Oven roasted cauliflower & green bean salad
This is a delicious way to enjoy cauliflower. I use my Middle Eastern tahini sauce as a dressing but you could also dress with extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and some paprika/smoked paprika. If you like, add some chopped fresh oregano or flat leaf parsley when the salad has cooled. The tahini sauce is also lovely used as a sauce over some simple poached/grilled fish, or as a dip with vegetable sticks. Keeps well in an airtight jar for several days. I like to make the dressing a bit in advance, to let the flavours develop. Eat it warm or cold – it’s all good.
For the salad:
1 medium cauliflower, leaves removed
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 dsp sumac
Freshly ground black pepper
2 large handfuls (about 250g) green beans (or runner beans)
For the dressing:
1 rounded tbs light tahini
2 tbs lemon juice and about 125ml cold water OR 150ml home made kefir (the lemon juice or kefir provides a lovely acidity to the sauce)
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
1. Preheat oven to 200C/185C fan
2. Placing the whole cauliflower with stalk downwards, cut in half, and cut out the big central stalk. Then slice each half in slices approximately 1.5cm thick. Slicing (rather than breaking into florets) helps the cauliflower to caramelize deliciously.
3. Place in an ovenproof roasting dish, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle over the sumac, a good pinch of salt and lots of black pepper and mix gently to coat everything evenly.
4. Roast for 20-25 minutes until you can pierce easily with a fork.
5. While the cauli is roasting, boil the kettle. Steam the green/runner beans until they are slightly softened but retain some crunch. Drain and refresh in cold water. This stops the cooking process. Once cooled, drain.
6. Make the tahini sauce. Whisk or blitz together in a mini food processor all the sauce ingredients. You are aiming for a consistency about the texture of double cream. You may need to add more water as you go to achieve this. The tahini will clump initially. Just keep mixing, and adding more liquid if needed.
7. When cauliflower is cooked so a fork pierces it easily, empty it and the green beans, into a serving dish and drizzle with the sauce.
Why this is good for you;
Cauliflower is a sulphurophane vegetable. This means that (like broccoli and cabbage) it is rich in sulphur which is crucial for detoxification. Detoxification affects every aspect of our health so if you want clear skin, good energy, mood and to keep clear of any health conditions, these sulphur rich veg are great to eat at least 3 times a week.
Garlic is also rich in sulphur and helps rebalance your gut bacteria in favour of useful micro organisms which ALSO aid detoxification. In fact over 70% of your detoxification is looked after by good gut bacteria – if you have enough quantity and variety of them!! Spices like sumac, paprika and black pepper, used to coat food, help reduce the toxic substances generated by roasting/heating food to high temperatures.
Spices (and herbs) also stimulate our body’s antioxidant defenses to keep us looking and feeling better for much, much longer. Kefir, especially when home-made, is a hypoallergenic milk product that’s really rich in over 30 species of beneficial micro organisms. Did you know that although many of these micro organisms dont survive the acid in our stomachs they still exert a beneficial effect. Research has shown that even heat-killed friendly bacteria do us good when we take them. Who knew! Of course we really also want to grow our own good bugs, which colonise and cling to the walls of our large intestine. There they ferment plant fibres (if we eat a big variety of plants) to make short chain fatty acids. Short chain fatty acids like butyrate are essential for daily repair of our gut. Get your gut health right and you have at least 90% of your health sorted.