Glamourising vegetarian food…one dish at a time…
One of my pet hates when dining out is – poorly constructed, extremely repetitive, flavourless and lack lustre vegetarian meals. Once in a while I have no problem with the commonly available vegetarian meals in most restaurants such as pumpkin gnocchi or a vegetarian pizza (that seems to have every vegetable in the world on it). However each time my husband and I go out his meals are so fancy with different textures, colours, flavours and mine the same old boring pumpkin gnocchi.
I want to ask professional chefs out there – what have we vegetarians done to you? why can’t pumpkin gnocchi be as glamourous as confit duck. I mean if you can make something dead look that good on a plate, shouldn’t it be easier with a vegetable that doesn’t bleed? Ok! I should stop being such a meanie, but the whole point is – vegetarian food can be made equally glamorous if not more. Today’s recipe is just that – GLAMOUROUS!
In this recipe I have used vegetables that are available all year round, cooked them with some techniques and spices that orchestrate a symphony of flavours with each bite. This dish is truly a vegetarian’s delight.
Ingredients: 16 Cooking time: 30 minutes
- One medium cauliflower
- Two cups of peas (I used frozen)
- One cup of pumpkin, peeled and cubed
- Four tablespoons of light Greek yogurt
- Juice of one lemon
- Eight to ten fresh mint leaves
- Two to three pods of garlic, smashed
- 1.5 teaspoons of smoked paprika powder
- Two teaspoons of ground cumin powder
- One teaspoon of ground cinnamon powder
- 0.5 teaspoon of chilli powder
- 0.5 teaspoon brown sugar
- Six tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- One tablespoon of butter
- Salt to season
- Fresh watercress to garnish (optional)
Begin by thoroughly washing the cauliflower and break it into large-sized florets. Steam the florets for five to seven minutes until slightly tender.
Prepare a marinade using four tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, one and a half teaspoons of cumin powder,smoked paprika powder and smashed garlic. Marinate the cauliflower florets for 15 minutes prior to roasting, ensure each floret is thoroughly coated with the marinade (add more oil/powdered spices if necessary).
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and roast the marinated cauliflower for 20 minutes.
For the pea mash – steam the peas for five to seven minutes. In a bowl add the steamed peas, fresh mint leaves, a tablespoon of extra virgin olive, juice of half a lemon and salt as per taste. Using a stick blender blend all the ingredients until smooth.
For the cinnamon pumpkin – melt one tablespoon of butter in a pan, once melted add the cinnamon powder and a pinch of brown sugar. Add the pumpkin cubes once you smell the cinnamon aroma. Season with salt as required and cook the pumpkin until tender.
The final component is the chilli oil yogurt – add one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, half a teaspoon of chilli powder and cumin powder and juice of half a lemon. Mix all the ingredients well and add this dressing to the yogurt. Before serving air the yogurt by mixing it rapidly in a circular motion for one minute. My vegan readers feel free to omit this step.
To assemble – spoon the mash peas on the plate, place the roasted cauliflower on top of the pea mash, add the cinnamon pumpkin pieces around the pea mash and finally add a dollop or two of the chilli oil yogurt. If you love your greens like I do, garnish with fresh watercress leaves.
Get ready to scintillate your next dinner party with this quick, easy, lip smackingly delicious, glamorous meal.