Tag Archives: Broccoflower

A Recipe for Cauliflower Soup with Tahini & Toasted Pine Nuts + Ten More Cauliflower Recipes

cauli color onecup threeMy dad gave me a copy of the cookbook Jerusalem for Christmas. Now I want to go to Jerusalem. Okay, so that’s not happening any time soon. Anyway, the ingredients and recipes that arise out of such a fascinating mix of cultures are alluring. I’m at least going to buy a jar of za’atar spice mix and a bottle of pomegranate molasses, neither of which I’ve had in my pantry in years. (And I learned that fresh za’atar is actually hyssop, which technically, we could grow and dry here).

Coincidentally, I’ve had 2014’s vegetable darling, cauliflower, on the brain. (For some reason, the endless lists generated by the food trend police all seem to mention cauliflower, as if it hadn’t had a full and happy life before now.) For me, I just naturally think of cauliflower in winter, when it’s snowy and 8 degrees outside. I guess it’s the winter white thing. Hence, I can gladly offer you a collection of cauliflower recipes I’ve put forth in winters past (see links below).

But yesterday, I decided to make a slightly Jerusalem-esque cauliflower soup, since it occurred to me that if a touch of tahini and a smattering of pine nuts are good with a cauliflower sauté or salad, they might be nice with a creamy (“creamy,” though no cream—only yogurt) soup. (And, I do still have a can of tahini and a bag of pine nuts in my larder!)

Once again, the winter darkness conspired against me to shoot a decent photo in natural light, but you’ll have to trust me on this one. The soup is lovely—comforting and pleasing enough for most to enjoy (even Roy). I had it for dinner with an avocado and arugula salad. Yum.

Quick farm report: Chickens are hanging in there. Feral cat has baby kitten housed in former pig pen. Roy is leaving food for them. Farmer wants to adopt kitten. Will keep you posted. Let’s all hope for warmer weather. Mice are in hiding.

DSC_4370_1Oh, and here are the links, in addition to the soup below, for my other delicious cauliflower (and broccoflower—or green cauliflower—which I like even better!) recipes:

Broccoflower and Cremini Mushrooms with Garlic and Rosemary
Honeyed Cauliflower with Toasted Almonds
Roasted Cauliflower, Potato, Mushroom & Green Bean Gratin
Roasted Cauliflower with Double Lemon Ginger Dressing and a Spritz of Arugula
Lemony Green Cauliflower with Scallions and Parmigiano
Roasted Cauliflower with Garlic-Lime Cilantro Butter
Teeny Veggie Stir Fry with Thai Sauce
Broccoflower, Carrot & Leek Ragout with Thyme, Orange & Tapenade
Quick-Roasted Cauliflower with Zesty Orange-Olive Dressing
Roasted Cauliflower, Cremini, Gruyere and Rosemary Gratin



cauli fiveCauliflower Soup with a Touch of Tahini & Toasted Pine Nuts

I added a teaspoon each of ground cumin and ground coriander to this soup, but you could replace a little of the cumin with ground ginger or go with just garam masala. You could also add some heat anyway you like. Instead of the yogurt and lemon juice, you could finish this with coconut milk and lime juice.

Serves 4 to 6

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large head cauliflower (about 2 ½ pounds), cored, trimmed, and very roughly cut into large florets or pieces (about 8 cups or 1 ½ pounds)
Kosher salt
1 generous tablespoon finely chopped fresh garlic
1 generous tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
1 scant teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 cups water
3 tablespoons Tahini (well-mixed first)
¼ cup thick plain Greek yogurt (I use nonfat)
1 to 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts

In a large (6-quart) Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of the butter and the olive oil over medium heat. Add the cauliflower pieces and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring only occasionally (to let browning happen), until all the cauliflower pieces have got some bits of golden browning on all sides (they’ll be less stiff, too), about 12 to 14 minutes.

