cauliflower salad

Vegetable Salad

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Light, refreshing food. That’s what we want during the summer.

Also, easy to make. And as quick as possible.

I made this vegetable salad using leftovers from the veggies we had over a couple of meals. Added some fresh tomatoes, an avocado and some herbs. Not only did I get to use up stuff from the fridge, the dish took less than 10 minutes to make.

It’s a side dish. But you can add some tofu, cheese or hard-cooked eggs and make it into a main course (or add leftover fish, meat or poultry).

Add crusty bread and it’s a sandwich filling.

Mix it into cooked penne or ziti and it becomes pasta primavera.

Use whatever vegetables you have in proportions suggested. There’s no magic here, no actual recipe that will fail if you don’t have one of the ingredients.

Vegetable Salad

  • 3 cups cooked cut up cauliflower

  • 1 cup cooked, cut up green beans

  • 1 cup cooked cut up yellow squash

  • 3-4 cut up small tomatoes

  • 1 avocado, cut into small chunks

  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (or use white wine vinegar)

  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place the cauliflower, green beans, yellow squash, tomatoes, avocado, basil and oregano in a bowl and toss the ingredients to distribute them evenly. Pour the olive oil over the vegetables and toss again. Pour 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice over the vegetables and toss again. Taste for seasoning and add more lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 4-6 servings

Food You Want

Cauliflower Crunch Tabouli from Food You Want by Nealy Fischer

Cauliflower Crunch Tabouli from Food You Want by Nealy Fischer

I don’t often write about cookbooks, but every once in a while I find one that I like so well that I want to spread the news. Agents and publishers do send me books for review from time to time but I only recommend the ones that I find truly useful. “Food You Want” by Nealy Fischer, The Flexible Chef (DaCapo 2019) is one of those.

Most of the time it’s the recipes that catch my eye and stimulate my taste buds. But I like “Food You Want” because it has much more than good recipes. It is more or less a book that helps any home cook — novice or experienced — become comfortable in the kitchen, be unafraid to cook, enjoy planning meals and preparing food.

That has always been one of my life’s goals. My Mom made me comfortable in the kitchen. I have passed the lessons on to my children, grandchildren and numerous students who have shown up over the years for cooking lessons.

Fischer’s book sets out several ways to make meals easier and to gear recipes to one’s particular tastes and lifestyle. Her goal is to make home cooks feel “unshackled” to recipes and to use one’s creativity to suit preferences and limitations. The recipes are gluten-free because that suits her diet, but of course, for those who can tolerate gluten, she tells you how to switch.

The “flexible flips” at the end of the recipes show various ways to add or leave out an ingredient or two — substitutions; changing a dish from dairy to parve; what to do with leftover ingredients, etc. “Nail this” tips offer strategies for cooking each recipe you choose — what can be done in advance; temperature guides; when to let food cool before storing; when to drizzle rather than smooth ingredients with a spoon, and so on.

There are lots of kitchen hacks, advice on pantry, fridge and freezer staples and even advice on essential kitchen gadgets.

There’s advice on how to make a plan so that cooking becomes less chore, more joyous. Recipes for side dishes that don’t require recipes! Quickie 10-minute dinners! How to make baking flops into successes!

Did you know you could substitute chopped green olives for capers?? The book is filled with stuff like that.

So many wonderful sounding recipes too. I especially love the salads, especially the Cauliflower-Crunch Tabouli, which is perfect for summer; Minted Pea Soup with Roasted Beetroot; Showstopping Herb-Crusted Salmon; Guiltless Zucchini Fritters; Date-Bar Bites.

All in all — this is a wonderful guide for how to enjoy cooking, how to become more creative, how to adapt recipes, how to find joy in preparing meals — plus some delicious recipes!

CAULIFLOWER-CRUNCH TABOULI

STEPS: CHOP, TOSS! / Serves 6

 There’s nothing ordinary about this stunning herb-specked, grain-free tabouli. Raw cauliflower and pine nuts take center stage and combine to add an unexpected and essential nuttiness and color that elevate the dish. This recipe takes just minutes to whip up and seconds to devour. It’s crunchy, fresh, and the very definition of craveable clean food that makes you want more. I really shouldn’t play favorites, but this salad may well be my favorite!

