Roast Cauliflower with Dates in Lemon-Tahini Sauce

Roast Cauliflower in Lemon-Tahini Sauce (1 of 14)

A peach was once a bitter almond; a cauliflower is nothing but a cabbage with a college education.” ~ Mark Twain.

Cauliflower, which literally means “cabbage flower”, is a member of the cruciferous family of vegetables, often overshadowed by it green cousin broccoli. The cauliflower originally came from Cyprus, and was introduced to France from Italy in the middle of the 16th century. Though it tastes rather bland on its own, this white cabbage flower is extremely nutritious and can be considered as a superfood.

First, this white cabbage contains sulforaphane, a sulfur compound that has also been shown to kill cancer stem cells, thereby slowing tumour growth. Moreover, sulforaphane has been found to significantly improve blood pressure and kidney function. Cauliflower also contains a wealth of anti-inflammatory nutrients to help keep inflammation in check (too much inflammation is linked to cancer and other diseases).

Due to our busy lifestyles, most of us lack the vital nutrients in our bodies needed to keep it performing at an optimal level. This is where incorporating cauliflower into your diet comes in handy. One serving of cauliflower contains 77 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin C. It’s also a good source of vitamin K, protein, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, fiber, vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid, potassium, and manganese.

Cauliflower really doesn’t have much flavour on its own. However, this white superfood absorbs flavours and spices extremely well. It really doesn’t take too much effort to transform plain old cauliflower into something quite scrumptious.

I find that dressing cauliflower with a tahini-lemon garlicky sauce complements the white flower harmoniously while roasting it adds a certain ‘crunch’ to it and gives it a nice golden colour. Throwing in some dates adds a pleasant sweetness to the dish while pine nuts offer an extra dimension to jazz up the simplicity of this healthy side dish.

Roast Cauliflower in Lemon-Tahini Sauce (11 of 14)

INGREDIENTS:

(Serves 4 as a side)

  • 1 large head cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets (about 1 ½ lb.)
  • 4 teaspoon of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic powder
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoon)
  • 2 tablespoon of tahini
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon of pine nuts, roasted

METHOD:

1) Preheat oven to 220 degrees celsius.

2) Toss cauliflower with 2 teaspoon of olive oil, season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Throw in the dates and layer both evenly on a roasting tray. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden.
Roast Cauliflower in Lemon-Tahini Sauce (8 of 14)

Roast Cauliflower in Lemon-Tahini Sauce (5 of 14)

3) Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Saute garlic in olive oil for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add tahini, lemon juice, 5 tablespoon of water, and salt. Simmer over low heat for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Roast Cauliflower in Lemon-Tahini Sauce (6 of 14)

4) Transfer cauliflower florets into a mixing bowl. Whisk the sauce and pour over the cauliflower and toss till the florets are thoroughly coated. Sprinkle with the roasted pine nuts and chopped parsley. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Roast Cauliflower in Lemon-Tahini Sauce (14 of 14)

Super Easy Homemade Hummus

Homemade Hummus  (8 of 15)

Hummus is living proof that the best tasting things in life are simple to make.

What is one thing Natalie Portman is totally obsessed with? Hummus. The beautiful vegan actress once told Vogue that she “consumes [her] own weight in hummus everyday.” Hummus is living proof that the best tasting things in life are simple to make. Drilling down to the basics, all you need to make hummus are seven ingredients and a food processor (or blender in my case as I don’t possess a powerful version of the former (not yet at least)).

Gluten-free, nut free, and dairy free, this tasty dip has a lot going for it, both in terms of taste and nutrition. Chickpeas, hummus’s key ingredient, is full of protein, good-for-you carbs and fiber. Like other members of the legume family, they routinely top lists of the world’s healthiest foods. Garlic and olive oil, are both part of Mediterranean Diet, which numerous studies have concluded to be the healthiest and most sustainable diet in the long run. As a bonus, hummus can help with weight management. Since hummus is so rich in protein (hence ideal for vegetarians), it can help fight hunger cravings and balance sugar levels. Moreover, the calcium in chickpeas and tahini can make your bones from stronger (important for women in their golden years to ward off osteoporosis) while the iron content helps deliver oxygen to red blood cells, thereby helping to alleviate anemia. You can now say goodbye to the store-bought version and make your own hummus at home by following the simple steps set out below.

INGREDIENTS:

  • One 15-ounce can (425 grams) of chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans)
  • 1/4 cup of tahini (for the easy homemade version, refer to my previous recipe here)
  • 1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice (basically the juice of one large lemon)
  • One large garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon kosher salt, depending on taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons water
  • Dash of ground paprika or sumac for serving

Homemade Hummus  (15 of 15) METHOD:

1) Squeeze the juice of one mighty large lemon. Get rid of the pips. Homemade Hummus  (14 of 15) 2) Drain the liquid from the can of chickpeas and rinse well with running water. Homemade Hummus  (12 of 15) 3) In the bowl of a food processor/blender, combine the tahini and lemon juice. Process for 1 minute. Scrape the sides and bottom and process for another 30 seconds. This extra time helps “whip” or “cream” the tahini to ensure a smoother and creamier hummus.