Add the remaining tablespoon of butter, the fresh garlic and ginger, and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the cumin and coriander and stir well. Add the chicken broth and the water and stir well to scrape up the browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Bring to a simmer, cover loosely, and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, get out your blender and a dish towel and set a large heat-proof bowl by the blender. Put 1/3 of the soup plus 1 tablespoon tahini in the blender. (For safety reasons, you don’t want to fill the blender too much.) Cover the lid with a dishtowel to prevent splattering, but keep a small vent hole open. Puree until smooth. Transfer to bowl. Repeat with two more bathes of soup, adding 1 tablespoon of tahini to each batch as you puree, and transferring each batch to the bowl.

Rinse the Dutch oven and add the pureed soup back to it. Put the pot over medium-low heat and whisk in the yogurt and 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Let the soup get a bit warm, then taste it for salt and lemon, adding more of either if necessary. Continue to heat, stirring frequently, until hot enough to serve.

Spoon the soup into bowls and garnish with a generous amount of toasted pine nuts (I like a lot in order to have crunch in every spoonful!)


Note: In an effort to streamline this recipe, I didn’t even start with sautéing onions (probably a first for me), nor did I roast the cauliflower first, which I really wanted to do. Instead I browned the cauliflower in the Dutch oven, added the fresh aromatics and spices, covered, and simmered. If you did want the added flavor that roasted cauliflower would bring, you could do that (and sauté some onions while the cauliflower cooks), but you will probably want to go with a little less liquid (maybe 5 1/2 cups instead of 7), since the cauliflower will be a smaller volume.

The Last Onion and The Teeny Tiny Stir-Fry

Roy, Farmer, and I spent an exhausting day off-Island  yesterday, driving around in the truck to assorted malls, stores, and appointments, loading up with supplies for various building projects, for the garden, and for life in general. By last night, coming back on the 6:15 boat, the three of us felt like we’d moved into the cab of the Ford, with Farmer’s kibble and water bowls on the floor, our empty coffee cups strewn all around, and the usual collection of reading material I can’t go anywhere without (several magazines, a few books, and a newspaper) covering every surface. One day off-Island was enough for us. We were ever so glad to get home.

Quick dinner thoughts raced through my head as I stumbled into the barn to grab an  onion. In the dark my fingers fumbled around in the wooden crate, feeling for something hefty and round but only coming up with papery skins at first. Finally my hand settled on a little onion—the last one of our own, ordered from Dixondale Farms last February, planted last May, harvested last September, cured and stored all winter long. I am pleased we got all the way to February with our own onions, but I’m sad that it will be September before we see one again. Actually, maybe it will be sooner as I intend to overplant this year and harvest some bulbs as spring onions.

Onions (actually all of the lovely allium family, including leeks, scallions, chives and garlic) have been popping up on my radar a lot lately. Yesterday I leafed through a new issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine and my eyes fell on the most stunning photographs of alliums, courtesy of a feature called The Early Onion. Then I happened to watch a video on growing onions over at Vegetablegardener.com.  I  just placed my onion order for the garden, too. This year I’m going to grow a good storage onion called Copra, in addition to the gorgeous Ailsa Craig and Big Daddy onions I grew last year.

As much as I love to start vegetable dishes with some kind of allium (the promise of deep flavor), I knew I needed something more than my one little onion to get veggies on the table last night. So I did a fast fridge fly-through, retrieved a bit of broccoflower, some mushrooms, a carrot, and a bell pepper and focused on a technique I used for a a yummy veggie fried rice coming in The Fresh & Green Table. I diced all the veggies (including the onion) into very small pieces (no fussing here—exact dice are not necessary!) and heated a couple tablespoons of oil in my favorite (non-stick) stir-fry pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil was hot, I added the veggies, cranked up the heat to high, and started stirring. After about 3 minutes, I added a little chopped ginger and garlic, continued cooking for about 30 seconds, and brought the pan off the heat. The veggies were done!

