First, I have to say that this is a staple in our weekly meal routine regardless of the time of year and the flavors are amazing. Though it will last in the refrigerator for days, it usually is gone within the first hour...lol.
So what makes it so good? I think for us, it hits on so many textures and flavor notes on your palette. You know, crunchy, savory, sweet and spicy. It also can be served as a main course for lunch or a side dish for dinner, and served warm or cold. It's even vegan, gluten free, paleo and whole30 friendly.
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It usually takes around an hour (60 minutes) or so to make once you figure in prep time and mixing everything together. If you need more protein, add chicken breast and add more cayenne or black pepper for additional heat. With the dried cranberries we think it's sweet enough but you can always add agave or maple syrup to it.
Though this was inspired by a recipe from Monique Volz, there is one key ingredient we changed, and that was the Tahini. If you've never had Tahini, it is a creamy and nutty paste made from ground and roasted hulled/unhulled sesame seeds. Unlike peanut or other nut butters, Tahini doesn't have the same naturally sweet flavor, it has a more bitter taste.
So what did we use instead? Hummus...
Now, if you've never had Hummus, it is a spread made from chickpeas. The process of making hummus involves soaking chickpeas overnight. The softened chickpeas are then put in the blender to make a smooth paste. After that, fresh garlic and lemon juice are added for a richer flavor overall. All the ingredients are blended and mixed with some, you may have guessed it, Tahini.
Why Hummus? Hummus has a creamier texture that truly compliments the dish. If you are vegan, and want more protein, the chickpeas add a little more protein that you might be looking for.
...and on to the recipe
For the cauliflower and sweet potatoes:
1 head cauliflower, cut into medium-sized florets (about 3-4 cups florets)
1 large sweet potato, cut into ½ inch cubes (about 2-3 cups diced sweet potato)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon curry powder
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon red cayenne pepper
Freshly ground salt and pepper
For the additional items to toss in the mixture:
2/3 cup thawed frozen peas (just let them sit in warm water for a bit)
1/4 cup diced green onion
1/3 cup dried cranberries (or dried cherries)
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
optional: 1/4 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley
For the dressing:
3 tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2-3 tablespoons warm water, to thin the dressing
½ teaspoon curry powder
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
½ tablespoon freshly grated ginger
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
¼ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Add extra cranberries and cilantro
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place cauliflower florets and cubed sweet potatoes on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, then sprinkle on curry powder, turmeric, garlic powder, red cayenne pepper and season with salt and pepper. Use clean hands to toss everything together until it’s well coated with oil and spices. Spread out evenly. Roast for 30 minutes, flipping halfway in between. We want the sweet potatoes to be somewhat fork tender but still have a slight bite.
Once done cooking, add roasted sweet potato and cauliflower to a medium bowl, let cool for 15-20 minutes. Add in the thawed peas, green onion, cranberries, cilantro and parsley. Warm is OK, hot is not. If it's too hot, it will cook the fresh veggies and we watch keep the crunch from the peas, onion and cilantro.
Make the dressing: In a small bowl, add in Hummus, lemon juice, warm water, curry powder, garlic powder, ginger, turmeric, salt and pepper. Mix well to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking. Add more warm water if necessary to thin out the dressing so you can spoon it out. Fold the dressing into the rest of the ingredients until they are well coated. Serves 2-4, depending on how hungry you are. Garnish with a few extra scallions, cranberries and cilantro.
Let us know what you think in the comment box below and maybe try making it with Tahini instead.