Roasted Cauliflower with Israeli Couscous


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.

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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!

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