Let’s talk about cauliflower, shall we? I know, I’m throwing you for a total loop there, talking about cauliflower in a post about cauliflower recipes….WEIRDEST.THING.EVER. Don’t worry…we’re not talking about the forlorn little florets haphazardly shoved onto the grocery store items that I refer to as dejected rainbows (more commonly known as a ‘veggie tray’). No, the cauliflower we’re talking about is the real dizzle dazzle deal, yo. It’s one of my all-time favorite veggies and for good reason. You can do evvvvverything with it. Whip up a pizza crust, make faux buffalo “chicken” nuggets, puree it into a rich and creamy sauce, heck you can probably even make it into glue and bind a book with it (but why would you want to waste it doing that?!). Obviously, this is one powerhouse of a vegetable. To show you just how versatile (and tasty) it is, Grace, Luci, and I decided to tackle cauliflower recipes for this month’s 3×3 post. With a dip, salad, and main dish, it’s safe to say the cauliflower will be taking over your life….or at least your next meal. But considering you probably still have your fair share of Christmas cookie sins to redeem, I don’t think you’ll be complaining too much….
One-pot Cauliflower & Caper Pasta
An easy vegetarian dish that is bursting with cauliflower, capers, garbanzo beans, fennel, and lots of zesty flavors that comes together in a flash
- 1 pound of spaghetti
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil + extra for drizzling
- 1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
- 2 teaspoons salt
- The juice of 1 lemon, plus extra wedges for serving
- 3 tablespoons capers, drained
- 3 cups finely chopped cauliflower
- 1 fennel bulb, finely chopped
- 1 can garbanzo beans
- 2 1/2 tablespoons bread crumbs (I like to use Italian seasoned ones)
- 1/3 cup goat cheese, plus more for serving (if desired)
- Salt & pepper
- Dill, for serving
- First, make sure you have a rack in the middle of your oven. Then, turn it on to broil.
- Fill a large ovenproof pot (I like to use my Le Creuset) with water (and a pinch of salt and a dash of olive oil!) and bring it to a boil over high heat on the stovetop. Add the pasta and cook just until al dente, about 8 minutes. (Now is the perfect time to chop your veggies, if you haven't already.)
- Drain the pasta and, without rinsing it in cold water, immediately add it back to the pot. Stir in the olive oil, pepper flakes, salt, lemon juice, capers, and garbanzo beans.
- Once everything is well mixed, top the pasta with the fennel and cauliflower pieces. Sprinkle that with the bread crumbs and a dash of salt and pepper and then drizzle the whole thing with olive oil (I probably drizzled on approximately another 2 tablespoons). Finish the top off with the goat cheese crumbles.
- Place the pot in the oven and broil for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese and veggies have turned a slight golden color. If you'd like, serve the pasta with one, a few, or all (or none) of the following: extra cheese, salt and pepper, a sprinkle of dill, lemon wedges, pepper flakes, or a drizzle of olive oil.
- Sever with a kale salad, crunchy bread, and a glass of white wine.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.
- As with all my recipes, this one is totally customizable. Therefore if you don't like capers, fennel, or garbanzo beans, feel free to either replace them or leave them out completely.
- In place of the goat cheese try using parmesan cheese, feta cheese, or ricotta cheese, or eliminate the cheese altogether.
- To make this less zesty/spicy, leave the pepper flakes out.
- This recipes is vegetarian. To make it gluten-free, eliminate the bread crumbs and use a gluten-free pasta. To make it dairy-free, eliminate the cheese.
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/
Another cold day. Another bowl of soup. Who woulda thunk?! This is a new favorite recipe from an old favorite cookbook. Cookbooks…remember those ancient things? The things we used before Google came along to spit out 100s of versions of the recipe we needed faster than we could even flip to the recipe index in the book. Well, I had a whole stack of them collecting dust and I decided it was time for the dust to collect elsewhere…at least some of the time. This mushroom tomato tofu stew is adapted from a book that I actually cooked from a lot while I was growing up. I’d forgotten all about it, until I was browsing a used bookstore and happened upon a barely used copy for only a couple dollars. I was thrilled (to add it to my dust-collecting collection)! Being in detox-from-the-holidays mode I figured it was better to reach for the low-fat cookbook before I tackle (and proceed to gain 500 pounds) from Julia Child’s book. And boy does this stew deliver on the detox level. It’s packed with vegetables and pretty much only vegetables, making it 1,000 times healthier than anything else I’ve eaten in the last month, although I’m pretty sure eating french fries (potatoes=veggies!!!) would be healthier than anything I’ve eaten in the last month. Per usual, I can never truly “follow” a recipe so I have made a few adjustments. Feel free to do the same.
