Do I miss eating meat?
Almost a decade later, I still get asked that question, usually by well-meaning meat lovers who can’t imagine anyone giving up meat by their own free will.
These days I just shrug; I’ve stopped telling them that I never really liked meat to begin with – just like some don’t like Brussels sprouts or (gasp!) chocolate.
Or that by some twist of fate I spent my first years meat-free, save for the occasional chicken at Christmas and on special occasions when we’d visit my grandma.
I don’t tell them that my dad was a vegetarian when he met my mom, and that meat didn’t really factor into my diet until I was way into my teens, and I never really got the texture.
The other day, a bunch of us shoppers were standing around the admiring the orange, purple and green cauliflower display at the grocery store when the girl in the Peter Tosh t-shirt says to the guy she’s with, “Cauliflower is my steak”.
It made me smile, and wished it’d catch on, I can’t decide whether it’s clever or sounds like propaganda from a vegan commune/cult from the early eighties. It also made me think of this cauliflower steak recipe I saw in Bon Appetit a while back.
We can’t enough of those colourful cauliflowers at home; I imagine that’s how some people feel about steaks; we buy them week after week until they disappear from the stores.
I love it oven-roasted, seasoned and tossed in a bit of olive oil – to make a meal out of it, I beef it up with onions and peppers, and add in beans for protein and capers to enhance the flavour.
But you can add whatever vegetable/starch/protein combination you want and the spices and herbs possibilities are endless; I love lemons, the flavours are refreshing. Cumin is warming, and curry powder livens it.
Roasting cauliflower intensifies the flavour and brings out its natural sweetness and it gets crispy and tender.
For this particular dinner, I paired the roasted vegetables with Israeli couscous, the size and chewiness works well with the cauliflower. I cook the couscous just like rice in a rice cooker.
It’s delicious, hearty and filling – maybe cauliflower is my steak after all!
Roasted Cauliflower with Israeli Couscous
- 1 head of orange cauliflower (or other)
- 1 head of purple cauliflower (or other)
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 red onion
- 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped (divided)
- Olive oil
- Crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons everyday seasoning (I use Trader Joe’s Everyday Seasoning)
- 1 cup cooked black-eye peas (optional)
- 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed (optional)
- 1 – 2 cups Israeli couscous, cooked (recipe below)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
- Prep and cut cauliflower into florets
- Cut onion and bell pepper into even bite-size chunks and dump into a large bowl
- Add a tablespoon of parsley
- Drizzle with olive oil, and add salt, crushed pepper and seasoning
- Toss and mix well to coat
- Spread out in a single layer onto a baking dish or pan
- Roast in the oven for about 15 – 25 minutes, until vegetables are tender and caramelized
- Mix in black-eye peas and capers with the vegetables and roast for another minute or so
- Remove from oven, mix in Israeli couscous, sprinkle another tablespoon of parsley on top and serve immediately
(this recipe uses a rice cooker)
- 1 – 2 cups Israeli couscous
- 2 – 2 Â½ cups water (or more, I like mine firm)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Combine couscous, water, olive oil and salt in a rice cooker
- Stir well, cover and set to cook per the machine’s instructions
- When the couscous is done, fluff and set aside to be tossed with roasted cauliflower