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I can’t believe that I never used cauliflower in anything but a salad until this year! It’s delicious when cooked. Who knew? Obviously not me, and most likely, my kids as they were never exposed to it growing up. (Hope that doesn’t make me a bad Mom!) Well, I’m making up for it now.
My introduction was Easy Butter Roasted Cauliflower — a great, super easy recipe with cauliflower and a few spices. The family LOVED it. Now, it’s time to having fun with cauliflower.
My definition of having fun with veggies is finding ways to incorporate various flavors and textures while maintaining the keynote ingredient’s integrity, in this case, the cauliflower. Keeping preparation low-stress is a given. I’m thrilled to say this recipe is a winner. The cauliflower florets’ co-stars are chickpeas (garbanzo beans) and green olives, along with a supporting cast of chopped garlic, crushed red pepper, and salt. Before serving, I like to zhoosh it up with a bit of color by adding some parsley. I use fresh parsley because I grow it in my window box herb garden. However, for years, I relied on dried parsley.
Roasting transforms raw cauliflower into golden, caramelized deliciousness that melts in your mouth, and the chickpeas provide a crunchy element. The olives add an unexpected pop of tangy flavor. I used Manzanilla Spanish Olives because that’s what I have in the refrigerator (it’s my go-to olive). Kalamata olives would also be delicious. Just make sure they are pitted. I don’t wish pitting olives on anyone! The pepper flakes provide just a hint of heat, while the garlic and salt round out the taste. It’s an unusual combination that works.
This is a great side dish that provides all sorts of nutritional benefits. Cauliflower is weight-loss friendly, low in calories yet high in vitamins, fibers, and nutrients. Fun fact: Cauliflower contains some of almost every vitamin and mineral you need. It also has unique antioxidants that may reduce inflammation and protect against several diseases, such as cancer and heart disease. I love it as a replacement for potatoes and other high-carb side dishes. Chickpeas or garbanzo beans are also a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They are an excellent protein source with various health benefits, ranging from weight management to bone health.
This is a very impressive side dish that is easy enough for a weekend dinner.
Roasted Cauliflower with Chickpeas and OlivesCourse: Sides, VegetablesCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy
Roasted to caramelized perfection, tender cauliflower is complemented with the crunch of chickpeas and an unexpected pop of tanginess from green olives. This delicious, low-cal side dish is an excellent alternative to traditional high-carb sides.
• 1 cauliflower
• 24 green olives, pitted and halved
• 8 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
• 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
• ½ teaspoon salt
• Optional: 3 tablespoons fresh parsley or 1 tablespoon dried parsley, for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 450°. Prep cauliflower by removing large leaves from the base of the cauliflower so that the stem is exposed; discard the leaves. With a paring knife, cut around the stem of the cauliflower. Break the cauliflower into large florets with your fingers. Remove any large stems, cutting the cauliflower into smaller florets. Rinse well in a colander and pat dry.
- In a ziplock plastic bag (or a small mixing bowl) combine cauliflower florets, drained and rinsed chickpeas, olive halves, minced garlic, and olive oil. Shake well to coat. Pour mixture on to a rimmed baking sheet, oven-safe griddle, or baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and crushed red pepper.
- Bake at 450° for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, stir. Return to oven for 10-15 until cauliflower is browned and crisp-tender. Garnish with parsley.
- Use your favorite olives. I use Manzanilla Spanish olives but Kalamata pitted black olives would be delicious
- I use a oven-safe, non-stick double griddle pan for easy clean-up. A parchment paper lined baking sheet also ensures no-brainer clean-up. Non-stick spray works well for a baking dish.
- Fresh parsley substitution: 1 tablespoon dried parsley