Do you like to make recipes from cookbooks, blogs, websites, or just wing it?
One-Pot Mushroom Tomato Tofu Stew
A simple stew that is hearty, full of flavor, and bursting with nutrients
- 4 cups chopped onions (about 3 medium-sized onions)
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 cups sliced celery (about 1 bunch, or 8 stalks)
- 4 cups sliced mushrooms (about 12 baby bella mushrooms or a 10 ounce package)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger root
- 1 28-ounce can of undrained chopped tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons of peanut butter
- 1/3 cup of Bragg's or soy sauce (more or less, depending on taste preference)
- 2 teaspoons salt (more or less, depending on taste preference)
- 12 ounces of tofu, cut into bite-sized pieces
- To a large soup pot add the water and onions. Place the pot over high heat, put the lid on, and let the onions cook for about 5 minutes, stirring once or twice. Add in the celery and continue cooking for another 5 minutes with the lid on. Next, add the mushrooms, lower the heat to medium, and cook an additional 5 minutes, adding more water if the vegetables begin to stick to the pan.
- Once you've cooked the vegetables down, add in the remaining ingredients and continue to simmer on low heat, until everything has warmed through. Discard the bay leaf and serve.
- This recipe is low-fat, dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian.
- I recommend serving this with a salad and some crusty bread.
- This soup can be made ahead then kept warm in a crockpot, or simply reheat it for 5 minutes over medium heat before serving.
- Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites Cookbook
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/
Please don’t hate me for what I am about to do. I know you just got done inhaling enough turkey, mashed potatoes, and gravy to feed a small country….but I couldn’t resist sharing this recipe for triple truffle mac and cheese. Yes, you read that correctly. Triple truffle. As in three types of truffle seasonings. As in three times the deliciousness. As in the best darn truffle mac and cheese to ever grace the face of the earth (a bit presumptuous of a statement, I know, but as they say, if the noodle fits…..Wait. They don’t say noodle?! They say shoe? Well, toe-mate-ohs, toe-mah-toes. Noodles, shoes. You know what I mean.). Mac and cheese in itself is the ultimate comfort food. But when you go ahead and add in all of the truffle things (I blame Trader Joe’s for this!) and the creamiest of cheeses, well, that’s just a recipe for heaven in a pan (and possibly a heart attack, but we’ll pretend we don’t know that). I must warn you, you might not be able to fit into your pants after eating this, your heart may have some trouble beating from all the cream and cheese, but I promise, it will be worth it. Just keep repeating after me “It will all be worth it….it will all be worth it…” Picture it with me for a minute and I think you’ll understand why. Cheesy, creamy, goodness embracing each piece of pasta like silk draping over skin, warmed to buttery perfection, topped with the crunchiest of toppings, and finished with a feathering of truffle essences in not one, not two, but three forms. Don’t even try to fool yourself…you know you want some….
Recipe Links Truffle Oil Truffle Salt
Triple Truffle Mac and Cheese
A creamy, decadent truffle infused mac 'n cheese, perfect for a cozy dinner in on a cold winter night
- 1 pound of pasta
- 4 tablespoon of butter (unsalted)
- 5 ounces mushrooms, sliced (should equal about 1 1/2 cups; I used baby bella mushrooms)
- 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 1/4 cups heavy cream (see notes)
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup mushroom brie, cut into small pieces (found at Trader Joe's; can also use regular brie)
- 1 1/2 cups grated truffle cheese (I get mine at Trader Joe's)
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese (I used a sharp white cheddar)
- 4-5 tablespoons of truffle oil (Again, I found mine at Trader Joe's, but I linked another one below)
- 1 teaspoon of truffle salt (You guessed it...I found mine at Trader Joe's, but I linked some below)
- Fresh ground pepper
- 3/4 cups of Italian or regular breadcrumbs
- Bring a large oven-safe pot of water to boil. Toss in the pasta and cook until al dente, about 8-9 minutes. Drain, rinse under colder water, and set aside.
- Back in the pan, melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Sauté the mushrooms until they are golden brown, about 8-10 minutes. Remove the mushrooms and set them aside.
- In the same pan, melt the remaining butter (should be 3 tablespoons) at medium heat, then toss in the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Use a whisk to stir in the flour, then slowly start adding the cream and water, a little at a time. Make sure to whisk after each addition to avoid any lumps. Continue mixing until all of the liquid has been added. Allow the sauce to cook for about 5-7 more minutes, or until it has thickened slightly, making sure to continue the stirring.
