in season now: cauliflower + 5 ways to use it

Purple romanesco cauliflower green vegan

Cauliflower is everywhere at the market right now.  It’s so beautiful with its tightly packed, creamy florets and tender green leaves.

Cauliflower is a member of the brassica family, otherwise known as cruciferous vegetables.  Others members of the family: broccoli, brussels, arugula, bok choy, radish, turnips, collard greens, watercress and cabbage.

Cruciferous vegetables basically have superpowers- they’re one of the top vegetables for cancer prevention.  They boost and activate our immune system receptors in the gut, they contain high levels of antioxidants, and eating them regularly appears to boost detoxifying enzymes in the liver.  Food is SO amazing.

Back to cauliflower, though.  It’s in season and you should totally be eating it.  Not only is it super healthy for you, it’s delicious and super versatile.  You can keep it raw or roast, steam, purée, sauté it.  When you cook it, it turns into this slightly sweet, creamy bank canvas to soak up really any flavors you want.  You can even turn it into grain free, nutrient dense “rice“.

At the market, choose cauliflower with nice dense florets, bright in color, heavy for its size, with fresh looking leaves.  If the ones you see have brown discoloration on them, they’re not as fresh, but you can cut it off at home and underneath it will be fine.

Purple graffiti cauliflower vegan meal

Cauliflower is quite hardy and tends to store very well in the refrigerator.  I usually just store mine loose in the produce drawer of my fridge, and it does just fine.  You may like to cut it up + store it in a bowl with a lid in the fridge to make it easy to grab and use later in the week.  If you’re not using it up fast enough, you can steam it and freeze it- it’s actually great in a smoothie (really! read this if you’re curious).

There are so many vibrant colors of cauliflower- green, purple, orange, white.  The colored ones are even better for you than standard white because of the antioxidants.  There’s even romanesco, an Italian broccoli-cauliflower-ish veggie that comes in a gorgeous natural fractal shape.  I die over these!  They are soooooo beautiful.

Romanesco cauliflower broccoli recipe vegan

I first tried cauliflower and squash together in a soup when I made a recipe from the lovely Loni Jane’s second ebook.  It’s so perfect-  the cauliflower makes it super velvety and creamy!

I made a few tweaks but really this is such a simple recipe, you can customize it however you like.  It’s especially good with some crusty bread to dip or a dollop of quinoa and rice added when serving.

After the recipe, I’ve also added links for 4 other recipes to use cauliflower in to give you more ideas on how versatile it can be.

cauliflower squash soup vegan creamy dairy free plant based chickpeas

winter squash + cauliflower soup with harissa chickpeas

for the soup

1/2 a medium cauliflower, cut into large florets

1/2 a large kabocha or butternut or pie pumpkin, (or even sweet potato!), cut into 2 inch pieces

1 medium onion, chopped

3 large cloves garlic, smashed

5 cups veggie broth or 5 cups water + veggie bouillon

salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon harissa spice or less depending on how spicy your harissa is (you can also omit or sub curry powder)

3 tablespoons of nutritional yeast (optional but boosts the savory flavor)

for the crunchy chickpeas

2 cups or 1 can of chickpeas, drained

2 teaspoons coconut oil

1 teaspoon harissa spice or curry powder

salt and pepper

 

method:

Crank the oven to 450 Fahrenheit.

Add everything to the pot except the nutritional yeast.  Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and let it simmer until the veggies are very soft.  A fork should be able to go through with no resistance when you poke them.

While you wait for the veggies to soften, dry the chickpeas on a kitchen towel so they’re not soggy.  Transfer to baking sheet and drizzle over coconut oil and salt.  Mix with hands to evenly coat.  Spread the chickpeas out so they’re in a single layer with plenty of space between them.  Pop in the oven and roast till crispy, 15-20 minutes.  When they’re done, sprinkle the harissa over them and stir to coat.

Transfer soup to a blender, using a ladle and add the nutritional yeast, then purée till very smooth.  Alternatively, add the yeast to the pot and blend with an immersion stick blender.

Ladle/pour into bowls and top with the chickpeas, cilantro and green onions.  Finish with chili flakes and any crunchy nuts or seeds you like- I used my DIY everything bagel spice blend but use whatever you like- roasted cashews, sliced almonds, pumpkin seeds, anything that adds a little texture.  Enjoy right away!

This freezes and reheats perfectly too.  I freeze in mason jars and then take on out in the morning, put it in the fridge during the day, and then heat it up at night for dinner.

