Hey, Brussels sprouts and kale have been hogging the limelight of late.
In the interest of fairness and balanced eating, it’s time to give cauliflower — the vegetable Mark Twain so disdained that he famously called it a “cabbage with a college education” — another chance to join the it-vegetable crowd.
Chances are good that a forlorn head of the stuff already is lurking in your refrigerator vegetable bin. Cruciferous vegetables are inexpensive and, yes, they’re good for us. But when served raw, cauliflower just seems to pale in comparison to more popular sidekicks broccoli, carrots and celery. That it squeaks annoyingly between the teeth when bitten is, for me at least, the equivalent of nails on the chalkboard.
But take just 20 to 30 minutes to roast those cauliflower florets, and suddenly the caramelization process turns a slightly sulfurous vegetable into something fresh, new and frankly a little addictive.
When the curdlike florets in Chow Town’s Southwestern Roasted Cauliflower received a dusting of chile powder, coriander and cumin followed by a drizzle of fresh-squeezed lime juice while still piping hot from the oven, we just couldn’t stop eating them. (I worried that enough of the dish would make it onto the set for the photo shoot.)
Even when the dish cooled down, we kept munching. OK, so nobody should eat a whole head of cauliflower, no matter how many vitamins and minerals are in the stuff. But there you have it: a deliciously easy way to prepare cauliflower so it’s your new go-to vegetable.
▪ Serving suggestions: If you have leftovers (and that’s a big if), stir the cauliflower into tortilla soup or chop it fine and add to a taco.
▪ Variations: No reason not to try other spice blends, like curry or cardamom or togarashi. Go!
Jill Wendholt Silva is an award-winning food editor, lead restaurant critic and blog curator for The Star’s Chow Town. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @kcstarfood.
Southwestern Roasted Cauliflower
Makes 3 1/4 cups roasted cauliflower (4 servings)
5 cups (1 1/2-inch) cauliflower florets, about 1/2 of a large cauliflower head
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 fresh lime, cut in half
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick vegetable spray; set aside. (For easier clean up line pan with foil; spray foil)
Place cauliflower florets in a bowl or zip-top bag. Drizzle with olive oil and distribute evenly over all the florets.
In a small bowl, stir together chili powder, cumin, coriander and salt. Sprinkle evenly over florets and shake bag (or toss in bowl) to evenly distribute..
Spread cauliflower florets evenly onto prepared baking sheet. Bake, uncovered, 20 to 25 minutes, stirring halfway through. Remove from oven and drizzle with juice from the lime. Serve immediately or at room temperature.
Per serving: 111 calories (57 percent from fat), 7 grams total fat (1 gram saturated), no cholesterol, 9 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams protein, 178 milligrams sodium, 3 grams dietary fiber.
Recipe developed for The Star by professional home economists Kathryn Moore and Roxanne Wyss.