Cauliflower is a beautiful thing!! With its bunches of tightly clustered florets snuggled into green leaves, cauliflower looks somewhat like a flower. Cauliflower comes in colors other than white–and with added nutrients. Orange and green cauliflower provide us with beta carotene. Green cauliflower also has a little more protein. Purple cauliflower gets its color from anthocyanins, said to improve memory. Since its color fades with cooking, you will get the most benefits by eating it raw.
Cauliflower has been called the “skinny starch”. It has 16 % less carbs and 79 % fewer calories per 1/2 cup than potatoes. It also has lots of pectin– the same stuff that thickens jams and jellies–so pureed cooked cauliflower has a velvety texture that adds body to soups, and mimics potatoes when mashed. Cauliflower may also be shredded or finely chopped, then lightly sautéed to make a low-carb “rice” or “couscous”.
If you prepare cauliflower with a sense of adventure, its mild flavor and unique texture allow it to take the place of other higher calorie, higher-starch foods in winter dishes. Forget basic steamed florets. In this recipe you will see that roasty-browned cauliflower mixes well with dried cranberries and crispy French fried onions to make a side dish that goes well with just about any main entree.
ROASTED CAULIFLOWER WITH CRANBERRIES AND CRISPY ONIONS
Yield: Makes 6 – 8 servings
- 1 large head of cauliflower
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 3/4 cup French Fried onions, divided
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries, divided
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pistachios, divided
- 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1. Preheat oven to 375*F.
2. Cut cauliflower into small bite-size florets. Place on a large baking sheet and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 10 minutes. Remove cauliflower from oven. Add 1/2 cup of the French fried onions to the cauliflower on the baking sheet and toss to mix. Place the remaining 1/4 cup onions off to one side of the baking sheet (these will be used as garnish.) Roast mixture an additional 10 minutes or until cauliflower reaches desired tenderness and onions are brown and crispy.
3. In a small bowl, combine ricotta cheese with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.
4. Set aside 2 tablespoons each of dried cranberries and pistachios ( these will be used as garnish).
5. In a medium bowl, toss warm cauliflower mixture with dried cranberries and pistachios. Spoon ricotta mixture on top and fold gently, leaving large bits of ricotta. Garnish with reserved cranberries, pistachios and crispy onions. Serve immediately.
SOURCE: Eating Well