With today being National Cook Something Bold Day, we wanted to share a colorful recipe brought to you by a guest blogger, Priya Bhasin. We absolutely fell in love with the colors and idea behind this dish, which is perfect for those following a Paleo Diet. Let’s take a look at what Priya created for this festive evening:
I have been trying to JERF (Just Eat Real Food) for a couple of years now. Eating a plant based Paleo/primal diet can, however, get a little boring at times. You often want to try new foods in order to break up the monotony and to still stay on track with healthy choices. This has led me to shop at farmers’ markets on a regular basis. I am so excited to shop there each week, to get to know my farmers by name, and learn about the newest produce items they have. I am always discovering exciting new vegetables and fruits.
One week I noticed several of the produce items I had purchased were a beautiful purple color. Among them was purple cauliflower! I had always thought of cauliflower as a bland vegetable. While looking for a rice substitute after I started eating Paleo/primal I realized that cauliflower had a mild flavor, but took on the flavors of other foods very well. So, I experimented with my purple cauliflower and came up with a delicious dish!
A few years ago, I would have told you three food “facts”:
- Fat is terrible
- Cooking takes too long therefore a store bought/fast food salad was the answer for dinner (at least 4 nights a week!)
- Grocery shopping is tedious and boring.
I still think number 3 is true. Think about it. Going to the grocery store, the same exact produce, meat, and processed foods are on the shelves day in and day out. For the most part, you can always get the produce you’re looking for, you stick to what you know, and end up making the same things over and over again. The few changes on the shelves are what new exciting flavor of pop-tarts is in stock.
Going to the farmer’s market is a completely different experience for me. As nerdy as it sounds, I am excited to shop there each week, to get to know my farmers, and learn about the newest produce item. It’s rapid heartbeat inducing and incredibly exciting when sweet potatoes suddenly appear at your favorite stand. Or when yellow cherry tomatoes arrive. And just as upsetting when they go.
Shopping at the farmers market teaches us to eat what’s local and in season, and you appreciate the fruits and veggies as they come and go. You don’t know what you got till it’s gone….I’m starting to realize that it’s a little weird that I can get a blueberry any time I want, when they’re not in season anymore!
My foray into purple produce therefore, was a happy accident when I noticed that several of the items I had purchased one week were a beautiful purple color. I made it my goal to get as many purple veggies and fruits as I could (nerd alert) and that’s how I ended up with a purple cauliflower.
Where I got it:
My local Sunday farmer’s market. I have almost exclusively stopped using grocery stores to buy food except for some staples like almond butter, sea salt, COCONUT OIL, etc. I prefer eating in season, local and organic plant based meals. Where better to find the ingredients for such meals, than the farmer’s market! Shopping at the market also encourages me to try new produce, and to invent recipes when I’ve never encountered a veggie. Enter: purple cauliflower. What does one do with it?
I’ve generally be relatively disgusted by cauliflower, and only started experimenting with it when I began to eat Paleo/primal and was desperate for a rice substitute. I began to realize that cauliflower has a mild flavor itself, but it takes on the flavors of its neighbors very well.
Why is it purple?:
Flavanoids (antioxidant properties) that are similar to those in purple cabbage, blueberries, dark chocolate and wine. Cauliflower also provides good amounts of fiber and has a low glycemic index (so your blood sugar doesn’t spike after eat it).
What I used:
- 1 huge head of purple cauliflower
- ¼ cup crushed almonds (raw)
- ¼ cup raisins (dried by real sun!)
- 4 tbsp (or ¼ cup) Kelapo coconut oil
- 1 medium red onion chopped
- 2 large cloves of garlic
- A large handful of coarsely chopped cilantro
- Sea salt & pepper
- Trader Joes 21 Seasoning Salute spice blend (optional)
How I made it:
This seriously only took me about 20 minutes. Enter Food Fact number 2. Less time than the Chipotle line at 7PM on a weeknight. Sometimes experimenting and ‘cooking by feel’ results in the tastiest meals, without the time investment of following a recipe. The more you do it, the better you get at learning how different items cook, how long they need in a pan, etc.
That being said, if you like recipes my ‘loose’ recipe is below, and can be made with regular white cauliflower as well. This recipe was enough for 3-4 portions.
- Chop/prep everything first: onion, cilantro, almonds, cauliflower, garlic.
- Cut the core/stems of the cauliflower off to release the florets. Cut them into smaller pieces for faster cooking.
- Turn the garlic into a paste to release more of its flavor (coarsely chop, add sea salt, use the side of your knife to smash and scrape it against the cutting board until it’s a paste).
- Warm the pan to medium-low, melt 3 tbsp of coconut oil in the pan.
- Toss in onions and garlic and let them cook until onions are soft.
- Add almonds and let them toast up in the garlic-onion goodness.
- Raisin time! So that they soak up some coconut oil and garlic flavor and get nice and plump.
- Increase the heat to medium and throw in the cauliflower. Mix everything around so that the florets are evenly coated, add the last bit of coconut oil and stir occasionally until the florets brown a bit and are soft, but still have a slight crunch to them.
- Throw in the cilantro at the end and stir through the dish for a few more minutes.
- Substitute/add anything in this recipe for what’s in your kitchen – it’ll turn out even better!
Why coconut oil?:
Coconuts have magical powers. There’s nothing scientific in that statement, but I believe it’s true! Coconut oil can be beneficial for so many things and my goal in life is to coat the inside and outside of my body with as much of it as possible. Sounds crazy for someone who used to be a ‘fat phobe’ right?
The reasons for using it in this recipe are many:
- Good fat! Fills me up, and keeps me healthier than I’ve ever been/looked before!
- It adds an unreal level of flavor to anything I cook. Since cauliflower takes on the flavor of what’s added to it, coconut oil is a great way to bump up it’s flavor. Try cooking eggs with it, too! Ridiculous flavor, especially with a really good quality extra virgin cold pressed coconut oil, like Kelapo. You’ll never go back to whatever else you’re using!
- It has a higher cooking temperature (it maintains more of its health benefits when heated than oil might), so while olive oil is great for cold foods like salads, coconut oil works really well when you’re stir frying, sautéing, or pan roasting something.
To check out more of my Paleo/primal/plant-based/JERF food exploration you can follow me on Instagram @pbizzlepbizzle
Questions? Feel feel to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org