+ 4 other ways to enjoy cauliflower:

kung pao cauliflower: this looks amazing!  Obviously leave out the bacon, though, because grosss.

cauliflower cashew curry: curries are a perfect easy weeknight meal as they go so fast yet deliver big flavor.  Cauliflower is perfect in curried with its soft, tender texture.

cauliflower “gnocchi” with pesto:  this is such an easy trick I learned a long time ago from one of Kim Snyder’s cookbooks.  Cut off the ends of the florets, reserving the stems for another use, so that you’re left with bite size roundish pieces.  Steam them and then toss with your favorite pesto.  UNREAL.  So tasty and lightning fast.

cauliflower buffalo “wings”: I’m sure you guys have tried of these or heard of them before, but I still had to mention them because I’m in love with wing sauce and can eat a whole pan of these guys.  It’s just cauliflower dipped in batter and baked, then coated with wing sauce.  Perfect texture and a great healthier replacement for chicken wings.

easy pasta with cauliflower + greens: this has a Sicilian flair with the raisins, vinegar, and chili flakes and it’s so yummy.  Add in chickpeas or use chickpea pasta to make this a hearty, one dish meal.

ENJOY your cauliflower this week!  I hope I’ve inspired you to work it more into your rotation- it really is such a wonderful vegetable.

xx Amanda

at the market now: turnips + 5 ways to use them

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Turnips are a beautiful and often misunderstood vegetable.  Like their gnarly cousins rutabaga, kohlrabi, and celeriac, they get a bad rap for being bland and boring.  Nothing could be further from the truth!  I love turnips and almost screamed when I spotted these gorgeous smooth white Japanese turnips at the market again after the summer.  The variety is called Tokyo and they are hands down my favorite.  I buy them every.single.week.  They are creamy, sweet, tender, and come attached with a beautiful free bunch of their own greens.  I always use both the tops and the roots, often in the same recipe.

Also available in my area are either “Purple Top” (white and purple) or “Scarlet Queen” (neon pink outside and white inside) which are both a larger turnip.  When they are smaller, they are crunchy and juicy, and do well julienned into a salad raw.  The larger ones can get spicy or bitter and do best with longer cooking.  Try peeling and cutting up a few and steaming them until very soft with potatoes, then mashing.  A nice hot roast in the oven or cast iron skillet tames their sometimes aggressive bite into a caramelized and silky sweetness.

As for the greens, they are so good if you get nice fresh ones.  They are tender and mild. Just cut off the wiry stems and then saute them like you would any other hearty green- or combine them with kale and chard into a mixed greens stir fry.

Choose turnips that are firm, with fresh sturdy greens attached + bulbs that are smaller rather than larger.  When you get them home, cut off the greens from the bulbs (the greens will continue to suck moisture from the roots) and store them separately.  If you end up with quite large turnips, you may need to peel them.  Take a bite and see if the skin is tough or bitter.

Below you’ll find our favorite simple recipe for the small white Tokyo turnips, and a few links to other recipes utilizing turnips in a variety of ways.

miso braised turnips with their greens (serves 4- adapted from this recipe )

INGREDIENTS:

1 tablespoon white miso

1 tablespoons coconut oil or vegan butter

2 bunches small Tokyo turnips with greens

3/4 cup water

2 tablespoons mirin

2 green onions, sliced thinly on the diagonal

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

METHOD:

Stir together miso and the butter/oil.  Cut the stems off of the greens.  Keep the greens and compost the stems (they are wiry and not pleasant to eat).  Chop the leaves coarsely.  Halve the turnips or leave whole if very small.  Place in a skillet with water and mirin.  Bring to a boil and then cover and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes or until almost tender (add more water a little at a time if it starts to get dry).  Add greens, stirring to coat.  Cover and cook 1 minute.  Uncover and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until everything is tender and the liquid has reduced to a glaze.  Stir in the miso mix and cook 1 more minute.  Sprinkle the green onions and sesame seeds on top.

We like to serve this with veggie sushi and steamed kabocha squash, yum!

additional turnip recipes to try:

Simple roasted turnips (with the large purple top varieties): Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Peel and cut up turnips into 1/2 inch chunks.  Toss with olive oil, turn onto a sheet pan and sprinkle with flaky salt and pepper.  Roast until caramelized on the edges and totally tender.

Turnip Veggie Burgers: this recipe whizzes up both the greens and roots in the burger mix!

