This dish is all about the creamy chipotle avocado dressing. Combine silky avocado, zesty lemon and the smoky kick of chipotle pepper. You won’t miss the mayo!
Customize the vegetable and fruit blend to make it your own. Savoy cabbage is particularly good for slaw salads. Savoy cabbage is more tender and less bitter than the green or red cabbage typically used for coleslaw. As such, there’s no need to salt it before serving it uncooked. Dice, grate, slice…it really doesn’t matter much. But, keep the produce sections thin to ease even dressing coverage. Customize the volume as you like. But, who doesn’t like having a salad ready to go in the fridge? Chop now and be veggie-ready for days!
This grain-free pizza crust recipe is cauliflower-based with some sweet potato, which lends a slight sweetness and softness to each bite. Almond meal replaces grain flour and flax-seed gel serves as a binder. The result is a delicious grain-free pizza with slices you can pick up without it falling into pieces…unlike several of the recipes I tried.
A crust without flour is simple, but requires a little more attention to detail. First, it is necessary to squeeze the excess water out of the steamed cauliflower to avoid a dreaded soggy crust. Cutting or breaking the florets into the smaller, bite-size pieces will ease this process. Only the cauliflower needs wringing, but if you find it easier to drop everything into the towel, including the sweet potato, that will work as well. Don’t worry about getting the last drop, but put a little muscle into it!
Next, if you want to eat the pizza by the slice -with your hands, instead of scraping it off the pan with a fork (this has happened) you will need to flip the pizza half-way through the cooking process. I thought this seemed like a bigger hassle than it really is. Simply make sure you have your second sheet of parchment paper and a cutting board (at least the size of the baking pan) ready to go. Pull the pan out of the oven, place the second piece of parchment over the crust, place the cutting board on the top, then flip it, slide the parchment and crust back to the pan and place it back in the oven. You’re good to go.
Finally, if you want your crust to be a perfect circle fitting perfectly on your baking sheet, one pound (before steaming) of combined vegetables seems to be about the right quantity. And, to eliminate the guess-work about crust size, I recommend placing your first piece of parchment paper into your baking sheet, then making crease marks at the edges to use as a guide when spreading the ‘dough’.
GRAIN-FREE CAULIFLOWER SWEET POTATO PIZZA CRUST
Inspired by Michelle Babb, MS, RD, CD
Yield: One 10-inch pizza (2-4 servings)
WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
Food processor or high-speed blender
Sauce pan and steamer basket
2 pieces of parchment paper, size of the baking sheet
1/2 medium head cauliflower, broken into bite-size florets (up to 4 cups).
1/2 medium sweet potato, unpeeled and diced into 1/4 inch pieces (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup filtered water
3 tablespoons whole flax seeds, freshly ground
1/2 cup almond meal
1 tablespoon dried italian herbs or oregano
3/4 teaspoon sea salt, divided (some for the crust and some for the vegetables)
3 tablespoon coconut or olive oil for greasing the baking sheet and sautéing vegetables
1/2 medium red onion, sliced into thin rings
1 cup thinly sliced shiitake (or cremini) mushrooms, 4-6
Combine the water and ground flax-seed. Stir intermittently until it forms a gel, about the time it takes to steam the vegetables.
Place a steamer basket inside of a saucepan or stock pot with a few inches of water.
Place chopped sweet potato and cauliflower florets into the steamer.
Steam vegetables until both are easily pierced with a fork, about 12 minutes.
Wrap the cauliflower into a tea towel, twist it and press firmly to wring out as much of the excess water as you can.
Transfer the steamed vegetables to a food processor or high-speed blender.
Add the flax gel, almond meal, Italian herbs, 1/2 teaspoon of the olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Blend until smooth. The ‘dough’ will not be like regular pizza dough. It will be fairly wet.
Lightly grease one piece of parchment paper. Transfer the cauliflower mixture to the center of the paper. Using a rubber spatula, spread the dough out from the center until it is evenly about 1/8th inch thick, but no less.
Remove the baking pan from the oven.
Transfer the crust and parchment paper to the baking pan.
Place the pan in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
While the crust bakes, sauté vegetables toppings (see Vegetable Directions below)
After 20 minutes. remove the pan from the oven. Place the other piece of parchment paper on top of the crust. Placing a cutting board on top, flip the crust, then slide the crust back to the baking sheet.
Bake for another 20 minutes, until the top appears dry and slightly toasted.