This sounds like a no-brainer quick stir-fry, but there are two important things at work here. First, normally you wouldn’t throw onions and peppers into the pan at the same time as dense veggies like carrots and broccoflower. If all the veggies were cut into larger pieces, the softer veggies would be burned by the time the denser veggies softened up. But by cutting everything very small (and you can use most any vegetable except for the very densest) and turning the heat to high (after the veggies go in the pan—nonstick should not be heated beyond medium-high when empty), the cooking happens really fast. There’s an explosion of moisture as the veggies tumble around the pan, and that translates to steam to help tenderize the denser veggies a bit and to keep the softer ones from burning. You need to watch closely though, as somewhere between three and four minutes the steam transitions to smoke when excess moisture is used up. But by then the veggies are nicely browned and crisp-tender—perfectly delicious.

You can eat the veggies as is (plenty tasty) or you can add a little finishing sauce like the Thai-flavored one I’ve suggested below. Chopped fresh herbs are optional, too, depending on just how much of a rush you’re in. Without the sauce or herbs, you can be done, start to finish, in less than 15 minutes. Starting with three cups of veggies yields plenty for a side-dish for two, but you can up the amount a bit, stretch the cooking time a touch, and make a bit more for three or four.

Teeny Veggie Stir-Fry with Optional Sauce

For a printable version of this recipe, click here.

Serve these with rice and a flat-omelet egg for a vegetarian supper.


For the sauce:

1 tablespoon Thai fish sauce

1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar

1/4 teaspoons Asian chili-garlic sauce

For the stir-fry:

2 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil

3 cups veggies, cut into small (3/8- to1/2-inch) pieces (Choose as many as you like, but at least four of the following for a total of 3 cups: bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, green beans, bok choy, snow peas, sugar snap peas, or carrots)

kosher salt

1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic

1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger

2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions

1 to 2 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro or mint (optional)


For the (optional) sauce:

In a small bowl, mix together the fish sauce, lime juice, 2 teaspoons water, brown sugar, and chili-garlic sauce.

For the stir-fry:

In a large (12-inch) nonstick stir-fry pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot (it will loosen up), add the 3 cups veggies and 3/4 teaspoon salt, turn the heat to high, and cook, stirring, until the veggies are crisp-tender, slightly shrunken, and lightly browned, about 3 minutes (4 at the most). Add the garlic, the ginger, and the scallions. Stir-fry briefly, just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat and carefully pour in the sauce mixture (if using). Stir until the sauce thickens and reduces slightly. Fold in herbs if using and serve right away.

Serves 2

Try Broccoflower in a Versatile Dutch-Oven Ragoût

If it’s January, I must be cooking Broccoflower. I picked some up at the grocery the other day because, frankly, our vegetable larder of turnips, rutabagas, kale, and beets is starting to freak me out. Plus, I can never resist the lime-green color of Broccoflower, and I love its nutty flavor when browned, too. (Also, since we live in a small town and I shop at the same small grocery store every day after my post-office run, I’m beginning to worry that people might think we have a really unhealthy diet, since I rarely buy vegetables at the store any more. Checking out with Roy’s donuts, some Lucky Charms for Libby, and maybe some chocolate chips for me makes me a little self-conscious! Hence the need for the occasional head of Broccoflower.)

I’ve sautéed, roasted, stir-fried and quick-braised Broccoflower, but it’s very cold here today and I thought a ragoût would be satisfying. (When I say it’s cold today, I mean it’s calling-all-mice-inside cold. This morning a mouse was in the compost bowl in the pantry. He’d fallen in, obviously in search of yumminess, but since there was little more than coffee grinds and egg shells to feast on—anything green is going to the chickens or Cocoa Bunny right now—he’d tried to scamper back up the sides of the aluminum bowl. No luck. Roy switched on the light about 6:30 and left the little mouse to do a roller derby around the bowl until I got up. I put him back outside (tipping the bowl to let him escape), where he will most likely find his way straight back inside the house tonight. I feel a little bit like Fred Flintstone putting Dino outside the back door. Oh, well. At least Libby is not here to insist on a warm bed for Mousey.)

