4 Amazingly Tasty, super easy, kid friendly (and vegan!) Cauliflower Recipes

I am not sure why, but I love cooking with cauliflower! Not plain jane, nothing but salt and pepper cauliflower, but all the delicious recipes that can be created with it. I’m mostly vegan and sugar free (I still have my vices…. hello coffee!) but these recipes are vegan. Even if you DON’T like cauliflower, I dare you to try these recipes and not change your mind…

P.S. Cauliflower is anti-inflamitory , cancer fighting, detoxing (unless you dump a bunch of cheese on it), and has tons of healthy vitamins and minerals! Plus it has basically no calories (if you’re worried about that) 🙂

Buddha Bowl with Cauliflower and Chick Peas

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THIS receipe… if you try just one, try this one. Even must husband, the ultimate no-veggie-eating carnivore who once told me when I said I was making cauliflower…again… said that “cauliflower just pisses me off.” I mean, he hates it. But, he LOVES this recipe! Not only that, but my 19 month old little girl LOVES it as well! WIN!

You’ll need:

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1 head of broccoli
  • 1 can of cooked chick peas or 1.5 cups, drained and rinse
  • 1 batch of quinoa (cooked)
  • salt n’ pepa
  • olive oil

For the Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup cashews, soaked
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (I use the pre-squeezed because who has the time!)
  • 1 tbsp of tahini (it’s ground up sesame seeds…most stores have this)
  • 1 large garlic clove (or, like me, buy the already cushed garlic in olive oil)
  • 1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 6 tbsp water or more to thin out as much as you want
  1. Soak the cashews in water for at least 2 hours. I put them in water in the morning and when I get home to cook them they are perfect. In a pinch, you can also boil them for 10 minutes and they should be good to go.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  3. Put the chickpeas in a pan and sprinkle some olive oil on them and stir.
  4. Put the cauliflower and broccoli in another dish and sprinkle with olive oil.
  5. Put both of these dishes in the oven for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes stir the chickpeas and cook both dishes another 10-15 minutes until they are done. (aside: when I just don’t have the time for this, I steam the broccoli and cauliflower for 7 minutes and then roast for about 10 and back the chickpeas the same time (about 17 minutes).
  6. Meanwhile, mix all the dressing ingredients in a blender (I use my nutribullet)  and blend on high speed until smooth. Sometimes I’ll make this early and store in the fridge to save me time when my toddler is desperately wanting my attention.
  7. After the veggies are done, mix them all together. You can either mix all the dressing with it,  or let each person spoon out however much you want.
  8. Put the veggie mix over your grains (the quinoa), mix with the dressing, and enjoy!

Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpeas with Mustard and Parsley

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This one is from Gweneth Paltrow’s recipe book, It’s All Good. I’m sure there are several other recipes in there that are great (I think I remember a sweet potato one being pretty tasty….) but this is the one that stuck with me. I was cooking it twice a week sometimes! My husband and child aren’t super crazy about this one, but I LOVE it! But I also love mustard and that bitter taste. My friends who I have shared this with also love it!

Ingredients:

  • a 14-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained and dried in a kitchen towel
  • 1 head of cauliflower,  cut into bite-sized florets
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Coarse sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon seeded mustard
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped Italian Parsley

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Toss the chickpeas and cauliflower together in a large roasting pan with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and a big pinch of salt. Roast, stirring now and then, until everything is dark and the cauliflower is quite soft, about 45 minutes. Again, if I don’t have the time to sit around and wait 45 minutes for this to cook, I steam it for a few minutes, roast for about, oh, whatever I have time for, and it’s good to go!
  3. Meanwhile, whisk together the mustards, vinegar, and 1/4 cup of olive oil with a big pinch of salt and a few healthy grinds of black pepper.
  4. While the chickpeas and cauliflower are still warm, toss them with the mustard dressing and the parsley.
  5. Serve warm or at room temperature. It’s so freaking good!!!

 

Creamy Vegan Lemon-Pepper Pasta

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This is another dish my child LOVES! Little does she know she’s eating a whole bunch of cauliflower and healthy nuts. I make this at the beginning of the week and give it to her for lunch for the next few days.

This is another recipe which you’ll need to soak your cashews for a few hours (again, just put them in water in the morning and by cooking time they are soft and ready to go!)

