Simple Weeknight Cauliflower

Wayne and I share in the prep work for dinner most nights. Two or three times a week this involves chopping cauliflower into “tiny trees”. Wayne knows the drill, and does a good job cutting the florets into pieces not much larger than a table grape. We then turn the cauliflower into a hot skillet with a bit of salt, olive oil, and whatever spices and seasoning strike our fancy that night.
Simple Cauliflower RecipeCauliflower is endlessly adaptable, and cooking it this way is quick and delicious. After just a few minutes in the pan the cauliflower starts to brown, and then takes on a deep, nutty flavor. I’ll share the version we made the other night – pan-fried cauliflower with garlic, chives, lemon, Parmesan, and flaky sea salt. This handful of ingredients is what hit the pan this time around, but I’ll also list off a few other variations that make frequent appearances in case chives and lemon aren’t your thing.

Simple Cauliflower Variations

Spicy: This is the easiest – olive oil, a bit of Piment d’Esplette, garlic, and lemon zest at the end. Use your favorite red pepper flakes.

Curry: I sometimes use coconut oil here in place of olive oil. Then I add a favorite Indian curry powder, and go from there. Or I’ll take it in an entirely different direction and add a teaspoon (or so) of Thai red curry paste to the coconut oil.

Nutmeg: I use 1/2 olive oil and 1/2 butter, then the cauliflower, and some freshly grated nutmeg toward the end.

Serving Ideas

A couple serving ideas: It might sound a bit weird, but I like to eat this style of cauliflower over an open-faced egg salad sandwich for lunch. Or, I might build a meal off the cauliflower by throwing a bit of tofu or seitan in the pan. It’s also great on top of a curry bowl, or bowl of chili.

Anyhow, people who don’t typically like cauliflower seem to like it cooked this way. But be sure to seek out good, fresh cauliflower with tight florets, no discoloration. If there are leaves they should be bright and intact, not withered and funky.

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Quick Lime and Mushroom Salad

I’m hoping a good number of you will give this mushroom salad a go. I’m pretty sure you’ll love it! This is a solid example of my favorite kind of recipe – quick, flavor forward, and endlessly adaptable. Are you a fan of mushrooms? Then this recipe is especially for you. Here’s how it goes. You sauté thinly sliced mushrooms in a splash of olive oil and cook them until they’re super golden and beautiful. Then you toss them in a bowl with fresh herbs, peanuts, freshly chopped herbs, serrano chile, a good amount of lime juice, and soy sauce. Done.
 Quick Lime and Mushroom Salad

What kind of mushrooms?

This is a mixed mushroom salad (as pictured). I used cremini, king trumpet, and enoki mushrooms. That said, you can certainly make it with a single type of thinly sliced mushrooms. When you are preparing them just be sure to slice them consistent thickness – roughly 1/4-inch. These is a shot of the mushrooms pre-cooking (below). Followed by a photo of the color I like them to have when done cooking.

Quick Lime and Mushroom Salad

Quick Lime and Mushroom Salad

Variations on this Mushroom Salad

  • Mushroom Salad with Tofu (as pictured): For more of a one-dish meal, I like to add a bit of crumbled tofu, or steamed tempeh.
  • Mushroom Salad over Rice: This is delicious over just about any type of rice you like. A simple bowl of brown jasmine, mixed rice & grains, or even congee!
  • Mushroom Salad over Noodles: Lots of things are great with noodles, and this is no exception! You can toss it rice or soba noodles along with the rest of the ingredients. Just bump up the amount of lime juice and soy sauce, so you have enough dressing. 

    Quick Lime and Mushroom Salad

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Thirteen Great Blender Soups you can Make Tonight

Blender soups are great because, often, you need just a few ingredients. Start with one all-star, seasonal ingredient like winter squash, broccoli, tomato, or asparagus. Beyond that, perhaps an onion, some broth or water, some herbs or spices, boom – you’ve got what you need to make a beautiful, silky blended soup.

A soup like this can come together in under fifteen minutes – you cook the aromatics, add the main vegetable with some broth or favored liquid, and let simmer until the vegetable(s) are cooked through. Then you go to town with more spices and toppings. I throw the term blender around loosely here. If you don’t have a traditional blender, a hand blender is fine. They work great, particularly if you’re one of those people who avoids dealing with a blender because of the clean-up. 😉 A high-speed blender can give an extra smooth, beautiful texture, but I used an immersion hand blender for years, making soups like these, before taking the high-speed plunge. Still delicious.

