I don’t know about you, but lately I have started to have some winter blues. The gloominess is getting to me! Not only that, but I have been running into road blocks with weeknight dinners. Trying to keep my dishes healthy, yet hearty and comforting in the winter months can be a delicate balance.
This week, I tried a new side dish recipe using cauliflower and its’ end result was intriguing and seriously delicious. The tastiness of the roasted cauliflower, toasted almonds, and almond butter mixed with golden raisins and a caper vinaigrette…talk about hitting all the palate notes. This recipe is savory walking down the aisle with sweet and salty on each arm. YUM. I am an adamant fan of cruciferous vegetables, especially in the winter. They are seasonal, inexpensive, hearty, and a nutrition powerhouse.
What are cruciferous vegetables?
Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, turnips, brussel sprouts, kale, arugula, radishes, and bok choy to name a few. The classification name cruciferous comes from the latin word cruciferae, which stands for cross or cross-bearing. When these vegetables grow, their four flower petals resemble a cross, hence the meaning of their classification name cruciferous.
These cruciferous vegetables are nutrition rock stars. They contain phytochemicals called glucosinolates, which is R.D.-lingo for a food that is high in antioxidants that help fight off inflammation in the body and ultimately reduce your cancer risk. These vegetables tend to be good sources of vitamin C, dietary fiber, folate, potassium, and vitamin K. They are also low in calories, fat, and carbohydrates.
How can you get the biggest nutritional bang for your buck with these cruciferous vegetables?
Eat a variety of them! Sounds easy right? Well, the truth is often easier friends. Although many of them contain different amounts of vitamins and minerals, the key to remember is variety. No one vegetable trumps the other. The greater variety you eat, the more likely you are getting a broader spectrum of vitamins and minerals, which is the key to good health.
I personally love to explore and experiment with different ways of cooking these vegetables and side dishes. Cauliflower, in particular, is incredibly versatile. It can be roasted, boiled, steamed, grilled, fried, pickled, or eaten raw. For better nutritional value, avoid boiling and frying. Boiling can reduce the nutritional content and frying adds saturated fat from the frying oil. Cauliflower can make great low carbohydrate options such as cauliflower rice, mashed cauliflower, and cauliflower pizza crust.
Now on to the best part…the recipe! This recipe can be served as a side dish, vegetarian entree, or paired with your favorite protein.
Roasted Cauliflower with Toasted Almonds, Golden Raisins, and Caper Vinaigrette
Yield: 4 servings, Cook time: 20 minutes, Total time: 40 minutes
- 1 head cauliflower, cut into small wedges and rinsed
- 6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 2 Tbsp Sherry cooking wine
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 2 Tbsp capers, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup golden raisins
- 1/4 cup toasted almonds, sliced
- 1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup almond butter
- Preheat oven to broil or 500 degrees F. Toss cauliflower with 3 tablespoons olive oil, bread crumbs, and 1 Tbsp sherry wine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Coat an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet with cooking spray or olive oil. Spread the cauliflower evenly on the baking sheet. Roast in the oven until cauliflower starts to lightly brown on both sides, about 20 minutes. Flip the cauliflower halfway through to allow both sides to brown.
- While the cauliflower is roasting, combine 3 Tbsp olive oil, 1 Tbsp sherry wine, honey, and capers for your vinaigrette.
- Toast almonds in a small saute pan for about 3-5 minutes until lightly browned. Set aside.
- In the same or slightly larger saute pan, heat the almond butter on medium-low heat until warm.
- On a serving plate, spread the warm almond butter along the plate. Next, place the roasted cauliflower on top of the almond butter and top with vinaigrette, toasted almonds, and raisins. Serve immediately.