Ingredients

Pasta

  • 12 ounces gluten-free linguine or rigatoni* 

Garlicky Lemon-Pepper Sauce

  • 2 1/2 cups small (1-inch) cauliflower florets (fresh, not frozen) (I just get a big head of cauliflower and call it a day)
  • 1 cup unsweetened plain plant-based milk (I use coconut milk), plus more if needed to thin
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours or in a pinch, boil for 10 minutes.
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste if desired
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 3/4 to 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced (more or less, to taste) 

For the Pasta

  1. Cook your pasta according to package directions. I like to salt my water and put a little coconut oil in it which I feel like helps the pasta not to be so sticky.

    For the Garlicky Lemon-Pepper Sauce

    1. Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the cauliflower florets to the pot and boil for 7 minutes or until very fork-tender. Strain off the water.
    2. Add the boiled cauliflower florets, almond milk, cashews, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, sea salt, and black pepper to a high-speed blender (do not use a food processor. I use my nutribullet.)

    3. Blend on high for 2 minutes or until completely smooth and creamy. Set within reach of the stove.
    4. Heat the olive oil and garlic in a large sauté pan over low heat. Cook for 2 minutes, or until soft and fragrant.
    5. Stir in the cauliflower sauce, increase heat to medium, and simmer for 3 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.
    6. Turn off the heat, add the pasta to the pan, and toss to coat. If a slightly thinner sauce is desired, add more plant-based milk, one small splash at a time, to thin. (Note: If you add more milk, you’ll need to increase the seasoning to accommodate.)

    7. Taste and generously season with more sea salt and black pepper to taste.

    8. Serve immediately.

    Recipe Notes

    *For a rich and super creamy pasta use 12 ounces of pasta. For a slightly less saucy pasta, use up to 16 ounces (1 pound).

     

    Roasted Panko-Parmesean Cauliflower

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If you like things on the spicy side, this is for you. I can’t do spicy so I tone this recipe down a bunch and it is delicious! The first time I made it, it was VERY spicy and my husband was all about it. Sometimes my child likes this recipe, sometimes she doesn’t. The other 3 are way more kid friendly.

INGREDIENTS
  • 2 lb cauliflower florets [around 6-8 cups] Again, I just use a head of cauliflower.
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes – for less spicy, do 1/2 tsp
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika –
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper – for less spicy, do 1/4 tsp
  • ½ tsp oregano or dry Italian seasoning [optional]
  • ⅓ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Spritz a large baking sheet liberally with cooking spray then set aside.
  2. Place the cauliflower florets into a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil and stir until coated. Add the remaining ingredients. Toss until evenly distributed.
  3. Arrange on the baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle lightly with additional olive oil.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring once midway through cooking.
  5. After 30 minutes, increase the oven temperature to 500°F and continue to cook for 3-4 minutes until golden.
  6. Serve with thinly sliced green onions, if desired. If you’re not going vegan, try sprinkling some parmesean.
avocado tuna salad

If you like Avocados and you like Tuna you’re gonna LOVE this!

Sometimes I get it in my head that “simple” recipes cannot be as good as the more complicated ones. And sometimes they aren’t. However, this tuna salad is so good I would eat it every day if I didn’t think I would threaten my little baby’s health (that whole mercury poisoning thing).

In trying to find a tuna salad recipe without mayo, I came across this one and decided to try it. I didn’t have any ingredients really to make a “normal” one. This one turned out so delicious that I have no desire to dress it up!

Avocado Tuna Salad

1 Avocado

1/2 a Lemon

1 Can/Jar of Tuna (I used the 6oz Wild Caught Tuna in Olive Oil in a glass jar)

Salt and Pepper

This is VERY simple: Mix up all ingredients (squeeze all the juice out of the lemon) and mix! You can eat it with a fork or you can eat it as a sandwich….I happened to have some organic blue corn tortilla chips and I used those.

I suppose you could add some red onions, or relish, or something else but try it just like this before you add anything. Maybe it’s my pregnancy hormones but it just rocks my world.

