Thursday, February 9, 2012

Lentil LOVE and Easy Cauliflower Purée

I don't want to sound like a total vegan cliché, but I love having a delicious fresh healthy meal after my yoga class. It just feels so good to eat something good for you after doing something good for you. And I have a new-found love of lentils. They are high in fiber, low in calories, totally filling, and I love their flavor. So after this week's class, I was going to just heat up some lentils and spinach, but there was a head of cauliflower in the bottom of my fridge just waiting to be used. I was tempted to simply steam it, but decided to do something a little more inventive, for minimally more effort...

This is what I came up with: cauliflower purée with steamed lentils and spinach. In maybe 15 minutes, I had an awesome, healthy meal, that seemed new & different.

Now, I'm no chef. I think I've learned a lot over the past year, but often I will turn to Culinary Artistry if I want a little information on what flavors work together. It's certainly not vegan-specific, but it's a handy reference. When I looked up cauliflower, spinach, and lentils, olive oil and butter were common to all three, which was kind of a no-brainer since I was going to use them anyway, but nutmeg and almond both popped out to me under spinach and cauliflower. So I went from there!

  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 head of cauliflower, washed and chopped
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • Scant 1/4 cup almonds, plus a few sliced almonds for garnish
  • 1-2 Tbsp Earth Balance (I recommend using the made with olive oil kind here)
  • 2-3 Tbsp of plain unsweetened almond milk, divided
  • Package of Trader Joe's Steamed Lentils (see product pic below; or, feel free to use your own steamed or soaked lentils)
  • 1-2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • Sea salt to taste
This is the lentil package I used:

You could easily sub for canned lentils, or use pre-soaked bagged lentils.

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pan, and add the garlic. Saute for a minute or two. Next, add the chopped cauliflower and a few tablespoons of water. Cover and steam for about 7 minutes, until cauliflower is tender.
  2. Add almonds to a food processor and grind until fine. Next, add the steamed cauliflower, followed by the Earth Balance (you want to add it while the cauliflower is still hot, so it melts). Add 1 Tbsp almond (or soy) milk, and the nutmeg, and puree until very smooth. You may want to add another Tbsp of milk, and a little more butter, depending on the consistency. Add salt to taste. 
  3. Heat up the lentils for about 2-3 minutes, adding a Tbsp of almond milk (OR, you could use olive oil or Earth Balance) and stir well.  Add about a cup of fresh spinach and steam until wilted.
  4. Serve on top of a bed of fresh baby spinach. 
My pics have everything separated, but it was completely yummy mixing everything all together. I loved the hint of nutmeg in the cauliflower, too.

This meal was so easy to make, but so tasty and satisfying. I almost feel guilty saying it, since for some strange reason when I have guests over I feel like I need to make something complicated, but I would consider serving this at a dinner party. I also thought this cauliflower purée is something that could be used any time- try it as a healthier replacement for mashed potatoes! 

1 comment:

  1. YUM! I am a huge fan of Cauliflower; what a perfect warming meal :)


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