A co-worker of mine was struggling to come up with a vegetarian, gluten-free dinner for her book club the following night. I immediately perked up, my eager facial expression saying, “Ooh, I can help! Please let me help!”
There is so much joy and nourishment in cooking good food for people.
So, I started asking questions about her goals, her ability, and of course, her and her guests’ taste in food.
Immediately, I knew the dish: Roasted Cauliflower with Chickpeas & Olives.
It’s a delightfully savory dish, well rounded with the tangy, briny bite of green olives and nuttiness of roasted cauliflower. The roasted chickpeas are transformed into luscious pillowy bites. Just a touch of red pepper flakes provides some heat while finishing with fresh parsley really brings the dish together in a true palate pleasing way.
To accompany this main dish, I suggested a simple salad that’s easy to throw together but refined in its flavors. Both recipes are posted below for your cooking, hosting, and dining enjoyment!
Roasted Cauliflower, Chickpeas & Green Olives
Makes: 4 servings
5 ½ cups cauliflower florets 3 Tbsp. olive oil
24 green, Spanish olives, pitted & halved ½ tsp. crushed red pepper
8 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped ¼ tsp. sea salt
1 can chickpeas, rinsed & drained 3 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
Preheat oven to 450°
-Combine first four ingredients in a roasting pan or large, glass baking dish.
-Drizzle with olive oil, pepper & salt. Toss well to coat.
-Roast for 22 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes.
-Cauliflower should brown and be tender crisp. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
**Add rotisserie chicken or salmon on top.
Spinach Asparagus Salad with Dates & Shaved Parmesan
Makes: 5 servings
5 cups spinach
1 bunch asparagus, sliced into 1-inch strips & sautéed for a few minutes until tender crisp
10 dried dates, pitted and chopped
5 Tbsp. Shaved Parmesan — just eyeball it
5 Tbsp. Mustard Vinaigrette (recipe below)
Sea salt & pepper
In each individual salad bowl place:
1 cup spinach
1/5 of sautéed asparagus
2 chopped dates
1 Tbsp. shaved parmesan
1 T. mustard vinaigrette
Sea salt & pepper to finish if desired
1 lemon juiced
1 Tbsp. raw honey or agave
1 Tbsp. stone ground mustard
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ – 1 tsp. sea salt (start low and add to desired taste)
½ tsp. black pepper (this is a guess, I use a grinder & eyeball it)
Add all ingredients in a glass jar or vessel with a tight fitting lid. Shake vigorously to combine ingredients. Taste and adjust to desired palate. Should be pretty strong so you don’t need much. If it’s too strong add some honey/agave and/or olive oil.
Creating delicious, healthy meals year round doesn’t need to be an arduous process — nor does it need to contain heavy unhealthy ingredients to be satisfying to the soul. Try these recipes this fall for a warm and satisfying meal with friends!
Written By Missi Holt