Anyway, since it was a ragoût day, I used the broccoflower in one of my Dutch-oven ragouts with some carrots, leeks, and baby kale (recipe follows). My “ragoûts” are not particularly saucy and they’re not heavy. They’re more like delightful “mélanges” of colorful veggies, finished with some bright flavors and a bit of butter to bring everything together. I use a Dutch oven to create some extra moisture, which, along with the browned bits on the bottom of the pan, contributes to the final flavor of the dish. Sautéing the hearty veggies in the Dutch oven means they steam and brown at the same time. I’ve used fingerling potatoes, Brussels Sprouts, baby artichokes, cauliflower and carrots successfully in these ragoûts, always adding an allium like onions, leeks, shallots or garlic, and something lighter and greener at the end for contrast, like peas or baby greens. So improvise as you please, using zest, vinegars, herbs and aromatics, and get ready for a satisfying veggie dish that can easily become a main course if served with a grain or over polenta. (The version below uses a small Dutch oven and yields just about enough for two small main dish portions or three sides. I was short on some ingredients or would have made a bigger batch, which you can easily do in a larger Dutch-oven.) And oh, by the way, this is top secret, but there are more of these ragout recipes coming in my new book, The Fresh & Green Table, later this year. But more on that topic soon!

Broccoflower, Carrot & Leek Ragout with Thyme, Orange & Tapenade

For a printable version of this recipe, click here.

If you want to double this recipe, use a larger Dutch oven (like a 6 or 7 quart). The little bit of tapenade here pairs deliciously with the Broccoflower but if you are not an olive person, feel free to mess around with the finishing sauce. (Use a dash of balsamic, soy or Worcestershire with the orange juice.) Whatever you do, be sure your cooking pot has a lid—you’ll need it to trap moisture to help cook the veggies. You can substitute cauliflower for the broccoflower, but it will take a bit longer to cook and may need a little more butter for moisture.


2 teaspoons orange juice

1/2 teaspoon olive tapenade

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest

2 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 tablespoon cut into 4 pieces and kept chilled in the refrigerator)

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more if needed

1/2 pound carrots (or up to 10 ounces), peeled and cut into sticks 1 1/2 to 2 inches long and about 3/8 to 1/2-inch wide and thick

kosher salt

1/2 pound 1-inch Broccoflower florets, each cut in half to have one flat side

1 small leek, thinly sliced and washed (about 2/3 cup)

1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic

handful baby kale leaves or other tender greens

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme


In a small bowl, combine the orange juice, tapenade, lemon zest, and 1 tablespoon water.

In a small (4-quart) Dutch oven or other deep, wide pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the butter and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the carrots and 1/2 tsp. salt. Cover and cook, stirring frequently but gently (a silicone spoonula works well), until the carrots are lightly browned and just tender (test with a paring knife), about 12 to 14 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the carrots to a plate.

Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pan. When the oil is hot, add the Broccoflower and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir, cover, and cook, stirring frequently and gently, until all the florets are browned and mostly tender, about 6 to 8 minutes. (Don’t worry if the broccoflower absorbs all the fat at first—it will give off moisture as it continues to cook. Return the lid quickly after each stir.) With a slotted spoon, transfer the broccoflower to the plate with the carrots.

Turn the heat to low, add 1 more tablespoon of olive oil, and add the leeks and a pinch of salt. Cover and cook, stirring frequently, until the leeks are just softened and a bit browned, about 4 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic, stir, and cook until softened, about 30 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat or turn the heat off under the pan and immediately return the carrots and Broccoflower to the pan. Add the kale leaves and thyme and pour in the reserved orange juice mixture. Stir immediately, add the cold butter pieces, and continue stirring gently until the butter melts (just a few seconds). Transfer to a serving bowl and serve immediately.

Serves 2 to 3

Green Cauliflower & Red Watercress–The Lure of Colorful Veggies on a Dark & Drizzly Winter Day

I’ve always been a sucker for colorful vegetables. But hand me another dark, drizzly day, and you’ll find me going gaga at the grocery store for anything chartreuse…or fuchsia…or sunset orange. I need the color to stimulate my senses. The other day I saw a cool display of red watercress—something I’ve never seen before—and lurched towards it without even thinking. I brought it home and promptly mixed it with some pale lemony baby bibb (above right) for a delicious and pretty salad. That worked out pretty well.

