Archive for February 2nd, 2012

February 2, 2012

Moroccan Cauliflower and Lentils

Straight up, Cauliflower is a bit bland. There, I said it. But this is easily fixed. Let’s think of it as a blank canvas.

Come on, let’s treat some cauliflower right.

My favorite secret weapon lately is Moroccan spice blend,¬† or Ras al hanout (which means “head of the shop” in Arabic, you know – cream of the crop stuff.)

It’s a pretty common spice mix in Australia but I’m sure it wouldn’t be hard to find in any good spice section. You can use it in tajines, soups, or as a roasting rub or seasoning for meat, vegetables and even apples.

This spice blend has: coriander, cumin, paprika, fennel, ginger, turmeric, cassia, caraway, nutmeg, cayenne, cardamom, allspice pimento, black pepper, sea salt, galangal.

You can make your own simplified version too, here’s one from Epicuious. I would probably add some paprika to this – to give it a more savory edge.

I’ve used the following method for cooking a few different versions of this dish – chickpeas, pumpkin and eggplant have all been involved at one time or another. The result is a hearty vegetarian stew that’s simple to make but full in flavor. It’s a great way to dress up some regular old pantry items and a flexible vegetable like cauliflower.

Moroccan Cauliflower & Lentils

- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 heaping tablespoons of Moroccan spice blend
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1/2 large head of cauliflower or 2 1/2 cups
- 1 cup cooked French lentils
- 1 1/2 cups or 1 can of crushed or diced tomatoes
- 1 1/2 cups water
- Olive oil
- Salt & Pepper
- Fresh coriander (optional)

Heat olive oil in a large pot over a medium high heat. Cook onion for about 3 or 4 minutes until translucent. Add garlic and cook an additional minute.

Add the Moroccan spice blend and stir well, coating the onions and garlic in the spices. Cook for 1 minute.

Pour in tomatoes and water and bring to a boil.

Add cauliflower and lentils and bring to a boil again. Turn down to s simmer and cook covered for another 15-20 minutes until the cauliflower is softened.

Serve with fresh coriander as a side or over rice or cous cous.

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