Sunday, August 19, 2012

Roasted Purple Cauliflower

Roasted Purple Cauliflower |
When you hear the word cauliflower, what comes to mind? 

Perhaps some white, bland vegetables you were forced to eat as a child. Or, maybe it conjures up images of white, crunchy trees—akin to broccoli—that often appeared in pre-packaged veggie trays at your social gatherings. You probably dunked it deeply into a french onion dip and munched it down without ever actually tasting it. 

Well, if that's the case, it's time to meet this vegetable's sexy fraternal twin: purple cauliflower. 

Not only is purple cauliflower an eye treat, but it also packs more of a nutritional punch, in the form of antioxidants, than its white counterpart. In fact the same antioxidant pigments that make this vegetable purple are what also give blueberries their color. 

Okay, now that I've established purple cauliflower looks tastier and is actually healthier, how should we go about cooking it? My usual preferred cooking method for vegetables is pan saute, roasting or steaming; HOWEVER, I found in my two minutes of super authentic wikipedia-esque research that boiling purple cauliflower diminishes the nutritional value. SO, don't boil it...ever. Well, you could if you absolutely had to, but you shouldn't.

Instead, do what I did and make the most delicious cauliflower of your life by roasting it with garlic and lemon juice. Oh my gawd, lemon juice is SPECTACULAR on roasted veggies. Unfortunately, I just realized this less than a month ago. I've been missing out for years. 

To achieve this most awesome, wondrous mouth-delight, I used a recipe for Oven-Roasted Cauliflower with Garlic, Olive Oil and Lemon Juice from Emeril Lagasse, but tweaked it ever-so-slightly by adding a lot less EVOO, more lemon juice & garlic, green onions instead of chives, and subbing purple cauliflower in place of the normal white variety. 

Oven-Roasted Purple Cauliflower |
In case you were wondering about the major color contrast, the cauliflower darkens as it roasts in the oven. 
The Rising Spoon Blog: Oven-Roasted Purple Cauliflower with Lemon, Parmesan and Green Onions
A somewhat blurry picture, but this time with the green onions as a garnish. Lovely colors!
My version has less calories and more antioxidants from the purple cauliflower. This is always a bonus, especially when you're watching calories intake, which I sometimes choose to do. Other times I use bacon grease or butter freely, like with these super tasty green beans. :)

Roasted Purple Cauliflower
An easy, healthy side dish to accompany any meal. Low in calories, high in fiber and antioxidants. The addition of lemon juice, garlic, parmesan and green onion makes it super flavorful and a likely competition against your main dish. It can be made vegan friendly by subbing nutritional yeast instead of parmesan. I dare you to leave any uneaten.
Adapted from Emeril Lagasse's Oven Roasted Cauliflower with Garlic, Olive Oil & Lemon Juice 
Serves: 2-3

1 medium purple cauliflower, cut into small florets
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 
3 tbsp lemon juice
2 cloves of garlic, diced
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp sea salt (I recommend Pink HimalayanCeltic or Utah sourced salt)
1 tsp freshly cracked pepper
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast
1 green onion, thinly sliced & used as finishing garnish

Recommended Equipment
large rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Remove & discard the green leaves & lower stem of the cauliflower. Chop the purple head (also known as a curd) into small florets.
  3. Smash, peel and dice two garlic cloves.
  4. Place the florets close together in the middle of a large rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan. Drizzle with the 2 tbsp EVOO and 3 tbsp lemon juice. Sprinkle the diced garlic, garlic powder, salt & pepper onto the florets. 
  5. Mix everything together with your hands or a spatula to incorporate the seasonings. Spread the mixture out evenly in pan.
  6. Roast for 25-30 minutes or until cauliflower is tender and has darkened.
  7. Remove from oven & grate or sprinkle Parmesan or nutritional yeast onto florets and top with green onion. Drizzle with more lemon juice if desired. 
- - -

P.S. I dedicate this post to my friend Lauryn "Slaughterhouse" Campbell. She introduced me to purple vegetables last November when I hosted a pre-thanksgiving friend feast+impromptu hat gathering. She is currently hiking the Appalachian Trail like a total badass (she's been hiking since mid April)! Here's a pic a fellow hiker took of her while on the trail. I stole it from her facebook.
Lauryn "Slaughterhouse" Campbell meditating on a rocky cliff while on The Appalachian Trail

I'd like to hear from YOU!

What's your favorite colorful vegetable?

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