But sometimes I get myself in trouble. Take this whole green cauliflower thing (above left). I love this stuff, which I happen to call Broccoflower®. Because that’s what it’s labeled at my grocery store. I included a side dish recipe for it in Fast, Fresh & Green, and developed a pasta recipe with it for my next book. The problem came when I asked my cross-testers, Jessica and Eliza, to go find Broccoflower® in their grocery stores. Initially they both said they couldn’t find it. But both had the presence of mind to call me from the grocery store and describe what they did see. So after cell-phone exchanges and emailed photos, we determined that what both of them found was a very similar vegetable labeled “green cauliflower.”

It turns out that Broccoflower®  is a registered trademark of Tanimura & Antle, a produce company that brought the variety (a cauliflower with some broccoli genes) over from Holland more than 20 years ago. Tanimura & Antle also has an orange cauliflower they call “Fiestaflower.” Meanwhile, another big produce company, Andy Boy, has begun marketing green cauliflower, orange cauliflower, and purple cauliflower in the last few years under those basic names. (All of these are purported to have the antioxidants you’d expect would pair with those colors.) As far as I can tell, Broccoflower® and green cauliflower are virtually the same thing. Whew. I was getting a little worried that I’d have to take the new recipe out of the book.

It’s not just the color of green cauliflower (aka Broccoflower®) that I love. To my palate, it tastes a bit less cabbagey and a tad sweeter than white cauliflower. And when you cut it, the stems are a bit firmer—more broccoli-esque. And in general, I think it holds up better in cooking. Its florets are firmer than those of cauliflower, which can get a bit crumbly.

Green cauliflower caramelizes beautifully in the sauté pan or roasting pan, so if you find some, crank up the heat. Then treat it to lemon, garlic (or another allium like scallions or leeks), and Parmigiano—three flavors it loves. (I’ve included a sample side dish recipe, below.) Serve it with roast pork or chicken, or turn it into a pasta sauce with a little chicken broth or pasta-cooking water and more olive oil or butter. It’s pretty darn tasty, which shouldn’t be surprising—I find the most colorful veggies taste the best, too.

Lemony Green Cauliflower with Scallions & Parmigiano

For this recipe, cut the florets on the small side—no more than about 1 1/2 inches long. It also helps browning if you cut whole florets in half—that cut side will have maximum contact with the hot pan and get very caramelized (see photo). Feel free to adjust the amount of lemon (or add a bit of lemon zest) here. And if you want a slightly saucier dish, deglaze the pan (to scrape up the flavorful browned bits) by pouring a bit  more chicken broth, water, or wine (diluted) in at the end. You can also enhance the sauce with a bit more cold butter.


2 tablespoons low-sodium chicken broth or water

3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

12 ounces (3/4 pound) green cauliflower florets (a little less than one small head, cut into small florets)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 cup sliced scallions  (white and light green parts only) plus 1 tablespoon sliced green tops for garnish

2 tablespoons coarsely grated Parmigiano Reggiano  (I use a food processor to chop coarsely)


Combine the chicken broth or water with 2 teaspoons of the lemon juice and put it near your stove. In a 10-inch (3-quart) straight-sided stainless steel sauté pan, heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the green cauliflower florets and the salt and toss and stir well. (A silicone spoonula works well for this.) Cover the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until all the florets are browned in places, about 6 to 7 minutes. (There will be moisture accumulating inside the lid and it will drip down to deglaze the pan a little bit. But don’t worry if the pan is getting brown.)

Uncover, carefully pour in the chicken broth or water and lemon mixture, and immediately put the lid back on (beware of steam). Cook until most of the liquid has steamed off or been absorbed, about 30 seconds. Uncover, turn the heat to low, and add the remaining tablespoon of butter, the remaining teaspoon of lemon juice, and the scallions. Cook, stirring gently, until the butter has melted and the scallions have softened, 1 to 2 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and transfer all the green cauliflower and scallions to a serving dish or dishes. Sprinkle with the Parmigiano and the scallion tops and serve.

Serves 3