Vegan and gluten-free can still be taste-ee?

Warm cauliflower salad with ras el hanout, sesame seeds, parsley and a tahini dressing. Tart, toasty and tasty!
I recently attended a 30th Birthday party for my good friend DW, who just so happens to have a vegan and gluten-free diet. We both love cooking and whenever I go over to her house I think of some things I ate when I was a vegetarian. Surprisingly, when you are a strict vegetarian, a lot of meals just end up being vegan. I don’t eat a lot of dairy in general and there are a lot of great oils for cooking with instead of butter. As much as I didn’t enjoy cauliflower as a child, I found a way to cook cauliflower that really works for me. I had it caramelized like this once at a restaurant and I never turned back.Basically, you cook cauliflower in a med-high pan with oil to caramelize the sugar within the cauliflower. The result is a wonderfully aromatic and nutty cauliflower that you can eat just like popcorn. I put a twist on this recipe by using some North African flavours that I usually have kicking around in my pantry.

Please enjoy!

Loose recipe

-1 head of cauliflower, broken into “trees” or florets and cut into thin strips, providing a flat surface area for caramelization

– ras el hanout spice blend ( I use the brand Monsoon Coast, a BC spice blending company based on Saltspring Island. Try their Baharat and Ethiopian Berbere blends too, super yummy!)

-oil (I like cooking with Grapeseed oil because it doesn’t have a strong flavour and doesn’t smoke at low medium heat)

-sesame seeds, salt and pepper

Dressing ingredients:

Olive oil
Pomegranate molasses
Lemon Juice
Salt and Pepper

Garnish with Italian Flat-leaf parsley

Toss the cut cauliflower pieces with a bit of grapeseed oil, salt and pepper, and the ras el hanout spice blend.

Preheat a pan to medium/medium-high heat. Do the cauliflower pieces in batches, not tossing the pan right away to ensure the first contact side gets heavy caramelization. The aroma will guide you. If they get too dark too quickly, turn down the heat a bit.

Put all your cauliflower pieces in a dish after cooking. If you taste a piece and it’s not cooked all the way through, you can bake them in the dish with a cover to finish the cooking process.

The dressing is made by whisking the juice of one whole lemon, a couple of splashes of pomegranate molasses, a couple tablespoons of tahini and olive oil together. I add the oil slowly until the dressing thickens. Once thickened, I add some salt and pepper to my own taste.

When you’re ready to serve the dish warm, toss in some toasted sesame seeds and the flat-leaf parsley with the dressing. Taste a few pieces to see if you prefer the dish to be more heavily dressed or not. This is all up to your own personal taste.

Please enjoy!


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