When I was growing up vegetables were never the star attraction. Don’t get me wrong…we ate our vegetables every night at dinner, but they were always the sideshow and never the main act. They were served to add colour to a plate of food. Not unlike adding accent pillows to your living room couch! As you might have guessed, the everyday home cook then was not so concerned about their nutritional merit because the knowledge wasn’t as abundant as it is today. Vegetables were boiled for many minutes, leaching out all their colour, nutrition and taste. Often a cheese sauce was spooned on top to cover up the anaemic-looking and tasteless veg. And if not the sauce, then a hefty pad of butter was plopped on top along with multiple shakes of salt.
The one vegetable that was consistently smothered with an orange cheese sauce was cauliflower. The thick velvety sauce would sit confidently on top of its bumpy, knobby, surface. It was the perfect solution to a needed splash of colour for the white and bland-looking vegetable.
Life has changed a lot since then, thankfully! Today, vegetables take a lead role on the food stage. We cook vegetables to preserve their freshness, taste and vitamins. Cauliflower can be steamed, boiled, or even sautéed. I particularly like it roasted.
If you haven’t tried roasting cauliflower you must. Simply break up the florets and mix with 1 or 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast in a 425° F oven for 20 minutes. Toss, then roast for another 10-15 minutes until they look, well, roasted.
Another trend today is to serve cauliflower rice…yes, I said rice. It’s a fun side dish and a sneaky way to add more vegetables into your kids’ diet. Here’s an easy recipe to try. If you feel adventurous, spice it up by adding different herbs or spices such as curry, basil, or parsley. Enjoy.
1 head cauliflower, cut in half. Grate the florets with a box grater using the large holes or in a food processor (working in small batches)
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil on medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds, then add cauliflower. Sauté for 8-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
Here is a video on Cauliflower Rice from the Minimalist Baker.
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