- Once the sauce has thickened and it begins to bubble, add in the cheeses. Stir until they are melted, then add in the mushrooms, as well as 2-3 tablespoons of the truffle oil (more or less depending on your tastes) and the truffle salt (again, you can adjust the amount based on your tastes preferences). Mix until everything is well combined then fold in the pasta. Season to taste with fresh ground pepper as well as any additional salt or oil.
- In a small bowl combine the breadcrumbs and the remaining truffle oil (about 2 tablespoons). Sprinkle this mixture on top of the pasta, then bake the mac n' cheese for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown, at 375 degrees. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 5 minutes before serving.
- To balance out this heavy dish, I like to pair it with a light and fresh salad.
- For the pasta, I like to use a fun shape like campanelle, but you can use any type of pasta that you want.
- I prefer to make this in an oven-safe pan like my Le Creuset as it make this a one-dish meal with easy cleanup. If you don't have an oven-safe pan, feel free to use a pot or skillet for the stovetop steps then transfer the pasta to a baking dish before sprinkling it with the breadcrumb mixture. If you do use a baking dish, just be sure to bake the pasta for only about 15 minutes.
- For the heavy cream and water, you can also just use 2 1/4 cups of milk (I'd use 2%), or less cream and more water (i.e. 1 1/2 cups of water and 3/4 cups cream), or even half-and-half in place of the heavy cream. Whatever combination you settle on, just make sure to use 2 1/4 cups of total liquid.
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/
You know what’s fun? Whipping up a festive, yummy recipe in the kitchen, like this stuffed acorn squash right here. You know what’s not fun? Causing yourself detrimental bodily harm in the process. No, I did not touch a hot pan sans potholder. And no, I did not accidentally slice a finger off (although that would have made for a far better story). Nope, I did something a whole lot dumber. I gave my skin a good ol’ case of the pepper burns. You see, I was distracted when I decided to roast my poblano pepper (because distraction + open flames + hot peppers make a great combination), and I kind of pretty much basically forgot I was cooking with a hot pepper and thought it was a regular pepper. So I sliced it, diced it and rubbed all of that skin off with my two bare hands. I proceeded to make the rest of the recipe and everything seemed totally fine. Until I went to photograph it…. and an excruciating, crippling pain completely took over my hands. Oh, you don’t know what I’m talking about, because you’re smart enough to remember to wear gloves when you cut hot peppers? Well, let me paint you a little picture. It feels like 1,000′s of tiny little flames are being attached to tiny little daggers that are being thrown at your skin at a constant high-speed stream. Basically, it’s like a mini-mordor attacking your skin. And that kids, is why, you should never cook when you’re thinking about those shoes you should have bought and all of the outfits that you could have worn with them. One half hour milk bath, a few scrubs of baking soda, a large amount of dish soap, and a few splashes of whiskey later you now have a really delicious recipe that is healthy (it is gluten-free and I’ve included vegan and dairy-free options) and works perfectly as a side dish served with fish or meat or as a main dish served with salad (think main dish options at Thanksgiving for those who don’t eat meat). My pain is clearly your gain….
Recipe Links Lundberg Wild Rice Blend How to roast a poblano pepper in the oven
Wild Rice & Roasted Pepper Stuffed Acorn Squash
A delicious take on acorn squash with a nutty, spicy flavor; perfect as a main dish or side dish for a fall night or Thanksgiving dinner
- 1 cup wild rice blend (see notes)
- 1 chicken bouillon cube
- 4 cups of water
- 1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms (I used baby bellas)
- 1/2 an onion, chopped
- 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- 1 cup spinach (I used frozen spinach)
- 1 poblano pepper, roasted and chopped (see notes)
- 1 acorn squash
- 1/2 cup grated cheese (you can use cheddar, Monterey, swiss, etc, however, cheese is optional)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the acorn squash in half, lengthwise. Place the two halves, cut-side down, in a glass baking dish and add about 1/4-1/2 an inch of water. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, or until a knife can easily be inserted. Remove from the oven and allow to cool enough to where you can easily handle the squash.
- Once the squash has cooled, use a spoon or serrated knife (I like to use a grapefruit spoon) to scoop out the seeds. Set the squash halves aside.
- Meanwhile, in large saucepan, bring the water and bouillon cube to a boil over high heat. Add in the rice, reduce the heat to medium-high, and continue cooking until the rice has absorbed all the liquid (you may need to add a little more water if the rice is still not fully cooked).
