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Pan-Roasted Cauliflower

One of the best things, for me, about a Whole30 is the lack of dairy.   Don’t get me wrong, I love the stuff – cream, cheese, milk, yogurt – but I’m afraid it doesn’t love me.

There are ways to get around that, of course; coconut and almond milk make decent substitutes for cream and milk, and you can culture coconut milk into yogurt, something I’ve yet to try (but fully intend to eventually).  Vegans have been making cheese-like foods out of raw cashews for a long time (something else I want to try), and then there’s nutritional yeast.

Nutritional yeast is a deactivated, or inert, yeast, so it won’t make bread rise.  It’s yellow in color, has a rather nutty, cheese-like taste and since it’s fungus-based, rather than animal-based, it is quite popular with vegans.  (Note:  nutritional yeast is purported to be a source of vitamin B12, but that’s only true it is fortified.  Any B12 found in plant foods are really B12 analogues, which are not bioavailable to the human body.)  At any rate, there’s certainly nothing wrong with it, and the Whole30 folks give it a pass, as long as you don’t use it to make vegan cheese.

So please take note:  I did not use it to make cheese.  I used it to replace the Parmesan cheese in this recipe I adapted from 101 Cookbooks.

And it was delicious.

We’re beginning to get cauliflower from our CSA and this recipe is a great use of it, especially if you’re tired of the whole mashed fauxtato routine.  The original recipe says to make sure the florets are all cut to a uniform size about the size of a grape, and that’s important so the cauliflower all cooks at the same rate.  However, I found that it took  longer than the stated 6 minutes for it to cook – it will take at least 10 minutes, if not 12, but it’s still an absurdly quick and easy – to say nothing of really, really tasty – side dish.  Beloved wolfed this down, and ate the leftovers as well.

Note:  As for the finishing salt, I used fleur de sel, a hand-harvested sea salt collected by workers who scrape only the top layer of salt before it sinks to the bottom of large salt pans.  It’s not cheap, but a little goes a long way and it lasts a long time.

Pan-Roasted Cauliflower. The humble cauliflower gets a boost with the the fresh and lively flavors of lemon and chives.

 Click the image to enlarge

Pan-Roasted Cauliflower
Serves: 4
  • 1 large cauliflower, cut into very small florets
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher sea salt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 small bunch of chives, chopped
  • zest of one lemon
  • 2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
  • a pinch or two of finishing salt (fleur de sel)
  1. Heat the olive oil and salt in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cauliflower and toss until the florets
  2. are coated. As the cauliflower browns, stir with a spatula; continue to saute until the pieces turn golden and become fork tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for one minute more.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the chives, lemon zest, and nutritional yeast. Sprinkle with the finishing salt and serve immediately.
  4. Nutrition (per serving): 114 calories, 7.4g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 180.9mg sodium, 637.8mg potassium, 11g carbohydrates, 4.4g fiber, 4.1g sugar, 4.2g protein

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