Cauliflower. It’s possibly the hottest vegetable of 2016. With vegan, vegetarian, paleo and gluten free foodies embracing the versatility of cauliflower it continues to hit the headlines – both as a superfood for its sheer versatility. I’m certainly doing my bit to spread the word. I’ve dabbled with cauliflower rice. Perfected cauliflower cottage pie. And barely a week has passed without a dinner featuring whole roasted cauliflower. Just when I think I’ve tried it all another recipe catches my eye. Like meaty cauliflower steaks, cheesy cauliflower gratin or paleo cauliflower pizza base.
Here I’m furthering cauliflower mania but with a difference. I’m putting aside the much loved white florets and celebrating cauliflower leaves – the firm outer fibrous leaves that curl snugly around the white flower buds. For too long I bought naked cauliflowers, unaware that the farmer or store typically chops the outer leaves from cauliflowers. But, after discovering how the cooked leaves taste, I can’t bring myself to buy cauliflower unless it is ‘whole’. Sometimes this means asking for one from out the back that hasn’t yet been stripped bare.
With this post I want to encourage you to do the same. Join me in buying ‘whole’ cauliflowers and in roasting the leaves sprinkled with spices and drizzled with oil. They make a fantastic side dish for just about any dinner. They also taste good chopped into small pieces and mixed into a salad. Of course using the leaves is also a fantastic way to reduce food wastage.
What follows is a super simple recipe. With some oil and a seasoning you can easily turn the thin tips of the leaves crispy (like kale chips) whilst retaining a meaty texture in the stem or stalk.
- Leaves of one cauliflower
- Salt & pepper
- 1 tbsp coconut or extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp each cumin and chilli powder (or your choices of spices)
- Lemon juice – optional
- Remove the leaves from the cauliflower and wash them thoroughly.
- Chop the large leaves in half lengthways (cut through the stem) then allow to dry.
- Combine the remaining ingredients and whisk to form a dressing.
- Coat the leaves in the dressing and then add to a large roasting tray.
- Roast in the oven at 180C for 20-30 minutes or until the leaves are soft.
Have you got any clever uses for cauliflower? Or are you one step ahead of me and have already tried cooking the leaves?
Laura (Feast Wisely)