 Tools: Food processor (optional)

 

Ingredients:

·      1/2 head purple or white cauliflower, core removed

·      3 Persian cucumbers, chopped

·      2 medium tomatoes, chopped

·      1 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves, chopped

·      1 cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves, chopped

·      2 tablespoons finely diced red onion

·      3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

·      3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

·      1 garlic clove, pressed (optional)

·      Salt, to taste

·      Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

·      1/2 cup chopped pine nuts, toasted

 

Directions:

1.     In a food processor, chop the cauliflower into 1/4-inch pieces. Do not overprocess. Alternatively, chop it by hand.

2.     In a large bowl, stir together the cauliflower, cucumber, tomato, mint, parsley, and red onion.

3.     Toss the vegetables with the olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic (if desired). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with pine nuts just before serving.

4.     Serve immediately, or it may be made an hour ahead. If making in advance, toss the pine nuts in right before serving so they stay crunchy.

 

nail this:

·      Because the fresh, raw ingredients are the centerpiece here, only make this recipe when you have access to the freshest herbs and cauliflower.

·      Nuts are crucial. They add an essential favor and crunch that are unexpected and should be included.

 

flip it:

·      Use any color cauliflower you can find.

·      Substitute another nut for the pine nuts. Toasted would be yummiest.

Add chopped anything! Red bell peppers and olives are favorite flavor profiles.

Cauliflower Salad with Olives, Sun Dried Tomatoes and Peas

I like the old favorites: cole slaw, potato salad and so on. But after a couple of months of summer, the same old grilled food accompaniments get a bit boring, so I begin to make more vegetable salads instead. 
 Ages ago I discovered that cauliflower is one of the good vegetable choices for salad. I love cauliflower  hot , any way at all: plain old steamed or roasted with herbs or  sprinkled with cheese . But the cauliflowers have been so especially good this year that I’ve experimented using them in whole grain salads and even as the main salad item itself.  
 I served this cauliflower salad at a party recently and it went over very well. 
     
  Cauliflower Salad with Olives, Sun Dried Tomatoes and Peas  

 1 head cauliflower 
 1/2 cup chopped imported olives 
 1/4 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes 
 1/2 cup thawed frozen peas 
 3 scallions, chopped 
 2 tablespoons olive oil 
 2 tablespoons lemon juice 
 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano 
 salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 
 toasted pignoli nuts, optional 

  
 Trim the cauliflower and cut the florets into bite size pieces. Wash and place in a saucepan, covered with water. Bring to a boil, cover the pan, lower the heat and cook for about 6 minutes or until tender but still crispy. Drain and place the pieces in a bowl. Add the olives, sun dried tomatoes, peas and scallions. Pour the olive oil over the vegetables and toss. Pour in the lemon juice and sprinkle in the oregano. Toss ingredients to distribute them evenly. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Mix in pignoli nuts if desired. Let rest for at least 15 minutes before serving. Makes 6 servings

I like the old favorites: cole slaw, potato salad and so on. But after a couple of months of summer, the same old grilled food accompaniments get a bit boring, so I begin to make more vegetable salads instead.

Ages ago I discovered that cauliflower is one of the good vegetable choices for salad. I love cauliflower hot, any way at all: plain old steamed or roasted with herbs or sprinkled with cheese. But the cauliflowers have been so especially good this year that I’ve experimented using them in whole grain salads and even as the main salad item itself. 

I served this cauliflower salad at a party recently and it went over very well.

 

Cauliflower Salad with Olives, Sun Dried Tomatoes and Peas

1 head cauliflower

1/2 cup chopped imported olives

1/4 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes

1/2 cup thawed frozen peas

3 scallions, chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

toasted pignoli nuts, optional

Trim the cauliflower and cut the florets into bite size pieces. Wash and place in a saucepan, covered with water. Bring to a boil, cover the pan, lower the heat and cook for about 6 minutes or until tender but still crispy. Drain and place the pieces in a bowl. Add the olives, sun dried tomatoes, peas and scallions. Pour the olive oil over the vegetables and toss. Pour in the lemon juice and sprinkle in the oregano. Toss ingredients to distribute them evenly. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Mix in pignoli nuts if desired. Let rest for at least 15 minutes before serving. Makes 6 servings