While the northern hemisphere is enjoying the burst of Spring, here in Australia we’re heralding the arrival of Autumn. There’s just something about the fall season…a crispness to the air, crunchy colourful leaves and a certain excitement about the comfort slow-cooked foods bring. Autumn is also the peak season for some great fruit and vegetables—pears, apples, figs, capsicums, Asian greens, broccoli, fennel, spinach, potatoes and the list goes on. One of the most versatile veggies in season right now is cauliflower—the often overlooked cruciferous cousin of broccoli. While broccoli is well-known for health benefits, cauliflower boasts some solid nutrition of its own—high in vitamin C and K, rich in B vitamins (including folate), potassium and fibre. Cauliflower is also rich in sulforaphane, a compound that may help fight certain cancers and has key nutrients to support Phase 1 and Phase 2 detoxification and fight inflammation.
As for flexibility, cauliflower makes a great low-GI, paleo friendly substitute for rice and pizza crust, as well as mashed potatoes. I often serve it raw on a veggie platter with hummous and to my surprise, it’s always eaten! One of my absolute favourite ways to prepare cauliflower is roasting with spices such as cumin, coriander and fennel seeds. The edges of the florets get a nice crunch, while the inside stays moist. Here the roasted cauliflower is paired with freekah (cracked green wheat), fresh herbs, pistachios and pomegranate and topped with a tahini dressing. This makes a perfect side dish to slow-roasted spicy lamb or can be eaten as a light meal on its own.
Roasted Cauliflower Salad
Adapted from Mindfood Magazine, May 2013
- 1 tsp cracked black pepper
- 1 tsp coriander seeds, toasted
- 1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted
- ½ tsp allspice
- ½ tsp ras el hanout
- 500g cauliflower florets
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1½ cups cracked freekeh (Paleos just omit–you could use a mix of nuts and seeds instead)
- 200mL chicken stock
- 300mL water
- 1 cup pomegranate seeds
- ¼ cup chopped raw pistachios
- 1 cup mint leaves
- 1 cup flat-leaf parsley
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 75g tahini paste
- ¼ cup water
- 1 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 small garlic clove, crushed
Preheat oven to 200°C. In a roasting tray, toss the cauliflower in spice mix and drizzle with oil. Roast for 20 minutes or until golden and crisp. Set aside.
Place the freekeh, stock and 300ml of water in a saucepan over high heat and bring to the boil, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 12-14 minutes or until just tender (don’t overcook or it can get gluggy). Drain in a mesh sieve, rinse and cool. Place the freekeh, cauliflower, pomegranate, pistachios, mint, parsley and red onion in a bowl, season and toss to combine.
For the tahini dressing, combine tahini, water, white balsamic, lemon juice and garlic in a bowl. Season with fresh cracked pepper and drizzle over the salad to serve.