I’ve been testing this recipe since December — and it feels so good to finally publish it! Typically I go through 3 – 5 rounds of recipe testing and for my Roasted Purple Cauliflower with Red Pepper Romesco, the fourth time was the charm. If you’ve been following along on my socials, you may know that I had an unfortunate accident with a new kitchen knife on Easter Monday, sliced my index finger and wound up in the ER. Ironically, I was recipe testing. I’ll save you all the gory details because this is a food post after all, but long story short — I ended up with 5 stitches, one very sore finger, minimal nerve damage and a mild reaction to a Tetanus shot that left me with a rash all over my upper body (it’s been a rough couple of weeks!). So if it’s seemed a bit quiet around here, that’s why. It was such a struggle to do pretty much everything during the first week while I was healing up, but my stitches came out Thursday and I’m on the mend. The whole thing was pretty scary and I’m just incredibly grateful it wasn’t any worse! Thank you for all your well wishes and your patience as I attempted to navigate through life at a slower pace these past couple of weeks.
Now, onward and upward! After a week of being terrified to use my kitchen knife and not being able to actually wield it to chop anything, we decided to start the Wild Rose D-Tox on Monday. This is my 6th time doing it over the years and it’s not that much different than my regular, plant based diet — minus anything fermented (yes, that includes alcohol!), tropical fruit and the occasional indulgence. I like to think of it as spring cleaning for my system — and one that was definitely needed after feeling so out of whack last week with my Tetanus shot, taking painkillers (I prefer not to take medication unless absolutely necessary — we didn’t even have any Ibuprofen in the house!) and having to resort to a lot of frozen leftovers (thankfully, my recipe testing process affords a well stocked freezer!). Fast forward to late this week and I finally got my groove back — I was happy to be the kitchen again and feeling inspired! I used this past week as an opportunity to slow down and really focus on what I’m putting in my body to help it heal. I perfected my Roasted Purple Cauliflower with Red Pepper Romesco yesterday and I’m happy to report that it’s completely Wild Rose D-Tox friendly — I can’t wait to share it with you!
ROASTED PURPLE CAULIFLOWER WITH RED PEPPER ROMESCO (WILD ROSE D-TOX FRIENDLY!)
First, can we all take a minute to appreciate the beauty of purple cauliflower? It’s like Mother Nature decided to show off one day.
I stumbled on purple cauliflower (I’ve had a bit of a thing for purple lately!) rather serendipitously, just like I do all the ingredients that typically inspire my recipe content. I was browsing the aisles for cauliflower in an attempt to recreate one of my favourite dishes from Barcelona Tavern (if you’re local, go try their Roasted Cauliflower with Garlic Confit and and Marcona Almond Romesco… it’s to die for!). Does anyone else do that? It’s actually something I do quite often — I think it’s a fun challenge to rely on your palette to guide you in recreations. On this culinary adventure I encountered 3 things that were totally new to me along the way — roasting whole cauliflower, purple cauliflower and romesco sauce (hence, 4 rounds of recipe testing!). In doing a bit of research, I discovered that purple cauliflower gets its signature shade, ranging from lilac to royal purple, from an extra dose of anthocyanin — an antioxidant also present in red wine (now that I’m doing this detox I have to make up for all those lost antioxidants somehow!).
I became a bit obsessed with the delicious combo of roasted cauliflower and romesco and found it popping up on quite a few menus this year, including the menu at Belgard Kitchen, which I visited during my recent trip to Vancouver. So, I set out to make it at home and am so pleased with the way it came out. I’m fully embracing 2017’s cauliflower craze over here in the JustineCelina kitchen! My delicious Roasted Purple Cauliflower is a breeze to whip up, packed full of vitamins, minerals and fibre — a great lighter entree option for spring. If you’ve never tried roasting a whole cauliflower before, I’ve got you covered — it’s easy, I promise!
There are so many reasons why I love this recipe, but let me summarize:
• It’s extremely colourful (you know I love to eat the rainbow!)