1. A Simple Carrot Soup(101 Cookbooks)
This simplest carrot soup! Carrots and onion form the base, it’s spiked with dollop of red curry paste, and then pureed into silky oblivion. Get the recipe here.

Thirteen Great Blender Soups you can Make Tonight

2. Turmeric Carrot Ginger Soup with Coconut Almond Streusel(Cheeky Kitchen)
If you’re up for a more complex carrot soup, here’s where it’s at. Lemongrass, coconut, ginger, garlic, and tahini come together in this beauty. it’s a blended carrot soup with a coco-almond streusel topping. Right? Get the recipe here.

Thirteen Great Blender Soups you can Make Tonight

3. Alkalizing Green Soup(101 Cookbooks)
Ten ingredients in a blender, this soup is a potent jolt of alkalizing vegetables and herbs, made with a protein-rich split green pea base. This is great when you need an anti-dote to and overly indulgent week. Get the recipe here.

Thirteen Great Blender Soups you can Make Tonight

4. Stinging Nettle and Spring Garlic Soup(Hungry Ghost)
With their abundant vitamins and minerals, I’m always looking for ways to work more nettles into my diet. Andrea always inspires, and this is the perfect soup for springtime or if you come across nettles at the market (or out on a hike!). Use a veg broth if you’d like to keep it vegetarian / vegan. Get the recipe here.

Thirteen Great Blender Soups you can Make Tonight

5. Roasted Tomato Soup(Sprouted Kitchen)
When you’ve had your fill of the seasons best fresh tomatoes, and when you’re ready to transition into fall, this is the soup to make. You still want to use great tomatoes, and you can easily make this vegan by using coconut milk or a thick nut milk in place of the heavy cream called for. Get the recipe here.

Thirteen Great Blender Soups you can Make Tonight

6. Julie Morris’s Cumin Beet Soup(Julie Morris / Jenni Kayne)
From Julie’s Superfood Soups book, this vibrant blended stunner includes power ingredients like cumin, turmeric, and maca. It has a coconut milk base, nut milks will work as well. Get the recipe here.

Thirteen Great Blender Soups you can Make Tonight

7. Cauliflower Soup with Lemon Zest(The Thinking CAP)
Sometimes simple is best, and that what you see here. A recipe by nutritionist Dana James strong on the cauliflower front, with a hint of lemon. Five ingredients (aside from water, salt). Get the recipe here.

Thirteen Great Blender Soups you can Make Tonight

8. Warm Almond, Garlic, and Parsnip Soup(Green Kitchen Stories)
A (remote) riff on Spanish gazpacho. I love the use of underutilized parsnips here, and the red grape and thyme finish. Get the recipe here.

Thirteen Great Blender Soups you can Make Tonight

9. Broccoli Cheddar Soup(101 Cookbooks)
I love the combination of broccoli, mustard, and Cheddar here. Get the recipe here.

Thirteen Great Blender Soups you can Make Tonight

10. Pumpkin and Rice Soups(Local Milk)
Brilliant use of smoked salt here adding depth to a winter squash and apple blended soup base. Also, an herby kiss of fresh time counters the natural sweetness here. To make this vegan, swap in your favorite non-dairy milk for the cream – a thick homemade cashew nut milk works great – (1 cup soaked nuts blended w/ two nuts, strained). Get the recipe here.

Thirteen Great Blender Soups you can Make Tonight

11. Coconut Broccoli Soup(101 Cookbooks)
A simple broccoli and spinach affair, made with coconut milk broth, double greens (broccoli & spinach), and topped with good stuff like pan-fried tofu cubes, lots of toasted almonds, and shredded scallions. Get the recipe here.

Thirteen Great Blender Soups you can Make Tonight

12. A Simple Asparagus Soup(101 Cookbooks)
Spiked with a dollop of green curry paste, this is a springtime favorite. Just a handful of ingredients, and you can use cashew nut or almond milk in place of the coconut milk if you like. Get the recipe here.

