Tag Archives: cauliflower

Cauliflower Crust Pizza w/ Spinach, Mushrooms & Sausage

Well, I survived the holidays. I was very nervous about it, as it was the first holiday season after the death of my sister. Tears were shed, but there was also lots of laughter. My parents and I are trying to navigate our way through the messiness of grief. Now, spending time with my family and my sister’s friends feels like getting an IV drip – a very simple yet essential input for me to continue living.

I am battling with insomnia again. It might just be the seasonal blues that always hit me over the head in January, but it can be brutal. Sometimes, it only has a mild effect on me and I don’t feel the overwhelming exhaustion of not getting enough sleep. But yesterday wasn’t one of those days. I woke up at 4 a.m. I knew it was going to be a long day when, at 7 a.m., I was hit with a powerful fatigue and my brain became foggy. When this happens, I tend to panic and visualize a non-productive day laid out before me. What’s more, I crave sugar and carbs when I am bone-tired. There must be some biological reason for this, but it doesn’t help me in any way. Luckily, I have enough experience with insomnia that I know how to navigate my way through it. I did a decent job of exerting enough energy to get me through the day without having a meltdown, and I ate fairly healthy. I did have a brief crying spell in the afternoon, but I think it was necessary; I felt calmer and more clearheaded afterwards.

My husband and I watched Patton Oswalt’s latest Netflix special a few months ago. Towards the end of his set, he shares a story about his wife who died recently. She had a simple mantra, “It’s chaos. Be kind”. It has stuck with me ever since. There are no guarantees in this life, and even if it is just all random chaos, genuine kindness is one of the most powerful acts human beings can provide to one another. There is profound meaning in that. Let’s all try to be kinder as we navigate through our lives.

Have you tried substituting cauliflower rice for your favorite carb yet? I’ve tried a few things, but my favorite is using it as a healthier pizza crust alternative. There are endless cauliflower crust recipes out there, but I like this one the best because it is dairy-free. It makes an easy weeknight dinner!

Cauliflower Crust Pizza w/ Spinach, Mushrooms and Sausage
Adapted from PaleoLeap

Yield: 8-10 slices

1 head cauliflower, stalk removed
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup almond flour (whole-wheat flour works just fine)
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
Sea salt and black pepper
1/2 cup marinara sauce
8 oz. baby portobello mushrooms, chopped and lightly sautéed
1/2 cup cooked spinach
3 chicken sausages, thinly sliced
1.5 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 F.
  2. Place the cauliflower in a food processor and pulse until finely shredded (you may want to do this in different batches).
  3. *Steam the shredded cauliflower for 3 to 4 minutes. Drain well, let cool, and strain any excess water using a towel.
  4. In a bowl, combine the cauliflower, eggs, oregano, garlic powder, almond flour, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix everything thoroughly.
  5. Transfer to a pizza pan or baking sheet and shape into a pizza crust shape.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 to 18 minutes.
  7. Spread marinara sauce on top of the crust. Add mushrooms, spinach, sausage, and cheese, and bake for another 8 to 10 minutes, or until toppings are nicely cooked.

    *This is a VERY important step. Do not skip or you will have a soggy crust.

Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Arugula, Walnuts and Manchego

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I love the smell of roasted cauliflower.  I am writing this while sitting on the futon in our guest bedroom with the sun streaming in.  I feel like a cat sitting on a windowsill.  (Why don’t I have a cat?  Oh, right:  I’m allergic.)  My husband and I moved out to Astoria over a year ago.  We upgraded to a 3-bedroom from our 1-bedroom in Manhattan and get this…we are paying less in rent!  Oh Manhattan, I would have stayed with you if you didn’t make it so goddamn hard to afford you.  It only took us 10 months to completely unpack and settle in to our new place.  Between my chocolate business stuff and my husband not liking to get rid of things, we had a lot of boxes to go through.  Living out of boxes for 10 months can put a strain on a marriage, especially if one of you (moi) is a bit of a control freak.  But one of the things I’ve learned about marriage is that the ugly times don’t have to just be ugly.  They can actually be a stepping stone to get to the next level of a lasting marriage.   Even though whenever we have an issue my body is taken over with panic and dread at the thought of having to discuss it, I always feel elated after we talk through something.  Happy endorphins rush through my brain like a leprochaun sliding down a rainbow.  I think it’s partly due to the fact that for a short period of time I don’t feel anxious, but also knowing that we came out of it even stronger is an emotion that I cherish every time. DSCF2860

Cauliflower is one of those foods that I don’t care for raw but I absolutely love roasted.  In fact, I think I love any vegetable that has been roasted.  It completely transforms the flavor of food, especially raw veggies.   I made this dish while my mom and stepdad were visiting last week and we all agreed that it was a keeper.  Everyone had two servings and bypassed the pork tenderloin completely.  Now that’s some good cauliflower.   The arugula adds a nice bitter, peppery flavor while the toasted walnuts and Manchego add some nuttiness and creaminess to the dish.  You could probably substitute any other nut if you’re not a fan of walnuts.  If you have another nutty cheese on hand, like Gruyére, that would work just fine too.  It’s also a very pretty salad that would go nicely on your Thanksgiving table if you want to forego that green bean casserole this year.  Sacrilege!  Ok, make it in addition to the casserole.

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This salad is best served warm.  The cauliflower can be roasted one day ahead.   Just slip the roasted florets back into the oven for 15 minutes or so right before serving.  Assemble the salad, dress it, and let your guests swoon over it.

Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Arugula, Walnuts and Manchego
Adapted from A Good Appetite, a New York Times column

Yield:  4-6 servings

1 head cauliflower, but into bite-size florets
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
¾ teaspoons black pepper
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
5 oz. arugula
1 cup Manchego, grated
2/3 cup toasted walnuts

  1. Heat the oven to 400°F.  In a large bowl, toss the cauliflower with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.  Spread the cauliflower on a baking sheet in a single layer.  Roast, tossing every 10 minutes, until golden, 30 to 40 minutes.  Let cool for 10 minutes.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar with the remaining salt and pepper, and then whisk in the remaining oil.
  3. In a salad bowl, toss the arugula, cheese, nuts and warm cauliflower.  Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and toss until well combined.