• It’s inexpensive (purple cauliflower is just $2.98 a head, while regular cauliflower was $5.98)
• It’s ultra clean and nourishing with a gourmet flair
• It’s simultaneously light yet hearty
• It’s a simple recipe with minimal ingredients that packs a big wow factor
• It will be on your table in less than an hour
• It’s completely Wild Rose D-Tox friendly
In developing this recipe, I seriously debated pouring the Red Pepper Romesco directly into my mouth, straight from the Vitamix, rather scooping it out of by the spoonful to taste test (errr… eat half a cup). My girlfriends are foodies and work in the food industry, so I always use our girl dinners (a long standing tradition since our college days) as opportunities to recipe test. My friend (who shall remain nameless) ate this Red Pepper Romesco straight from the serving platter with her spoon after she was finished with her plate. Haha! If that’s not a glowing review, I don’t know what is. Trust me when I say, this recipe is absolutely delish!
Speaking of Vitamix — first of all, how many times have you heard me talk about my Vitamix here at JustineCelina? I count 22! I invested in my first Vitamix back in November of 2013 (whoa!) I’m sure by now you can grasp what an indispensable tool it is for me. It’s expensive, yes, but it’s by far the best high powered blender on the market. I use it every single day and would find life extremely difficult without it! So naturally, I was thrilled when Vitamix asked if I’d be interested in taking their new Ascent Series A2300 for a spin (this isn’t a sponsored post — I’m simply sharing my love for this beautiful blender!). If you’ve been following my Insta Stories lately you may have caught the unboxing of the Ascent and a glimpse of my trusty old Vitamix — it’s definitely seen better days and I’ve completely beaten it up over the years (the plastic container is discoloured from that time I tried to blend up whole cloves — which worked, by the way!). I also own a food processor but never use it — I truly use my Vitamix for everything. Even through all the crazy things I’ve used it for (I’ve definitely burnt the motor out more than a handful of times!) it’s never failed me!
Since my Red Pepper Romesco calls for a healthy serving of almonds, I thought this recipe would be the perfect way to test drive the new Ascent Series A2300. Compared to my older model, it felt like I was driving a Porche! Here are a few things I noticed immediately: the plastic container and an lid are much stronger and seem more durable (although I still wouldn’t recommend grinding your own spices!), the wider base makes it easier to clean (I’m always scraping the last bits of whatever I whipped up with a spatula around the blade of the container), the pulse switch is perfect for tasks like chopping nuts or herbs quickly and the digital timer is really handy. I also love that the Ascent Series is compatible with different sized containers (which I didn’t have for this post but plan to purchase in the future) so when you’re making something like a salad dressing or sauce as I often am, you no longer have to use a the 64 oz. one size fits all option (pictured here). Just as I expected, the Ascent A2300 was no match for my Red Pepper Romesco — just 10 seconds at medium speed created the perfect texture. It’s a beautiful upgrade!
If you’ve never tried romesco, it’s a bit similar to a pesto — just with a tomato and almond base. Most traditional romesco recipes call for parsley, but cilantro is one of my favourite herbs and I think it works perfectly here. My Red Pepper Romesco packs a rich, roasted flavour profile, tons of protein, a gentle heat and a decadent, mousy texture. If you’re one of the many people who thinks cilantro tastes like soap (did you know that’s actually a genetic trait?), feel free to substitute parsley for cilantro (I prefer Italian parsley!). I was very generous with the romesco to cauliflower ratio here, but if you have leftovers it’s a versatile sauce that will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a week. It was traditionally enjoyed with fish in northeastern Spain and I can confirm it’s also delicious with white fish (or, eaten straight from the Vitamix / serving platter with a spoon — hey, I’m not here to judge!).
If you’re not doing the Wild Rose D-Tox and looking for a wine pairing idea, a crisp Sauvignon Blanc makes this dish sing and helps to help cut the richness of the Red Pepper Romesco. If you are doing the D-Tox, an ice cold glass of lemon water is equally as refreshing and complimentary (but to be honest it’s Day 6 and I’m really missing my wine at the moment)!