Remove the pan from the oven. If possible, slide the crust and parchment paper to a cooling rack. Let the crust rest for at least 5 minutes to release steam.
Assemble the pizza per below, or as desired.
VEGETABLE DIRECTIONS AND PIZZA ASSEMBLY:
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat.
Add the onions and sprinkle lightly with some of the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
Saute until softened, between 2-4 minutes.
Remove the onions from pan and set aside.
Add the remaining oil to the pan and allow it to heat up.
Add mushrooms to the pan and sprinkle lightly with some of the remaining salt and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes until soft and slightly browned.
Spread the pesto evenly over the pizza crust.
Spread the sautéed onions, then the mushrooms and red chili peppers (optional) over the pizza crust.
If topping the pizza with cheese, turn on the broiler and place the crust under the broiler for 2 minutes or until the cheese melts. Otherwise, place back into the 400º to rewarm for 5 minutes.
Slice and serve!
NUTRITION NOTE – GETTING THE MOST FROM YOUR CAULIFLOWER:
To get the full nutritional benefits of cauliflower, chop it up at least 40 minutes before cooking. This is enough time for the chemical reaction to take place which produces sulforophane, the compound most responsible for cauliflower’s health benefits. This reaction won’t happen if the cauliflower is heated immediately after being broken apart by hand or cut by knife.
Eggs Diablo is a healthier version of the classic Deviled Eggs with Greek yogurt and avocado replacing mayonnaise. If you are not a deviled egg fan, give this version a try. If you like guacamole, you will love Eggs Diablo! Green eggs. Perhaps Dr. Seuss was on to something!
Cashew cream has long been a staple in the vegan world —and for good reason! It just may be the queen of dairy-free alternative toppings. Cashew cream, it is rumored, can make even non-vegans forget about everything from mayonnaise to sour cream, cream cheese, full-fat diary cream and cream sauces. Can you imagine?! It is as versatile as it is easy to make. Simply soak the cashews, drain, blend, then add seasoning.
Pesto isn’t just for summer! Using avocado as the base, substituting greens for basil and nutritional yeast for parmesan cheese, this vegan recipe is flavorful, rich and can be enjoyed year-round. You won’t miss the cheese. Your body will love this heart-healthy, low-glycemic and fiber-rich ways to dress pasta. Continue reading →
Curried Cauliflower Soup was the last thing on my mind when she started talking. But, I soon became riveted, with recipe inspirations running rampant. In fact, she had me at ‘vegetables’.
The setting was the Q & A session following the opening of the 2014 International Food Blogger’s Conference in Seattle. An attendee asked the keynote speakers, James Beard Award-Winning authors, Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg what they thought would be the hottest new trend in food. In the spirit of ‘everything old is new again’, Karen declared simply, ‘vegetables!’ She then went on to discuss her latest book ‘The Vegetarian Flavor Bible’.
I was already a fan of their previous book, “The Flavor Bible,” a book which could not be named more appropriately. It is not a cookbook. There are no recipes. Rather, it is an invaluable compendium of alphabetical listings of foods that are paired together. Perfect for free-form cooks, those of us who like guides more than recipes.
After purchasing it, the book quickly became indispensable. It was like an old friend I could ask for ideas when pondering how to made a dish more distinct, or even where to begin. So, when I saw the dynamic duo in the hotel lobby during a conference break, I made a bee-line to them. I stood a bit star-struck among a small group chatting with them. As they had recently become vegetarians, my work as a nutritionist gave us common ground for an albeit short, but rewarding conversation. I then trailed off from the group satisfied.
Fast forward two months and three thousand miles away to New York City. I discover that Barns & Noble was hosting a “Flavor Bible” book signing with Karen and Andrew moderating a panel of chefs discussing vegetarian cuisine. When I approached them to get my book signed, imagine my surprise, shock really, that they remembered me! These two are really something special. They were so kind and sincere to all the panelists, so grateful for the leadership they had shown in vegetarian cuisine and such gratitude to their supporters. My only regret about the event is never downloading my book signing photo with them off their website! I can’t find it now.
Back home with my “Flavor Bible(s)”, the original and the vegetarian version, I set to work improv-style in the kitchen. The result is this simple curried cauliflower soup recipe. My intention was to create something very flavorful and nutritious, with enough fat and protein to make it somewhat hearty. Want to take the comfort food factor up a notch? Simply add extra cashew cream. You can also add more garbanzo beans for more protein and heartiness.