Thirteen Great Blender Soups you can Make Tonight

13. Pumpkin and Rice Soups(101 Cookbooks)
Ginger-spiked pumpkin (or winter squash) soup. It calls for fresh ginger juice, pressed from grated ginger, and a kiss of serrano chile. Just a short list of ingredients come together beautifully here. Get the recipe here.

Thirteen Great Blender Soups you can Make Tonight

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4 o’clock No-bake Energy Bites

Energy bites aren’t a new thing, but if you’re a person that grabs commercial power bars regularly, and you’re not already on board, give these a try as a DIY alternative. I make them for a 4 o’clock late afternoon snack to reach for when I’m at the studio, but they’re also a great travel option. Kids love them. Adults love them. The best part is that you’re in control of the ingredients, and they’re a breeze to make. That said, I deploy a few, small, but (I’ll argue) significant personal preferences when I set out to make energy bites.
No-bake Energy Bites

Energy Bite Strategy

Most recipes tend to use raw coconut flakes, and raw oats. I find a light toasting of both is worth the slight extra effort. I also like chia seeds here, and tend to use them as my seed of choice, but I first beat them up in a mortar and pestle a bit before adding them to the mix. Also, feel free to swap things up a bit – trade in alternate seeds, use whatever sweetener you prefer, add spices if you like, or an alternative nut butter, or keep things simple, and just go with this version – Enjoy!

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A quick side note, I make these with whatever nut butter I have on hand. Typically peanut or almond butter, but in the video up above you’ll see sunflower seed butter. All great!

No-bake Energy Bites

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Instant Pot Chickpea Cauliflower Korma

Today’s recipe is a fantastic mash-up of sorts. It’s an Insta-friendly riff on the Chickpea Cauliflower Korma recipe in Jennifer Iserloh’s The Healing Slow Cooker. An Instant Pot korma. I paired it with the high-impact Indian-spiced Simmer Sauce from Coco Morante’s The Essential Instant Pot Cookbook. If you have a simmer sauce on hand, whether it’s this aforementioned one, or a store-bought version you love, this couldn’t come together more quickly. It’s the perfect vehicle to get all sorts of goodness into your body in one, delicious sitting.

Instant Pot Chickpea Cauliflower Korma

I love this recipe because it’s absolutely packed with power ingredients, including a nice range of fragrant spices. I like to think I get a lot of spice in my diet, but I think the real key is integrating spice blends into lots of meals. Not just a few times a week, but daily. For example, the simmer sauce has coriander, cayenne, cumin, turmeric, paprika, and whatever spices are in your garam masala blend. It’s how you shift from single notes to a chord.

Instant Pot Chickpea Cauliflower Korma

No problem if you don’t have an Instant Pot, a stovetop version is a breeze as well, and I’ll include guidelines for that down below! Also, for reference, this is the Instant Pot I used for this recipe: Instant Pot DUO Plus 6 Qt 9-in-1

Instant Pot Chickpea Cauliflower Korma

Side note – Another way to get a medley of spices and power-ingredients into your meals are pastes. That’s part of the reason I love strong curry pastes like this one, or a boosted miso paste like this one.

Lastly, if you have an Instant Pot, be sure to poke around this new section with all the instant pot recipes in one place.

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Spicy Tahini Noodles with Roasted Vegetables

This is my favorite kind of weeknight meal. Noodles tossed with a quick sauce, topped with an abundance of vegetables, and kissed with chile feistiness courtesy of the condiment shelf. Spicy tahini noodles. It’s in high-rotation around here at the moment, and I’ll mention some variations down below. The gist: make a simple, thinned-out tahini sauce, roast the vegetables while your pasta water is coming to a boil, toss and serve on one platter. If you like those old-school Chinese restaurant spicy peanut noodles, these are sort-of their tahini slathered distant cousins.

A couple things worth noting. I’ve made this with fresh udon noodles (delicious!), you see it pictured here made with whole wheat fettuccini (thumbs up), and I’m also convinced thick, wide rice noodles would be good. Feel free to experiment. I think the key is a substantial noodle – skip the angel hair, and soba for this round.

Spicy Tahini Noodles with Roasted Vegetables

Spicy Tahini Noodles with Roasted Vegetables

On the vegetable front, literally clean out your crisper, and play around with the different vegetables you use here. Just group them in neighborhoods. This way if some of the vegetables cook more quickly than others, you can just move them off the sheet pan.

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