Homemade Hummus  (13 of 15)

4) Add the olive oil, minced garlic, cumin and the salt to the mixture. Process for 30 seconds, scrape sides and bottom again, and process for another 30 seconds. Homemade Hummus  (1 of 1) 5)  At this stage, the hummus will be too thick and still have tiny chunks of chickpeas. To fix this, slowly add 2 to 3 tablespoons of water until the desired consistency is achieved. If you have a food processor, you can leave the motor running whilst you do this. Homemade Hummus  (11 of 15) 6) To serve, scrape the hummus into a bowl or plate and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the top. Sprinkle with paprika or sumac. Hummus makes a great dip for pita bread or vegetables, and you can also use it as a sandwich spread. Homemade Hummus  (10 of 15) Homemade Hummus  (3 of 15) Note: Homemade hummus can be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to one week.

Avocado Tahini Sourdough With a Twist

Sourdough Toast with Tahini Spread and Avocado (2 of 8)

Avocado Toast with a Twist – Breakfast will never be quite the same again

Avocados – the creamy, delicious, nutrient-bomb. These little green gems are nutritional goldmines. Underneath the tough green exterior lies over 14 minerals; protein, complete, with all 18 essential amino acids; soluble fiber, to trap excess cholesterol and send it out of the system; phytosterols; polyphenols; carotenoids; omega 3s; vitamins B-complex, C, E and K, to name a few.

Interesting enough, did you know that avocados contains the potassium content of two to three bananas? So if you find yourself suffering from frequent mood swings or depression, time to try topping up on the potassium with avocados every morning (as low levels of potassium could affect you psychologically).

Worried about the fat content? Relax. While the fat content of an avocado is roughly 20 percent, they are packed full of the “good” type of fats – monounsaturated fats – not the type that clog your arteries. High in monosaturates (unsaturated fatty acids), the unsaturated oil content of avocados is second only to olives among fruits, and sometimes greater.

What’s more, those with cholesterol problems have more reason to chow down these creamy green gems. According to one study, a diet high in avocados have been proven to help lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (the bad type) whilst increasing the percentage of healthy HDL cholesterol.

So what’s the best way to start your day with avocado? I’ve attempted to create what i believe to be the avocado breakfast masterpiece – tahini on sourdough topped with sliced avocado and a sprinkle of sumac (the twist). The richness of the avocado simply blends harmoniously with the creaminess of the tahini. Bonus: if you have fast hands, this will take you no longer than 10 minutes to make.

INGREDIENTS: (makes 1 serving)

  • 1 tablespoon of tahini
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon of water
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of sumac
  • slice of sourdough bread, toasted, to serve

METHOD:

1) Combine tahini with lemon juice, water, and pinch of salt. Whisk until well combined.

2) Toast sourdough. Spread tahini generously on toast. Layer the avocado slices on top. Sprinkle with sumac and serve.

Sourdough Toast with Tahini Spread and Avocado (4 of 8)

Baked Eggplant with Tahini Buttermilk Dressing

Baked Aubergines with Tahini Buttermilk Dressing (1 of 24)

Going through my eggplant (and middle eastern inspired) phase. In my opinion, nothing pairs more harmoniously with eggplant than the creaminess of rich tahini. Seeing I still had a carton of buttermilk sitting in my fridge waiting to expire, I decided to put it to good use to create a tahini-buttermilk sauce to dress some baked eggplants rounds. For those who want a more substantial dinner (i.e. some meat) for dinner as well, the best way to complement this tahini dressed eggplant side dish quickly is by grilling some rosemary lamb chop(s).  Mmm…just writing this at midnight is making me hungry! 

Baked Aubergines with Tahini Buttermilk Dressing (2 of 24)

NB: You can adjust the thickness of this tahini-buttermilk dressing by tinkering with the wet ingredients (and can even transform it into a creamy spread that pairs beautifully with sourdough/rye toast).

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large long eggplant, cut into rounds
  • A few fresh mint leaves, diced or shredded
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • Pepper and salt, to taste
  • Olive oil

SAUCE:

  • 3 tablespoon tahini
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoon water
  • 2 tablespoon buttermilk
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin powder
  • Pinch of salt

1) Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius.

2) Cut eggplant into rounds, approximately 1/2 inch thick. Layer eggplants on a roasting tray lined with parchment paper or foil. Spray or brush olive oil on the rounds. Sprinkle dried thyme, crushed black pepper and salt.

Baked Aubergines with Tahini Buttermilk Dressing (23 of 24)

3) Roast for ~ 20 minutes until eggplant rounds are nicely browned. Keep warm.

Baked Aubergines with Tahini Buttermilk Dressing (18 of 24)

4) Make the tahini dressing. Combine all the sauce ingredients listed above into a bowl and whisk until smooth.

Baked Aubergines with Tahini Buttermilk Dressing (20 of 24)

5) Drizzle the tahini sauce on top of the freshly baked eggplant. Garnish with freshly diced or shredded mint so that the colours pop. Serve as a side.

Baked Aubergines with Tahini Buttermilk Dressing (7 of 24)