A nod to the merging of winter and spring, this roasted cauliflower is a hearty yet bright side dish that pairs perfectly with a piece of grilled fish or roasted chicken.
I’m not much of a meal planner. On my best weeks, I pick out a recipe or two over the weekend and have a general idea of what I might make. For example, if I know I have an extra busy day, I plan for something in the crockpot. But most weeks I’m flying by the seat of my pants. This does not lend itself to a stress-free dinner hour and often results in a random Tuesday night grocery store trip, or these days, a frantic Prime Now order from Whole Foods for (what did we do before online shopping and 2 hour delivery windows?). Do what I say, not what I do.
In my defense, I do generally have a well-stocked pantry and fridge and can pull together many meals with what I have on hand. That’s mostly how I like to cook, anyway. On weekdays, I keep things simple and familiar. When I grocery shop, I typically pick up an assortment of seasonal produce (with an emphasis on any sale items). If we don’t have meat/chicken from our meat share in the freezer I supplement with whatever may sound good that week (If we’re doing fish, I get that fresh the day of from our fish market), and restock any grains/beans/tofu/milk/yogurt/packaged items we might need. If I go at the right time, I can get in and out of the grocery store in under 20 minutes.
I should also note that I hate food waste. My husband has learned not to throw away the three stalks of asparagus leftover (I can put them in a salad for lunch!) or the half of a salmon burger (also great in a salad). If produce goes bad before i get to it, I feel like I’m throwing money down the drain. That’s why when I saw this month’s Recipe Redux to Spring Clean Your Kitchen with a challenge to use 3 ingredients we have in our fridge — no grocery shopping allowed — I felt like they were speaking directly to me.
When I got around to the challenge, my fridge was honestly on the emptier side, but here’s what i found:
A head of cauliflower that needed to be used within 2-3 days
Fresh herbs on their last days (mint, basil, chives)
My typical weeknight cauliflower is just roasted florets with olive oil, salt, and pepper. But for this challenge, I decided to do something with the fresh herbs. Store-bough fresh herbs are one of the things I throw out most frequently. I never seem to use them up fast enough, which is why I love growing them myself in the warmer months.
This dish feels perfect for this time of year when you’re craving light, fresh flavors of spring and summer, but it’s still so cold and dreary outside and winter vegetables are still very much in abundance.
- 1 medium to large head of cauliflower
- 1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp olive oil, divided
- Zest and Juice of half a large lemon
- 1/4 cup packed fresh basil
- 2 Tbsp chopped chives
- 2 Tbsp fresh mint leaves
- 1/8 tsp salt, divided
- Freshly ground pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 F. Slice cauliflower length-wise into 1-2 inch thick steaks. Each head can usually create 2-3 steaks. the edges will crumble and you can keep large florets for roasting as well.
- Place steaks plus any extra florets on a baking sheet. Be sure not to crowd pieces or they will steam instead of roast. Use 2 sheets if you need to. Brush cauliflower with 1 Tbsp olive oil. Sprinkle with about 1/8 tsp salt and then add freshly ground pepper to your preference. Put in oven and roast for 25 minutes, until edges become browned and crispy.
- To make the dressing, blend remaining oil, salt, herbs, lemon, and zest in a high speed blender. When califlower is done, move to a serving platter and drizzle dressing over steaks and extra florets. Top with additional chopped fresh herbs, if desired.
You can make dressing ahead of time and store in fridge for up to 2 weeks.