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Garlic-roasted Cauliflower Bowl

July 27, 2012

JULY 22nd — I was uncertain about whether to post this because it’s not a particularly elaborate or original recipe. I realize that lately I’ve been trying to keep topping myself in terms of innovation and complexity but people apparently liked the photo of it I posted on my Facebook food album a lot so there really is something about a good compilation of strong flavors, isn’t there? I made this just by using whatever I had left in my fridge & pantry.

So what did you do?
I first chopped a head of cauliflower into bite-sized florets, and then I finely diced 2 cloves of garlic. I put those in a large bowl with about 2/3 a can of chickpeas, a drizzle of olive oil, some oregano, garlic salt, pepper, and a handful of chopped fresh basil. I mixed these ingredients a bit before spilling them onto a tray and putting it into a 375 degree oven. I looked up some recipes for roasted cauliflower to get an idea of how long it would take, but I thought I’d just use my eyes and wait until the florets would get some nice shaded outlines of brown around the edges.

While I waited for the cauliflower and chickpeas to roast for about 30 minutes, I finely chopped one whole red onion into little strips and caramelized it. This is different from what I usually do, which is sautee an onion. Caramelizing involves using at least 2-3 tablespoons of butter and cooking it at a low heat for a long time. I almost always sautee onions due to impatience.
For my red onion, however, I just used 1 tablespoon of butter for the whole onion, and then I added maybe 1/3 cup of water so that the onion would burn.

I distinctly knew that I would caramelize the red onion for its color.

When the onions and the cauliflower-chickpea mixture was done, it was time to layer the bowl presentably, which means I added a layer of my homemade tzatziki, Greek cucumber-yogurt dip, on top.

To make tzatziki, finely chop a cucumber (the thinner the quarter slices the better) and place the pieces into a colander over a sink. Liberally salt the cucumber to season it and to draw out the water. It might take 10 minutes or so. Then mix it in with 2 cups of plain Greek yogurt, 1/4 cup lemon juice, some garlic (if desired), some chopped dill, and salt and pepper, to taste.

This assemblage is a layer of garlic-roasted cauliflower, tzatziki, caramelized red onion, and some reserved roasted chickpeas and basil to top it off. Yum.

It’s also vegetarian (which is why I added chickpeas and Greek yogurt for protein) and low-carb for you girlies out there.

Lessons learned?
Chickpeas roast a lot faster than cauliflower florets. I wish I had roasted the cauliflower longer because it was a bit soggy and thus somewhat bland, but what can you do?

Have fun putting random things together.

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