Worried about eating an entire avocado? Don’t! Avocados are high in calories (but are you really worried about that right now?) but EXTREMELY beneficial for your brain health and for your growing baby! Avocados contribute to healthy blood flow which can lower blood pressure. The fat in avocados is monosaturated which means it’s the good kind. It also contains plenty of potassium, Vitamin K, and Folate, which are all extremely beneficial whether you’re preggers or not!

As for the Tuna, eating fish while pregnant is VERY healthy for your baby’s brain. “They” say not to eat more than 2 servings of fish per week, but there have also been new studies that show that eating around 3 servings a week and getting all those healthy omega 3’s is the way to go. Generally, I’ve been eating about 2, possibly 3 servings per week but I don’t eat tuna more than once per week.

fatique during pregnancy

11.5 Weeks – Insanely tired, a bit mopey, the BLOATING, and intense cravings for the bad bad bad!

This first trimester has  been a doozie – I’ve been ok some days, perfectly normal, and other days I want to pass out at my desk at 3pm, or have an insane craving for cheesy, pasta type dishes or grilled cheese. Luckily, I also seem to crave apples a lot (which I read could be a sign I need more vitamin C!). Sometimes I give in. The last 2 weeks I’ve given in a LOT. It’s so easy to just say to yourself, “I’m going to get fat anyway!” and just go for it. Not to mention, being tired and mopey does NOT help your will power. However, I’ve been EXTREMELY bloated the last few days because of my “oh I’ll just have this one grilled cheese/spaghetti/nutella toast/macaroni and cheese” moments. So much that I cannot even fit in to some of my jeans! I’ve never experienced it this bad. In fact, it’s not even like I’m pigging out all day – I’m still eating veggies (forcing myself – they just do not appeal to me right now) and good things during the day, but for dinner I desperately want something satisfying. Even so, I have become INCREDIBLY bloated. I don’t think it’s a bump yet, I’m just getting large!

So last night, instead of giving in, I meditated for about 10 minutes, while I baked some rutabagas. It helped get my mind off my cravings. While waiting on my veggies to bake, I ate 1/4 of a large watermelon. That may seem like a lot, but considering the fact that what I really wanted was some carby starchy mac n cheese or something of the sort, I was satisfied that I was only eating an extremely large portion of a watermelon. Once my rutabagas were done, I put some apple cider vinegar on them and went to town. They were pretty good and filled me up. This morning I woke up to a much less bloated belly!  I’ve decided I just HAVE to restrain myself at least a few nights a week and stick with the healthy, or non-greasy, cheesy types.

rutabagas with vinegar

If you like rutabagas as much as I do, here is a great way to cook them:

Ingredients:

Rutabagas (I buy mine already chopped into bite size pieces)

Crushed garlic (again, I buy it already crushed and setting in olive oil)

Sea Salt and Pepper

Mrs. Dash

Apple Cider Vinegar

Sesame oil, or another oil (not olive oil as it is not supposed to be heated to really high heats)

Directions: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Toss rutabagas with oil, salt and pepper (to taste), some Mrs. Dash or any other seasonings you like (I just happened to have that on hand), and as much garlic as you want (I use a LOT if I’m not going anywhere after I eat these!)

Spread evenly in a baking dish and bake for about 30 minutes. You want them to be tender and not crunchy.

Remove them from the oven and sprinkle a little apple cidar vinegar over them. You can also add a little butter if you choose. Enjoy!

Foods I’ve found that are REALLY good for you during Pregnancy!

me with hair weaveI am someone who normally (non-pregnant me) CRAVES collard greens, and carrots, and spaghetti squash, not to mention several other veggies and healthy foods. So when I started disliking the taste of these things and all I want is hamburgers and grilled cheese, I was truly shocked. I have eaten more cheese in the last 7 weeks then I have in 2 years. I try to control it but it’s hard sometimes! I am constantly researching foods that I SHOULD be eating so my brain can overcome my cravings and force me to eat healthy things. It works sometimes. Here are some relatively healthy foods us pregnant women should be eating, that I’ve found so far:

I’ll start with my favorite one: Chocolate! Apparently they’ve done enough studies to conclude that pregnant women, who eat 5 or more servings of chocolate each week, have a 40% less chance of developing preeclampsia, a high blood pressure condition [that can endanger the lives of both mother and child]. It has also shown to lead to a happier, less fussy baby. This doesn’t mean to eat a Hersey’s bar every day, but a few pieces of dark chocolate (just remember to consider it part of your caffeine consumption) can do a lot of good.