- While the rice is cooking, melt the butter in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add in the garlic, cook for 30 seconds, then add in the onion. Cook for 5 minutes before adding in the mushrooms. Continue sautéing until the vegetables have become golden brown and caramelized. Toss in the spinach and pepper and continue cooking until it has heated through.
- Once the rice has finished cooking, combine it with the vegetables. Place the 2 squash halves, cut-side up, back into the glass baking dish. Generously fill the squash with the rice mixture. Top with grated cheese, if desired. Place back in the oven (at 400 degrees) and cook until the cheese is golden brown, about 10-15 minutes. Serve immediately.
- Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- This recipe is gluten-free, but be sure to read the labels for the rice you use as some brands add in gluten flavoring or fillers. For my recipe I used Lundberg Wild Blend Rice.
- To make this recipe dairy-free, vegetarian & vegan, use a vegetable bouillon in place of the chicken bouillon, olive oil in place of the butter, and omit the cheese.
- The squash and rice can each be prepared the day before then assembled and heated right before serving. Simply store everything in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- For the peppers- If you have a gas stove, the easiest way to roast the poblano pepper is to turn a burner onto medium heat and place the pepper directly onto the flame. Use tongs to rotate it until the skin has charred and bubbled on every side. Remove the pepper and place it directly in a bowl of room temperature water. Using gloved hands gently rub/peel off the charred skin. Remove the top and insides of the pepper then proceed to use it as you wish. To roast the peppers in an oven, simply spray the peppers with cooking spray, then place them on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet. Place them in an oven set to broil and cook until charred and bubbled. Proceed as you would with a pepper roasted on the stovetop. However you choose to roast your peppers, PLEASE REMEMBER TO WEAR GLOVES WHEN HANDLING THEM.
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/
(see the recipe notes for how to roast it with a gas burner)
It’s a tough competition but this butternut squash soup might possibly be my favorite soup ever, and that’s saying a lot, because boy, do I love soup. Like a lot of my recipes, I stumbled upon this one quite by mistake. If I remember correctly, I think it went a little something like “What am I going to make for dinner when the only things in the fridge are ketchup, chocolate chips, and…. a butternut squash??!”. I decided to concoct a butternut squash soup (because obviously going to the grocery store to get ingredients for anything else wouldn’t have been more logical). Luckily, when God closes the door to an empty refrigerator, somewhere He opens a cabinet full of garlic and bouillon cubes. In other words, this saved our dinner from being some kind of weird chocolate-ketchup-squash mishmash (thank you, no!) and helped us discover possibly the easiest soup recipe known to man. It’s decadent, creamy and delicious, but totally healthy at the same time. We now make this soup at least once a week, and you better believe that my fridge is always stocked with butternut squash.
Shop the Tools You Need to Make This Recipe
5-Ingredient Butternut Squash Soup
A delicious and comforting soup that requires just 5 ingredients and a few minutes to make and is perfect for a chilly fall day
- 1 large butternut squash, cooked and peeled (see notes for directions)
- 1 bouillon cube (I use chicken but feel free to use vegetable or beef)
- 3 cloves of garlic (I've also done 1/3 c. leeks or shallots)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups milk (I use 2%, but any type should work)
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- Toppings (optional): Toasted pumpkin seeds, crumbled bleu cheese or goat cheese, apple or pear cubes, dried cranberries, crispy shallots, crunchy bacon pieces, sage, Greek yogurt
- In a large soup pot, add the oil. Heat for a few minutes over medium heat then add the garlic. Cook for a few minutes, or until it is light brown and crispy.
- Add in the remaining ingredients, along with 1/2 a cup of water. Use an immersion blender to puree the mixture into soup. Alternatively, you can also puree the mixture in a blender. If you would like the soup to be thinner add in more milk (or water) until you reach your desired consistency.
- Once pureed, heat the soup for a few minutes before serving.
- Serve with a big salad and some crunchy bread.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- This soup is vegetarian and gluten-free. To make it vegan, substitute the milk for coconut milk (for a more tropical flavor) or almond milk, and use a vegetable bullion cube. You could also eliminate the milk completely and instead use an additional bouillon cube and more water.
- To cook the butternut squash, simply cut it in half, place the halves flesh side down in a large baking dish, add in about 1/2 an inch of water, and cook at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes, or until a knife can easily be inserted into the squash. Remove from the heat, scoop out the seeds, and then proceed to either scoop out the squash or peel off the skin.
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/