Yield: 2 servings (1 head of cauliflower typically serves 2)
ROASTED PURPLE CAULIFLOWER
• 1 head of purple (or white, or orange!) cauliflower
Note: look for cauliflower around 6″ in diameter — if they’re larger, they’ll have to roast longer
• 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 1 lemon + 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
• 1/4 tsp Himalayan pink sea salt
• 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
• 1/4 tsp garlic powder
RED PEPPER ROMESCO SAUCE
• 2 red peppers
• 2 garlic gloves
• 1/2 cup whole almonds (if you can find Marcona almonds, excellent)
• 1/2 cup whole canned tomatoes
• 2 tbsp tomato paste
• 1/2 tsp crushed chillis
• 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
• 2 tbsp fresh cilantro
• 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
• Juice from 1 lemon
• 3/4 tsp Himalayan pink sea salt (or season to taste)
• Fresh cilantro
• Chopped roasted almonds
1. Begin by preheating your oven to 400°C. In the meantime, grease 2 baking sheets with extra virgin olive oil.
2. Prepare the Roasted Purple Cauliflower. Start by peeling away the outer foliage to reveal the cauliflower head. Wash the cauliflower thoroughly and trim off the excess stem from the base, leaving enough to keep the arms of the cauliflower fully in tact. Slice the lemon and make a ‘bed’ with the slices for the cauliflower to rest on (this will help steam the flesh from the inside out). Prepare the marinade by combining olive oil, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Spoon the marinade over the cauliflower, distributing evenly (don’t be afraid to get in there with your hands and massage it in — cauliflowers are like sponges!). Once the cauliflower is prepared, place it stem down on your lemon slice bed. Make a foil tent over the cauliflower, extending the sides down as closely to the baking sheet as possible.
3. Once the oven is preheated, pop your cauliflower in to roast for 20 minutes (set a timer!).
4. In the meantime, we’re going to prepare a few Red Pepper Romesco ingredients for roasting on the second baking sheet. Chop red peppers into strips, remove skin from garlic cloves and add to the baking sheet, along with the almonds. Season liberally with olive oil and salt and pepper, then pop into the oven on a lower rack to roast alongside the cauliflower.
5. Once 20 minutes has passed, remove the foil tent from the cauliflower and stir the roasting pepper / almond mixture. Return both pans to the oven to roast uncovered for an additional 20 minutes, cooking for 40 minutes total (or until tender and nicely roasted).
6. In the meantime, prepare the rest of the ingredients for the Red Pepper Romesco. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine canned tomatoes, tomato paste, crushed chilis smoked paprika. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
7. Once the cauliflower and red pepper mixture has finished cooking, remove both pans from the oven and set aside to cool for 5 minutes.
8. Add the tomato mixture from your small saucepan, the contents from red pepper pan (save 10 almonds, we’re going to use them as garnish!) plus olive oil, cilantro and lemon juice to your Vitamix (or similar). Blend at medium speed for approximately 10 seconds (until the texture is mousy but small nut pieces remain.) Taste and add salt as necessary (3/4 tsp was perfect for me). Adjust seasoning as needed.
9. Plate the Roasted Purple Cauliflower on a bed of cilantro (or parsley). Chop 10 roasted almonds and additional herbs for garnish.
10. To serve, slice the Roasted Purple Cauliflower down the centre. Place a generous serving of Red Pepper Romesco onto the middle of each plate and push it outward, working in circular motions (like you’re spreading sauce on a pizza!). Plate the Roasted Purple Cauliflower on top of the Red Pepper Romesco bed, garnish with roasted almonds and / or herbs. Enjoy!
STILL HUNGRY? MORE PLANT BASED ENTRÉES
SHOP THE POST
Thanks for hanging out in my kitchen today! What do you think of the cauliflower craze? It’s such a versatile ingredient and I’m eager to continue working with it (I’m currently dreaming up a summer soup / gazpacho!).
I always love to hear from you — if you try my Roasted Purple Cauliflower with Red Pepper Romesco, please let me know how you liked it by leaving me a comment below, or tagging me on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. You can use the hashtag #justinecelinarecipes in your recreations so I can find them — it’s so much fun seeing what you guys make! I also have a Pinterest board for my recipes if you care to follow along. Have a fantastic weekend, everyone!
This recipe was featured in Purewow’s ‘Purple Cauliflower Is a Thing (and Here Are 11 Gorgeous Recipes You Can Make with It)‘ roundup.
Disclaimer: Thank you to Vitamix for sending the new Ascent Series A2300 over for review. This post is not sponsored, and contains my genuine thoughts, ideas and recommendations. JustineCelina uses affiliate and referral links, which allow me to receive a small commission when you make a purchase through one of my links. Thank you for supporting the brands and businesses that support JustineCelina!