Turnip and Kale Gratin decidedly not vegan, but I’m planning to try it for Thanksgiving, leaving out the eggs and cheese, skipping the cream infusing first step, and simply tossing the ingredients together and baking with this mozzarella sauce.  I’ve used this sauce before to bind stuffing and it worked perfectly because of the gooey nature of the cornstarch.  I’d also add some nutmeg and use fresh thyme.

Turnip, apple, and brussels sprout slaw :  so crunchy, fresh and easy.

I hope this inspired you guys to get some turnips this week at the market!  Share your turnips with me @mamaeatsplants on Instagram so I can see!  Be well, friends xx

 

at the market: winter squash + 5 ways to use it

IMG_1993Winter squash is abundant this time of year- so many colors, textures and flavors to choose from.  I always buy a bunch and keep them on the table as a sort of “fruit bowl” type centerpiece because they are so pretty.  My favorites are kabocha, red kuri, delicata, and butternut.  These all have dense, sweet flesh that get caramelized when roasted and blends up creamy for soups.  I also love spaghetti squash as whole food, gluten free noodle replacer- just cut in half, scoop out the seeds, and steam.  Delicata is great because it has tender thin skin (no need to peel)- cut in half, scoop out the seeds, cut into half moons, and roast.  I especially love roasting it with brussels, beets or other veg for a colorful side.  Kabocha has edible skin, too- I like to cut into wedges and steam in a kombu-lined pot with a few tablespoons of mirin, splash of water, and some tamari and green onions to finish- a technique I learned from this post.

When choosing squash, look for ones that have bright and vibrant skins and that feel heavy for their size.  I like to choose smaller ones because I find them less likely to be stringy.  If you do end up getting a stringy squash, just blend it up into a soup or puree it for a side/ add to breads, pie, etc!  Store squash in a cool, dry place- thinner skinned varieties like delicata only last a few weeks, but other squashes can last a month or more in a cool area like the garage.

Here’s my favorite squash soup recipe, plus 4 other ways to use up those gorgeous gourds.

squash soup

INGREDIENTS:

1 tablespoon of coconut oil (or use broth/water for oil free)

1 large yellow onion, chopped

1 large sweet apple, chopped

1 large squash or pumpkin, any type, peeled and cubed, seeds reserved ~5-6 cups

2 teaspoons fresh thyme or sage, minced

1 can coconut milk

2-3 cups of vegetable broth (depending on how large your squash is and how thick/thin you prefer your soup)

salt + pepper, to taste

any toppings you like, here i used sage leaves crisped up in a hot pan with a touch of olive oil + toasted pecans.

METHOD:

Preheat the oven to 400.  Toss the squash seeds with a little oil, salt and pepper and place in the preheated oven and bake until crispy, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large dutch oven or soup pot.  Add in the onion and apple and saute until onion is translucent, about 5-7 minutes.  Add in the thyme and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add in the squash and stir to coat.  Add in coconut milk and broth.  Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and let it simmer, uncovered, until the squash is completely tender, about 20 minutes.  Use an immersion blender to puree or carefully transfer to a blender to puree.  Taste and add salt and pepper to your liking.

To serve: Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with the roasted seeds, and any other toppings- a scoop of quinoa, some avocado, breadcrumbs, dollop of cashew cream, toasted pecans, fried sage leaves, anything you desire.

+4 other favorite squash recipes

creamy kabocha pasta : I omit the cheese and meat in this recipe, subbing crispy sautéed mushrooms (sear in a pan with thyme and shallot, only stirring once or twice so they get crispy)

roast squash and bean tart : impressive looking and delicious vegan main, GF, perfect for thanksgiving or holiday gatherings.

chili and sesame roasted squash : so so good, easy, and a totally different taste profile than the usual recipes.

butternut lasagna with sage-tofu ricotta : another delicious and beautiful vegan main, just add a green salad and you’re set!

+ 1 bonus recipe: pumpkin cheesecake // I’ve been wanting to try this baby forever, it looks so good and would be perfect to bring to a dinner or holiday party.

I hope you enjoy these recipes and that it inspires you to work more squash into the meal rotation this week.  Have a lovely weekend! xx

at the market now: beets + 5 ways to use them

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I just adore beets.  Those gorgeous colors, that deep earthy sweetness, and the fact that they come with a free bunch of greens attached!!!!  YES please.  In all honesty, I really used to be disgusted by them, though.  I thought they tasted like dirt.  Thankfully my taste buds aren’t petulant babies anymore.  Beets are abundant at our local farmer’s market throughout fall, winter, and spring.  After a long hot summer, I’m dying to welcome  them back.

