Spiced Cauliflower Saute (the secret is in the cinammon)

I’m not wild about cauliflower.  As cruciferous vegetables go, it is suspect in an “is that a vegetable or a storm-trooper disguised as a vegetable” kind of way.  I mean, seriously, its white and… thick… and white. It’s weird.  Cauliflower is weird.

I’ve eaten it all my life because, while I do think it’s strange, it’s always on the veggie tray at parties and events.  I’m strangely drawn to it every time.  There’s that weird, dry, sort-of-cruciferious vegetable again…

Anyway, I finally found a cauliflower recipe that I actually, truly love.  

Spiced Cauliflower Saute
(from the Gourmet Nutrition Cookbook by Precision Nutrition, as always)

Get this stuff:

  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • Sliced carrots (1/2 cup)
  • Cauliflower (1 cup)
  • Water (1/4 cup)
  • Peas (1/2 cup)
  • Walnuts (1/4 cup)
  • Salt (1 pinch)
  • Pepper (1 pinch)
  • Cinnamon (1 pinch)
  • Safflower (1 pinch)
  • Olive oil (half tbsp)

Then do this:

Preheat a non-stick frying pan on medium heat, lightly coat with spray and add the carrots, cauliflower and water.  Cook until water evaporates and then saute until cauliflower is lightly browned.  Add the peas, walnuts, salt, pepper, cinnamon, and safflower and saute for 2 minutes more.  Remove from heat.  Add the olive oil and serve.  (Serves 1 large or 2 small)

Notes:

  • The first time Sal tried this he looked at me and said, “What IS that?”  He was talking about the cinnamon.  It really does make the dish.
  • I ran out of walnuts last week, but I am up to my ears in almonds.  I’ve been heating the almonds up in a small pan and then chopping the crap out of them before adding them to the mix.  The walnuts are preferable for the slightly bitter juxtaposition they provide, but the almonds do well as an “in a pinch” replacement.  They add a nice crunch factor and nuttiness that balances the other textures and flavors.  Either way you go, I feel the nuts are essential for this recipe.  Heating them really draws out the oils and the flavor. It’s a simple step that takes things up a notch.
  • The first time I made this, I followed the recipe to the letter.  Then, as is usually case, I totally flew by the seat of my pants the second time around.  What I found is that if you get the proportions right, you get perfectly cooked, slightly browned caulis that are delicious.  But – if you get the proportions a little bit wrong, you end up with cauliflower that is disintegrated and mushy.  At first, this seems like a major bummer, but in reality, the falling-apart cauliflower and tiny-bit-overly soft carrots give the impression of a kind of “mash” instead of a saute.  The flavors remain pleasing and – if you like a soft mash – the combination still works.
  • PN always references baby carrots in their recipes.  I hate baby carrots.  I think they taste weird and over-processed and gross.  I use real carrots.  The peeling and cutting only takes a few minutes.  But you?  You do what you gotta do, ok?
  • Also, when I’m outa fresh snap peas, I go ahead and throw in some frozen peas.  Don’t worry, it’ll still taste yummy!

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11 comments

  1. Mmm, a recipe with peppter! Haven’t seen that used in a long time!

  2. Dude, I didn’t want to call it out, but now that you have… Peppter is the secret ingredient! Shhhh.

  3. Thanks. I’ll try this within a few days. Probably try pine nuts because I don’t like walnuts.

    All I need to pick up is some Safflower and “peppter.”

  4. oops Caroline beat me to the peppter comment. Damn it.

  5. And I have foiled you both with an edit. Damn and blast the trying to type while reading a cookbook thing!

    It will be good with pine-nuts, methinks! Let us know.

  6. Ah yeah it will be good. I was reading “Farmer John’s Cookbook” today and gonna try a few squash recipies, too. You ever see that one?

  7. No! But don’t be hoggin’ all the squashy recipes for yourself now, ya hear! Farmer John said so!

  8. Farmer John would want you to buy his book, so I doubt he said that. But I will share, anyway.

  9. A few things…

    This is basically aloo gobi, a classic Punjabi dish, without the aloo. Look that up, and make that, substituting appropriately. I used to hate cauliflower growing up, but now I love it. If you cook it just right, so it has some snap with soft, it’s wonderful.

    Because of that, I know this: a pinch of turmeric makes everything bright yellow and delicious.

    PN has a recipie for mashed “potatoes.” Basically boiled cauliflower, blended. They say no butter, but a little bit added, I can’t help myself… it’s divine, if spiced properly. Even tastes like mashed potatoes if, you know, you use your imagination.

    Yesterday, whilst killing myself in the gym, I thought about aloo gobi. It’s what got me through.

  10. I am trying to increase my veggies. I haven’t met a vegetable I didn’t like. But I am cooking for one, so I didnt like Dr. Ornos (sp) 20 ingredient recipes. I am trying to cut back on meats so I am looking for recipes that will satisfy that deeper savory taste. Any ideas on where to look for such recipes.

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