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.