When it is nasty and freezing cold outside, we all tend to prefer warm dishes: soups, stews, casseroles and, of course, roasted vegetables, which can be a real culinary delight! Seasoned with herbs and spices, roasted vegetables can fill the house with incredibly amazing aromas, which create the atmosphere of warmth and coziness. They warm you up from the inside and fill you with energy, and it is absolutely necessary in cold winter time.
Cauliflower is not for everyone although it can be really tasty if cooked properly. But, if you or members of your family dislike cauliflower completely, you can replace it with any other vegetable or even a mixture of vegetables.
Now, let me share with you some tips about cooking vegetables. If you use organic ones then it’s better not to peel them. Remember, the skin contains a lot of fiber and valuable nutrients. Also keep in mind that cooking time for different vegetables is different, so make sure that the size of the cubes you cut them into will allow the vegetables to cook evenly. For example, potatoes are cooked much longer than mushrooms, so cut them into smaller cubes or cook separately.
As for herbs and spices, this recipe includes the Mediterranean spices. However, you can use Indian, Italian spices, or no spices at all if you are not keen on spicy dishes.
This dish is cooked in the oven at high temperature, so use only oils with a high smoke point,such as grapeseed or avocado oil.
“One of the most important gastronomic qualities of oils is their smoke point, the temperature at which harmful to our health carcinogens begin to form. Smoke point for grapeseed oil is 216 ° C, for avocado oil, it is 271 ° C, which is significantly higher than for unrefined sunflower oil (107 ° C). It means that the food cooked on these oils is much healthier.
There is no doubt that it is better and healthier to steam, boil or bake food. But, just to be clear, let’s see what happens during the process of frying or roasting:
- Water boiling point is 100° C. So, in order for the product to be cooked, when water evaporates from the oil, and not being stewed in a mixture of oil and evolved juice, the temperature must be more than 100° C.
- Golden crust is formed at a temperature at which a chemical reaction between amino acids and sugars begins. This temperature is 140 – 165° C. So if the temperature is more than 100 degrees, but less than 140 ° C, the product is being fried, not stewed, but there won’t be any crust.
- If the oil has reached the point of smoking (literally, smoke can be seen), then its chemical composition changes, and carcinogens are formed in it. Food cooked in this oil should not be eaten.
Let’s highlight it one more time – it is better to use oil, which smoke point is 160 ° C or higher.
Now, roasted cauliflower with spicy sauce …
- 1 big cauliflower sliced into 2-3 cm pieces
- 1/4 cup avocado oil or grape seed oil
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp salt (or more, according to your taste)
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley (to decorate the dish)
Additionally, you can use 1/4 tsp Aleppo pepper (or 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper and sweet paprika).
Spicy Yoghurt Sauce
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt or kefir
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 medium clove of garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp seasoning mix
You can also add 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh herbs, parsley, cilantro or dill (optional).
Cooking with love …
- Preheat oven to 425 ℉.
- In a large bowl, mix the cauliflower with the other ingredients.
- Spread the mixture evenly on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper and roast for 20-25 minutes until a light brown crust appears or until it is ready.
While the cauliflower is being roasted, prepare the sauce by simply mixing all the ingredients (you can add a little bit of water if you prefer the sauce not to be so thick).
Pour the sauce over the cooked cauliflower or serve it separately (remember this dish meant be served hot!) To decorate the dish use pomegranate or finely chopped herbs. Serve it as a starter, side dish or main course at any time of the day. Bon appetit!
Journey to the world of healthy cooking
with the chef Doris Fin