Roasted cauliflower gets a holiday upgrade with naturally-sweet golden raisins, toasted walnuts and capers.
By posting this recipe, I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the California Raisin Marketing Board and am eligible to win prizes associated with this contest. I was not compensated for my name. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Sometimes I bite off more than I can chew. Literally, and figuratively.
When I was on vacation with my family, the topic of our Christmas Day meal came up, and somehow, I ended up volunteering to cook the entire meal for all ten of us.
Normally my dad is in charge, and although he's a great cook, let's just say his emphasis is a little more on the meat and a little less on the sides. With half the family qualifying as a borderline vegetarian, I figured a few satisfying veggie sides and a main to accompany my dad's decidedly non-veggie main would make people happy. Plus, I'm pretty excited to show the non-veggie lovers how delicious they can be when you treat them right.
In preparation, I was thinking of the best veggie dishes I've ever had I immediately remembered this dish from Holy Taco in Atlanta. Nutty, roasted cauliflower tossed with sweet golden raisins, salty currants and crunchy walnuts. So much deliciousness in every bite!
Let's talk about the raisins, because although every component is important, it's what truly makes this dish. The sweetness brings out the caramelized flavors of the cauliflower and makes for a great sweet and salty combination with the capers. Naturally-sweet with no added sugar, unlike many other dried fruits, I always keep raisins on hand to add a bit of sweetness to savory dishes like braised greens, pilafs, and curries.
Maybe it's the association with oatmeal cookies and and other sweet treats, but I find many people don't realize how nutritious raisins are. Remember, it's dried grape, so raisins have all the same beneficial compounds. One of those compounds is kaempherol, an antioxidant flavonoid which has been linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. It may even help prevent nerve disorders and osteoporosis. Golden raisins, my personal favorite, are a particularly rich source. Another neat bonus to golden raisins - the dehydration process increases the amount of quercetin, another flavonoid with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. Raisins are also a good source of fiber, potassium and iron.
So, let's ring in the holidays with raisins!
Caramelized Cauliflower with Golden Raisins and Capers
Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice blend you can find in most well stocked groceries or order online. If you don’t have it, simply season the cauliflower with salt and pepper. The other ingredients add plenty of flavor
- 1 head cauliflower, stemmed and chopped into florets
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons za’atar
- 1/4 cup walnuts
- 1/3 cup California golden raisins
- 2 tablespoons capers
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Toss cauliflower with olive oil. Sprinkle with za’atar and season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Spread evenly on a large baking sheet and roast for 25-30 minutes, stopping halfway through to add the walnuts and flip the cauliflower.
- When the cauliflower is caramelized and tender, remove from the oven. Add the golden raisins, toss to combine and transfer to a serving dish. Garnish with capers and serve.