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A nutritious and deliciously delightful dish

Cauliflower has undergone a renaissance in recent years, transforming from a somewhat underrated vegetable to a versatile and nutritious ingredient. This cruciferous vegetable has found its way into various cuisines, offering a plethora of health benefits and culinary possibilities.

Discover cauliflower’s rise to fame and widespread appeal

At the heart of cauliflower’s allure lies its remarkable nutritional composition. This cruciferous vegetable has a powerful array of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. The abundance of vitamin C can help strengthen the immune system, promote radiant skin and support collagen synthesis. Cauliflower’s vitamin K content means that it can assist with proper blood clotting and bone health, while its vitamin B6 and folate contribute to overall wellbeing. As a source of dietary fibre, cauliflower aids digestion and supports a healthy gut. Offering a guilt-free option to health-conscious individuals, aligning seamlessly with various dietary preferences, it really is a wonderful vegetable to embrace in your kitchen.

What I also admire about cauliflower is its ability to adapt and transform itself into a diverse range of dishes. Its mild, slightly nutty flavour provides the perfect canvas for creative cooks to work their culinary magic. From simple preparations like roasted cauliflower and cauliflower rice to more elaborate dishes such as creamy cauliflower gratin or buffalo cauliflower “wings”, this versatile vegetable effortlessly blends with a myriad of flavours, soaking up your favourite seasonings and spices. This chameleon-like quality has enabled it to find its way into various global cuisines, adding a unique touch to traditional dishes around the world.

We are now living in an age of gluten-conscious eating, and the humble cauliflower has emerged as a saviour for those seeking gluten-free alternatives. With its adaptable texture, cauliflower has become the go-to substitute for grains like wheat and rice. Cauliflower rice, in particular, has gained immense popularity, offering a low-carb, grain-free option for health enthusiasts and people who have gluten sensitivities. The gluten-free revolution has elevated cauliflower’s status, propelling it into the spotlight as a reliable and delicious alternative for classic grain-based dishes. It can also be used as a base for pizza and even in the filling for a cheesecake! If you’re looking for a recipe, my Raspberry and Cauliflower Cheesecake is delicious, which you can find on my blog Supercharged Food.

As the world embraces plant-based eating for reasons ranging from environmental concerns to ethical considerations, cauliflower has become a fixture in vegan and vegetarian diets. Its versatility makes it a prime candidate for replacing animal-based ingredients in traditional recipes. Cauliflower “steaks”, cauliflower tacos and cauliflower-based sauces are just a few examples of its impressive role in elevating plant-based cuisine.

One of my favourite ways to use cauliflower is in my Cauliflower Steaks with Za’atar recipe, as it’s a melt-in-the-mouth and extremely tasty lunch or dinner option. I’m using za’atar spice blend, which is a Middle Eastern seasoning made from a mix of dried herbs, sesame seeds and sumac. The inclusion of za’atar adds an exotic and aromatic flavour profile to the dish. You also get some extra nutritional benefits too, as sesame seeds are an excellent source of healthy fats, while sumac provides the body with a sprinkling of antioxidants.

The primary source of fat in this recipe is olive oil, a staple of Mediterranean cuisine. Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, which are heart-healthy and can help reduce bad cholesterol levels. It also contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, contributing to improved cardiovascular health.

I’ve added some garlic to enhance the taste and add potential health benefits, as it’s been known for its antimicrobial and immune-boosting properties. It may also help in reducing blood pressure and improving heart health.

One ingredient that I use a lot in my cooking is rocket, a leafy green vegetable with a distinctive peppery flavour. It’s an excellent source of vitamins A, C and K, as well as antioxidants like beta-carotene and lutein. These nutrients support eye health, skin health and a stronger immune system.

The combination of dried cranberries and walnuts in the salad provides a delightful contrast of textures and flavours. Cranberries are rich in antioxidants and may support urinary tract health. Walnuts, on the other hand, are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for heart health and brain function.

On top, I love to use goat’s cheese as it’s a tangy and creamy addition to the dish. Then I add a dressing made from lemon juice and Dijon mustard, which provides a zesty and tangy touch that really highlights all of the flavours.

This recipe is a wholesome and nutritious meal that incorporates a variety of nutrient-dense ingredients. It’s rich in fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants while being low in refined carbohydrates and unhealthy fats. By using cauliflower as the base instead of meat, it offers a satisfying and delicious plant-based alternative for vegetarians and those seeking to reduce their meat intake.

The combination of za’atar spice, olive oil, garlic and lemon juice adds depth and complexity to the dish. Whether you’re a health-conscious individual or a food lover, my Cauliflower Steaks with Za’atar is a delightful and nutritious choice that showcases the incredible flavours and benefits of wholesome ingredients.

Cauliflower Steaks with Za’atar

Serves 2

  • 1 large head of cauliflower, stems & leaves removed (optionally keep the leaves & roast with salt and olive oil)
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled & whole
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt
  • 3 tbsp ground paprika
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp za’atar spice
  • 2 handfuls rocket
  • 2 tbsp dried cranberries, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 baby cucumber, skin peeled & sliced
  • 20g goat’s cheese

Dressing

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Salt

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C.
  2. Place the cauliflower upright on a chopping board, then slice off each end, approx. 1cm.
  3. Slice cauliflower down the middle to create 2 flat steak pieces about 3–4cm thick.
  4. Lay cauliflower and garlic on a lined baking tray and season generously with olive oil and salt.
  5. Rub paprika, sesame seeds, cumin seeds and lemon juice onto each steak then sprinkle with 2 tbsp za’atar.
  6. Place tray in the oven and cook for 10 mins.
  7. Remove tray from oven and flip the steaks over. Sprinkle remaining za’atar over and place back into the oven.
  8. Bake for a further 10 mins.
  9. While the cauliflower is cooking, prepare the salad and dressing.
  10. Toss rocket, cranberries, walnuts and cucumber in a mixing bowl.
  11. Whisk together the dressing ingredients and pour over salad.
  12. Divide two portions of the salad onto two serving plates.
  13. When the cauliflower is cooked, place onto of the salad.
  14. Serve with crumbled goats’ cheese and a sprinkle of za’atar.

Article featured in WellBeing Magazine 207

Lee Holmes

Lee Holmes

Lee Holmes is a nutritionist, yoga and meditation teacher, wholefoods chef, Lifestyle Food Channel’s Healthy Eating Expert, blogger and author of the best-selling books Supercharged Food: Eat Your Way to Health, Supercharged Food: Eat Yourself Beautiful, Eat Clean, Green and Vegetarian, Heal your Gut, Eat Right for Your Shape and Supercharged Food for Kids.

Lee’s food philosophy is all about S.O.L.E. food: sustainable, organic, local and ethical. Her main goal is to alter the perception that cooking fresh, wholesome, nutrient-rich meals is difficult, complicated and time-consuming. From posting recipes, her passion to share her autoimmune disease story and help others has snowballed and the blog has recently taken home the overall prize at the Bupa Health Influencer Awards as well as the best blog in the Healthy Eating category. She also runs a four-week online Heal Your Gut program.

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