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Sesame Roasted Cauliflower with Nori

January 27, 2012

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This recipe is embarrassingly simple. It’s so simple, I wasn’t sure if I should even teach it in a class, let alone dedicate a whole post to it. But when I mentioned this to my students this month, they gasped. “We want easy! We want easier than easy! Life is already hard enough. Please give us simple cauliflower!” Ok, they didn’t exactly use those words, but they might as well have. If there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that busy people like me can never have enough easy, healthful and delicious recipes to fall back on. So here ya go.

 

I’ve mentioned before that roasting is my favorite way to prepare cauliflower. There’s this crazy sweetness locked up inside those little florets that you might never know about unless you roasted them until they’re tender and caramelized. But tossing cauliflower (or any vegetable, for that matter) with olive oil or melted coconut oil and salt and pepper over and over again can get a little boring. So I’m mixing it up a little here by using both olive oil and toasted sesame oil for a totally new flavor. Keep in mind that toasted sesame oil is the dark kind, the one that is aromatic and fragrant and gives you a lot of flavor for a very little amount. Beside the oils, salt and pepper, I also sprinkle some raw sesame seeds on the cauliflower before roasting for fun and a little extra calcium. Normally I just use the tan ones, but I found some black sesame seeds in the bulk section at Whole Foods and decided to go for it. Who says I can’t be edgy?

But my favorite part of this dish is the final garnish, which is optional, but delish. Nori is a type of seaweed that is familiar to many people from sushi rolls or those very popular seaweed snacks. Seaweed, or sea vegetables as they are sometimes called, is something I’d really like to be eating more of as it is incredibly nutrient-dense and tasty. In fact, sea vegetables contain twenty times the mineral content of land vegetables. They are loaded with calcium, iron, dietary fiber and contain some protein to boot. Sea vegetables also contain some vitamin B12, which is very unusual to find in plant foods, so it’s a great source for vegans. If your family eats sushi or seaweed snacks, this recipe is a good opportunity for you to add this nutritious ingredient in another way. If you don’t think they’ll go for the plain, roasted nori crumbled on top of the cauliflower, then just open a package of their favorite seaweed snacks and use that instead. The next time you will likely be able to use plain nori.

One thing I’ve learned from all my years as a nutrition and garden educator for Growing Great is that parents often assume their kids won’t eat something and don’t even try. I have seen dozens of children eat salads and fresh vegetables only to find out from their parents “Oh, Johnny drives me crazy. He won’t eat anything green.” Well, have I got a surprise for you! I think the biggest mistake we can make is not consistently offering a variety of healthful foods at the dinner table. If the kids (or significant others) don’t eat them today, relax. One day they’ll come around. I have a former Miss Picky to prove it who once considered cauliflower her “enemy.” Yesterday she fought me for the last floret in the bowl.

 

sesame roasted cauliflower with nori

adapted from “Peak Cuisine: ¬†Adventures in Mountain Inspired Cooking”

serves 4-6

1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets

2 Tablespoons unrefined olive oil

1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil

2 Tablespoons sesame seeds

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 piece of roasted nori, crumbled or cut into small pieces with a scissor

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place the cauliflower florets in a serving bowl. Add both oils and to the cauliflower and toss to coat. Transfer cauliflower to the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with sesame seeds, sea salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Roast in oven for 30 minutes or until tender and lightly golden. Transfer to serving bowl and garnish with crumbled nori.
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20 Responses to “Sesame Roasted Cauliflower with Nori”

  1. Pia says:

    Looks yummy but my 5 year old son doesnt like his veggies roasted… is there another method I could do and still have it taste just as good.(almost)
    thank you

    • Pamela says:

      Do you mean he only likes them raw or will he eat them steamed or sauteed, but just not roasted? Truthfully, roasting cauliflower makes it so sweet. It really tastes so different from any other cooking method. But, what you could do is steam the cauliflower and then saute it with the oils in the recipe and sprinkle with sesame seeds and nori after. Let me know if you try that!

  2. Elizabeth says:

    This was a huge hit!! My 2 year old kept asking for more. My husband was worried she was going to explode. Very easy to make and quick which makes it a good dish to make during the week.

  3. Andy says:

    I used kale in place of cauliflower, and YUM! My 2 year old son ate the whole bunch!

  4. Andy says:

    I substituted kale for cauliflower, and YUM. My 2 year old son ate an entire bunch when I made it last week!

  5. Peir Serota says:

    I just knew you would love Tara’s cookbook – it is filled with such yummy, healthful recipes… And I LOVE your clever addition of Nori to the cauliflower dish! So simple yet brilliant as always! Thanks to you and my kids obsession with sea weed, It is quickly becoming a regular on our dinner table! I have been also doing this same recipe with broccoli and the kids just devour it! Thanks for all the delicious and inventive new ideas! :)

    • Pamela says:

      Yes, thank you Peir! Love the book. And many people have asked me if the recipe would work well with broccoli. I assumed it would, but I hadn’t tried it. Thanks for letting me know it was a success!

  6. Hi, Pam,

    This reminds me so much of my Sesame-Soy Roasted Cauliflower recipe that I posted last December! Great idea to add nori. I’m glad you like my recipes. Would appreciate if you would share the sources of your inspiration, as we bloggers should always try to do.

    Thanks!

    Dana

    • Pamela says:

      Welcome, Dana! Thanks for your message. You’re right that our recipes are similar. But I’ve been making this cauliflower for two years since my friend gave me a lovely book called “Peak Cuisine” by Tara Sylvestre. Her recipe was my inspiration for this dish, but her book is not sold on amazon or elsewhere, so I couldn’t link to it. But I just spoke with my friend who told me about this link to Tara’s book : http://www.peakcuisine.com/ I was very careful to refer to the book in my classes when I taught the recipe, but you are absolutely correct that bloggers should always note the source of their inspiration, so I have made the notation. Thank you for keeping this newbie on her toes!

      Best, Pamela

      ps your recipes look wonderful! I will be sure to give them a try!

  7. Jenny says:

    This is great. So easy too. I make extra for leftovers. They are great in an omelette the next day. Also, it was great in a vegtable salad I made – with lots of carrots, zuchini, cucumbers, corn and tomatoes with just a bit of lettuce. So nice. thank you Pamela.

  8. Barbara Eskowitz says:

    What a delicious recipe. Loved it!

  9. Jackie Marvin says:

    Enjoyed your nutrition tips and look forward to trying the recipe. Not sure where to buy the nori—health food store? I don’t have a Whole Foods near me.

  10. Tina Brutsch says:

    I had this in class too and made it that night. It was a hit. My guests were impressed with the black sesame seeds and nori,; made it look and taste special. Thank you, Pamel

  11. Jackie says:

    Had this in class the other day and it is delish! Can’t wait to spring it on the kids…

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