Gluten Free, Entrée

SPICED CAULIFLOWER STEAKS WITH WALNUT SAUCE

More cauliflower! Oops. But I do love it and it didn't cross my mind we had cauliflower on here for the last post as I was thumbing through Laura's new book. I have dozens of recipes bookmarked but I am looking for new veg mains in our rotation lately and this one popped out at me. I was shocked at how short the ingredient list was and how quickly it came together given how beautiful it looked. I'm an easy sell on pretty food. Especially quick, pretty food. Next up is her homemade coconut creamer with dates, a warm balsamic mushroom salad, and a second round of those brownies I made months ago when I first saw the pdf draft of this book.

I've been a long time fan of Laura's, both for her easy going disposition and plant-based food that is magically wholesome, creative, all while still being something you can whip up easily for dinner. I don't always see those things going hand in hand but she is extremely good at what she does. She's responsible for the arugula cashew sauce I've made three times already that goes on pretty much everything. I like vegan food and an ice cream sundae all in the same breath, so a book that doesn't feel lacking is a keeper. You'll have to flip through a copy yourself or better yet, add it to your collection. Clearly forever a First Mess fangirl. Congrats, Laura!

SPICED CAULIFLOWER STEAKS WITH WALNUT SAUCE // Serves 2
Recipe from The First Mess Cookbook by Laura Wright

I am putting Laura's recipe here verbatim. The only thing I did different was up the garlic and lemon a bit and added a pinch of cayenne to the spice blend for heat. Those are personal preferences. The recipe is so concise you can add here to taste. This serves two well after roasting the extra bits of cauliflower. You could easily double it if you have a large enough pan or even do it in shifts and keep the cauliflower warm. 

Walnut Sauce
1/2 cup raw walnut halves, plus a few more for garnish
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 garlic clove
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
salt and pepper, to taste

Spice-Crusted Cauliflower
1 medium head of cauliflower
1 tsp. sweet paprika
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves

fresh chopped parsley, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350'

Make the walnut sauce: In a large, ovenproof skillet, toast the walnuts over medium heat until fragrant and slightly darkened, about 5 minutes. Transfer the walnuts to a blender. Return the skillet to the stove and heat 1 tsp. of the olive oil. Add the onions and garlic. Saute until edges of the onion soften, about 2 minutes. Scrape the onions and garlic into the blender. Add the almond milk, lemon juice and generous pinches of salt and pepper and whiz on high until you have a creamy sauce. Keep warm while you prepare the cauliflower. 
Cut two 1" thick "steaks" from the center of the cauliflower (you'll loose pieces on the sides that don't stay intact but just roast those up in an oil and spice mixture and enjoy them on the side). You should have a nice cross section of the vegetable that holds together. Moisten the steaks with water and season both sides with the paprika, thyme, salt and pepper. 
Heat the remaining olive oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Carefully add the cauliflower steaks and sear until evenly browned on one side, about 3 minutes. Flip the cauliflower over and transfer the skillet to the oven. 
Roast the cauliflower in the oven until the center core or stem section is tender when pierced with a knife, about 20 minutes. 
Serve the cauliflower with warm sauce and garnish with parsley and chopped walnuts



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