I usually find three varieties at our market- red (Bull’s Blood, Detroit Wonder, Cylindrica), pink with white rings inside (Chioggia, Candy Stripe), and yellow or golden.  They all taste a little different.  The golden and chioggia types taste milder and sweeter.  They are delicious raw, sliced paper thin on a mandolin (chioggia are especially gorgeous this way, as you can see all the vibrant stripes).

Beets can be roasted, pickled, steamed, eaten in salad, added to hummus, and so much more.  Cut into cubes and roast with squash, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, rosemary and garlic for an easy side.  Slice them thinly on a mandolin, and bake with olive oil and sea salt for crispy chips.

An easy way to prep the whole bunch at once: cut off stems and tail, wrap tightly in aluminum foil.  Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes to an hour until soft.  Let them cool a bit and then open up the foil and rub it against the skin-it will slip right off.  Compost the skins and rinse off and reuse or recycle the foil.

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Treat beet greens like any other hardy green (kale, chard, etc) and saute.

At the market, choose beets that feel firm with fresh and green leaves.  The best, freshest beets will have a sort of sheen to the skin.  When you get home, wash them and cut the greens off, or they will continue to draw moisture and flavor out.  I store the roots loose in my crisper drawer.  Cut the leaves off of the stems.  Compost the stalks and store the leaves as you would any leafy green- I either wrap loosely in a slightly damp kitchen towel, or in my storage bags from The Swag (they work really well).

All that said, let’s get cooking.  Here are a few recipes that we especially enjoy using beets as the star.

citrus and beet winter salad (serves 4 as a side)

INGREDIENTS:

2 large beets, steamed or roasted, peeled and sliced into wedges (see roasting instructions above if interested)

1 small chioggia or yellow beet, peeled and thinly sliced on a mandolin

2 oranges, skin and pith removed, sliced 1/4 inch thick crosswise, seeds removed

1 large avocado, pitted and sliced

1/4 cup of roasted pistachios (sub any other toasted nut or seed)- roughly chopped

1/3 cup of pomegranate arils

1 small shallot, finely chopped ~ 2 tablespoons

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme OR 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped very finely

1/4 teaspoon each kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper

a handful of leafy bitter/spicy greens, like arugula, radicchio, or endive

flaky sea salt for finishing

opional: Urfa Biber chili flakes (I had them around, they are black flakes with a mild heat and deep flavor + they look beautiful on food) black sesame seeds would do the trick too to pop the colors.

METHOD:

Place shallot and ACV in a small mixing bowl.  Let sit 2 minutes, then whisk in the oil, sweetener, herbs, salt and pepper.  Taste and adjust as necessary.

Spread the greens out over a large plate or serving platter.  Arrange the roasted beets, oranges, avocado on top.  Tuck in the raw sliced beets around the sides and in empty spaces. Sprinkle on the pomegranate arils and drizzle dressing over the salad evenly.  Sprinkle the nuts and a few pinches of flaky salt over and serve immediately.

We like to serve as a side with a nice creamy soup, like butternut or carrot + some crusty bread + the beet greens (sauteed with olive oil, shallot, lemon, and nutmeg).

+4 more recipes that can’t be beet 

crushed and crispy beets with yogurt : this is a delicious recipe.  I skip the second step of pan frying to make it easier.  Coco yogurt with a few teaspoons of lemon and pinch of salt mixed in is an easy swap for the labneh.

french “peasant” beets : I’ve made this recipe quite a few times, subbing miyoko’s vegan butter (TJ’s has the lowest price on this or you can make your own!  this is miyoko’s recipe and it’s really easy + no plastic) and a cashew cheese for the goat cheese called for.  A great dinner with a green salad and some crusty bread.

fudgy chocolate beet cake with avo frosting : GF/V, rich, dense, packed with healthy plant foods, and tastes like perfect cake.  I made these in cupcake form once to send with my son to a SAD eater’s kid’s birthday party, where I knew they’d be serving chocolate cupcakes.  They looked exactly the same and my son didn’t eat crappy corn syrup and hydrogenated oil laced cupcakes.  WIN!

ginger+star anise quick pickled beets : so easy + silky, sophisticated flavors.  A perfect dinner party starter along with some roasted almonds and some crackers and nut cheese.

Now go buy some beets and eat them all the ways 🙂  Tag me on Instagram @mamaeatsplants so I can see all your beet-y creations!

xx love to you