I have tried roasting the cauliflower first. But, I didn’t notice enough difference to merit the effort. But, it simply might be that any subtle flavor doesn’t really stand up to the garam masala, a great addition if you like your curry a little on the hot side. Omit it if you don’t.
To get the most health benefits from this soup, use fresh cauliflower, not frozen. Chop the cauliflower into bite-sized pieces. Then, let sit for about 40 minutes before cooking, one of the strategies outlined in a prior post about gaining the benefits of raw crucifers even when cooked. This recipe also supports improved bioavailaiblity of the curcumin in the curry powder, as detailed in another prior post.
CURRIED CAULIFLOWER SOUP
CURRIED CAULIFLOWER SOUP INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup almond or rice milk
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 teaspoon garam masala (optional)
1 medium head cauliflower (or one 16 ounce bag, frozen)
Cover raw cashews with filtered water and let sit refrigerated for at least 45 minutes. Then, drain off the water, add the almond or rice milk and blend until smooth.
Heat the coconut oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic and salt. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Then add the curry powder and garam masala (if using) and stir to cover the onions and garlic thoroughly.
Add the chopped cauliflower, then cover with the broth and bring to a simmer. Let cook until the cauliflower is very tender, about 10 minutes.
Remove from the heat and add the garbanzo beans and coconut milk.
Use an immersion blender to purée the soup, or process in blender in batches.
Stir in the lime juice, adjust salt, if needed, and serve warm topped with chickpea croutons.
As discussed in an earlier post, there are three strategies to get the benefits of raw crucifers when cooked. This supporting recipe is not just a recipe for a mustardvinaigrette. When used to dress a salad containing cooked crucifers or to top cooked crucifers, it is a recipe for the wonder compound, sulforaphane!
This vinaigrette recipe includes mustard seed powder, which provides a source of myrosinase. Remember, mustard greens are crucifers. So, the ground seeds are a potent source of the all important enzyme. Theoretically, whole mustard seeds should work as well. However, do not roast, toast or otherwise apply heat to the seeds or you will denature the enzymes, rendering the seeds just another ingredient. Further, you can adapt any dressing recipe to make it a sulforaphane-maker simply by adding some mustard seed powder. Following is a recipe I now keep on hand and drizzle a little over steamed broccoli or cabbage. I have tried it with apple cider vinegar, but prefer the version with balsamic vinegar.
MUSTARD SEED VINAIGRETTE
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (or other vinegar)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon organic prepared mustard
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8th teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons honey, ideally raw and organic (or maple syrup)
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
In a clean jar or small bowl, add the vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, prepared and powdered mustard and mix well. Add all remaining ingredients, except the oil and mix well again.
Slowly add the olive oil while either whisking or stirring rapidly with your fork. Or, if using a jar, shake vigorously, adding the oil in stages until emulsified.
Adjust seasoning as needed.
Do you have a dressing with mustard seeds or powder you like to serve with cruciferous vegetables? Please share!
What do raw broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, cauliflower, radishes arugula and bok choy have in common? They are all members of the cruciferous family of vegetables. As such, these raw cruciferous vegetables are the produce aisle-equivalent of a wonder drug for protecting the brain, eye-sight, reducing free radicals, eliminating toxins and preventing cancer .
Unfortunately, most individual’s intake of crucifers is low and their intake of raw crucifers is even lower. Raw Brussels sprouts anyone? While cooked crucifers are nutrient-dense, providing fiber, vitamin C, calcium and more, the cooked versions lack sulforaphane. Sulforaphane is a molecule within the isothiocyanate group of organosulfur compounds. It is the equivalent of a pharmaceutical drug’s main active ingredient and is most responsible for broccoli’s health benefits. Continue reading →
Breakfast hash. I’d never tasted it, much less ordered it. But, ‘The Original’ hash was on my companion’s plate at the famed Otis Cafe on the Oregon Coast. I dug my fork into the mass. When in Rome. Yes, it was delicious. But, one bite was adequate. Cross that off the list. Until yesterday morning, when The Time food section was promoting Turkey Hash as a way to repurpose one’s remaining Thanksgiving bird. Count me in.
Like many food lovers, visits to Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s ABC Kitchentypically end with my attempts to mentally deconstruct my latest menu favorite. Wishful plans to recreate it at home assume that guesswork will be on the ingredient list. But, in the case of the restaurant’s now famous Squash on Toast, the New York Times made my day and published the recipe, inspiring this unique sweet potato mash recipe.Continue reading →