zucchini squash, sliced
2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil (optional)
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon Italian herbs
black sesame seeds (optional)
salt and pepper, as desired

Begin by grilling or pan-frying the sausage. Once done, set aside to rest before slicing.

Slice onion in 1/4 inch slices, pole to pole, so the onion retains its shape and texture. Start the onion in 2 tablespoons olive oil over med heat in a large skillet. While the onion is cooking, chop bok choy and pare cauliflower into small florets. Add bok choy and cauliflower to skillet with sesame oil, if available, or add a little more olive oil. Allow to cook until lightly browned and caramelized.

Prepare remaining vegetables and add to skillet with Italian herbs, salt and pepper. Add butter and cover skillet with lid for 3-5 minutes until vegetables are softened, yet still crisp. Sprinkle with black sesame seeds and serve with sliced sausage.

Garlic Roasted Cauliflower

Roasting Garlic with Cauliflower Wedges

Cauliflower is a common choice on salad bars, vegetable trays, or smothered in cheese sauce because of its milky-sweet, mild flavor. Nutritionally dense, it is high in dietary fiber, folate, Vitamin C, and phytochemicals, providing the nutritional boost we all need at dinnertime. Roasting this cruciferous gem brings out its nutty flavor, complementing any menu.

Although cauliflower is most widely known for its creamy-white curd (head), in larger markets it is available in bouquets of orange, green (referred to as broccoflower), and purple. These varieties have an even greater nutritional value, including Vitamin A and antioxidants.

Trying cauliflower types that are colorful may be more appealing to children. According to a USA Today article, the food industry is using color to sell to our kids in the form of purple ketchup, blue mac & cheese, and pink margarine. It’s best to forgo the food coloring additives, but we can take a hint from this marketing strategy and choose interesting colors for their vegetables instead.

Garlic accompanies this roasted cauliflower recipe, nestled inside the florets, enhancing its naturally earthy flavor. Serve as a side dish with grilled or pan-seared meats.

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Garlic Roasted Cauliflower

1 medium cauliflower head (about 2 pounds)
8-10 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
parchment paper

1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 450°. Trim outer leaves of cauliflower and cut stem so that it is 1-inch bellow the bottom of the head. (The leaves can be saved and added to soups or stocks.) Cut head, pole to pole (down through the stem), into 8 wedges so that the florets remain attached to the stem.

2. Dip peeled garlic cloves into the olive oil and then wedge cloves into spaces between cauliflower florets. Using a pastry brush, brush the cauliflower wedges with olive oil all over.

3. Place cauliflower wedges, cut-side down, on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

4. Cover tightly with foil and cook for 10 minutes. Remove foil and continue to roast until bottoms of cauliflower pieces are golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Carefully flip wedges with tongs or a spatula. Brush lightly with oil and return to the oven and continue to roast until cauliflower is golden all over, 10 to 12 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper, as desired, and serve immediately.

If you are feeling adventurous, sprinkle a little bit of curry or chili powder over the florets after brushing with oil. Leftover cauliflower can be added to a stir-fry, puréed for soups, or chopped to serve as a baked potato topper.

Note: Do not cook cauliflower in an aluminum or iron pot. Cauliflower will react with the aluminum and turn the vegetable yellow.  In an iron pot, it will turn a brown or blue-green color.

If you like this article and recipe, please let me know by leaving a comment. Thank you.

white cauliflower image source: http://etbe.coker.com.au/
orange cauliflower image source: http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/graphics/photos/jul99/cauliflower-i.jpg
purple cauliflower image source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Cacophony
green cauliflower image source: http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/5aday/images/cauliflower_broccoflower.jpg