Dates: I discovered this little tidbit while eating some dates, which is my way of trying to beat my sugar addiction and not bake a batch of cookies. Apparently, women who ate dates during all 9 months of pregnancy had shorter labor times. I’m going to assume that’s probably a good thing 🙂

Fish: If you google “pregnancy eating” you’ll most likely come across reports that fish with high mercury levels (tilefish, swordfish, shark, and king mackerel) should be avoided. You’ll also read that you shouldn’t eat more than 2 servings of the other fish every week. And then if you read further, you’ll read that Omega-3 consumption while pregnant (the little goodies you get from eating fish) can make your baby smarter in all sorts of ways! Don’t you hate these darn contradictions?? Well anyway, I’ve found more recent research that has deemed fish to be more helpful than harmful – meaning, it’s worth the (highly unlikely) mercury poisoning risk to eat the fish every week. It is still recommended you don’t go too far over the 2 fish per week limit, but if you sneak in an extra salmon filet (or sardines in my case – never saw that one coming) it’s probably a good thing. I’d still stay away from those 4 high mercury fishies.

Eggs: Speaking of Omega-3s, eggs are a great source! In fact, of all the reading I’ve done it seems eggs should be a staple in every pregnant woman’s diet! I try to eat them every morning (although sometimes I just have time for some Ezekiel break and almond butter). Eggs are rich in Choline, Calcium, Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Iron and Potassium to name a few! Plus they aren’t high in calories (which, if you’re like me is a good thing since I seem to want to eat ALL the cheese and ALL the almond butter lately).

Here are some more foods that you should consider eating for baby:

Sweet Potatoes, Berries, Dark Leafy Greens, Yogurt

Easy and Delicious Butternut Squash

I found this recipe on Pinterest, from this site: http://www.budgetsavvydiva.com/2013/11/parmesan-roasted-butternut-squash-recipe/

I LOVE the taste of butternut squash but I’m too much of a wuss, or just too hungry by the time it comes to making dinner, to actually go cut one up. So I wait until I find that the grocery store has cut some up for me and I buy that 🙂

Whether you cut it up yourself or take my lazy route, at this point all you need to do is mix the butternut squash, salt, pepper, oil (I used sesame oil. Olive oil is not supposed to be heated at a high heat) and Parmesan. On a side note, I stopped eating dairy about a year ago. There really is very little good that comes from dairy other than maybe a taste that you are used to. However, occasionally the situation calls for some cheese. Situations like: a cheeseburger, my awesome vegan quinoa taco bake (I’ll post that later), or a vegetable recipe that calls for it (which, I also very rarely use recipes that call for cheese at all). I’ve decided that having cheese every few weeks won’t kill me. In this case, I sprinkle about 3 tablespoons of Parmesan on to my butternut squash.

Mix everything up, spread out on a baking sheet, and pop in the oven at 375 for 30 minutes. Now, I seem to always end up getting the really large cubed butternut squash and have to cook it for 40-45 minutes.

This is a really filling veggie and I could seriously eat it all the time. If only I had my very own butternut squash cutter upper. Can I train my puppy to do that? Or my husband…hmmm…..might be time to pull out the ol’ “I have to birth your child!” card 🙂

Simple Butternut Squash:

Cubed Butternut Squash

Salt

Pepper

Parmesan Cheese

A few red pepper flakes (optional, if you like a little kick)

Sesame Oil or Coconut oil

Mix everything together. Spread out in one layer on baking sheet or dish. Bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes. Toss once during cooking. Enjoy!

Nutritional benefits of Butternut Squash:

Butternut squash is a great source of some essential vitamins and nutrients that the body needs to stay healthy. At the top of the list is vitamin A, a nutritional element that helps with eye function. Butternut squash is also a major source of other vitamins like vitamin C, a classic antioxidant, as well as vitamins E and B6, and other nutrients like thiamin and riboflavin. Butternut squash also contains some folate, something that pregnant women need for healthy fetal development, as well as potassium, a nutrient that can help with the treatment of some kinds of health disorders like hypertension.