MOROCCAN SPICED CHICKPEAS & CAULIFLOWER w/ COCONUT-LIME SAUCE
ANOTHER CAULIFLOWER RECIPE. I know I know. Such a creature of habit.
I guess the love runs deep. ya know?
The love affair with cauliflower has been going on since 2010, right around the time I switched to a plant based diet. Its one of those vegetables that can easily be a side dish or a main IMO. I'd go so far as to say it can be a snack food, too. After cutting them into florets and roasting at 425f for 20 or so minutes with a little avo oil and salt they are divine. I literally eat them like fries. You know they're ready when the tops get all crispy and dark brown. mmm! Just thinking about it makes me crave some.
I've been hanging on to this recipe for some time now and I'm so excited to finally share it with you. I guess I was just waiting for what felt like the right time.
Its not only really easy to make, its boyfriend approved and healthy.
The coconut lime sauce is rich, tangy, sweet and loaded with all kinds good for you nutritients. If you are my age and older then you are no stranger to the low fat craze of the 90's. It was fat free this and low fat that. But when you remove the fat from food you often remove flavor leaving many food companies to substitue with added salt, sugar or sugar like chemicals. This is not good.
Fat plays a vital role in the bodies ability to absorb other nutritients. That's what it means when a vitamin or mineral is "fat-soluble," essentially in order for the body to absorb the nutrient it needs fat to help break it down.
Examples include: vitamins A, D, E and K. There is of course good fat and bad fat. Unsaturated fat is good while trans fat is bad. Think avocado vs margarine.
Coconut is a great source of healthy fat because of its quality medium chain fats that have been found to improve memory and brain function. You also use fat as an energy source and it helps support healthy cell function. These elements are much more important to me then worrying if eating to much healthy fat will make me fat. And chances are it wont.
Omega-3 fatty acids, a type of unsaturated fat, is also extremely important for optimum nerve, brain and heart function. Spinach, believe it or not, is a great source of this.
Quinoa is one of the few plant foods that is a complete protien containing all 9 essential amino acids, making it extremely important for those who do not eat meat or animal products. It has a great nutty flavor and is also full of fiber.
Cauliflower of course packs its own punch as well. Its anti-inflammatory which is great for joint pain and immunity, its high in dietary fiber which aids in digestion, and its loaded with antioxidants and phytonutrients to arm you against free radical damage.
Aside from the health benefits this recipe is just tasty af.
Aromatic and nutty quinoa, sweet and spicy morrocon cauliflower & chickpeas, tangy and rich coconut lime sauce. All on a bed of fresh nutrient dense spinach topped with bright herbacious cilantro and green onions.
It's really a home run if you ask me.
COCONUT CILANTRO SAUCE
1-15 Ounce can of full fat coconut milk (light coconut milk not reccomended)
3/4 Cups cilantro, stems and leaves chopped
1/3 Cup green onion, thinly sliced
1 lime, zested and juiced
1 Tablespoon maple syrup, optional
1/4 Teaspoon pink salt, to taste
2 Cups dry quinoa
4 Cups vegetable broth
5-7 medjool dates, pitted and chopped in bite size pieces
CAULI & CHICKPEA MIX
1 Cup onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 Tablespoons coconut oil, divided
2 heads cauliflower, cut into bite sized pieces
2 -15 Ounces cans of garbanzo beans/chickpeas, drained
Moroccan Spice Blend
see recipe below
2-4 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
4-6 Tablespoons toasted coconut chips
green onion, thinly sliced
5-10 Ounces fresh spinach, to plate
Pre Heat oven to 425f
Make the Coconut Cilantro Sauce: put everything in a high speed blender like vitamix or food processor and blend on high until well combined. Taste it and adjust- adding more salt, lime and maple syrup to your liking.
Prep the Morrocan Spice Blend Combine the following in a bowl, mix to evenly combine and set aside. 1 tbsp turmeric 1 tbsp cumin 1 tsp ginger 1 tsp cinnamon 1 tsp coriander 1/2 tsp cayenne 1 tsp pink salt 1 tsp black pepper
If you feel as though you need or want more of the spice blend to cover all of the cauliflower then don't be shy, make more. You can always save the rest to sprinkle on roasted veggies or avocado toast later
Cook the Quinoa: In a medium sauce pan over high heat toast the quinoa. Add it to the dry pan once its hot and mix around for about 5-7 minutes until lightly fragrant.
Then add in the vegetable broth, bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer. Takes about 10-12 minutes to cook but keep an eye on it.
Once done remove from the heat, add in chopped dates, mix around and let sit for 3 minutes then fluff with a fork.
Meanwhile prep the other veggies: dice the onion, mince the garlic chop cauliflower into bit sized pieces open chickpeas, drain and rinse
Make Morrocan Cauli & Chickpeas In a large skillet or frying pan, melt 2 tbsp coconut oil over medium high heat. Once hot add in onion and cook for 3-5 minutes. Then add in garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Season with pink salt and pepper.
Add in chopped cauliflower and white wine vinegar. Cook for 3-5 minutes stiring occasionally.
Add in Garbanzo/chickpeans. Mix well for 30 seconds.
Add in the additional 2 tbsps coconut oil if desired and pan seems dry. Mix well.
Add in the spice mixture and toss to evenly coat.
Transfer the chickpea/cauli mixture to a cookie sheet and put in the oven. Roast for 10-12 minutes.
If you have to - do this in batches: half the cauli, chickpeas, spices, oil/vinegar at a time.
I had to cook this in two batches becuase my skillet was not big enough for everything all at once.
Plate you dish!
Layer Spinach with a little dressing, then the quinoa, cauliflower mix, fresh herbs, lime slices, toasted coconut chips and drizzle more dressing on.
If there is left over dressing reserve the rest for quick salads throughout the week or put on other roasted veggies for a healthy fat kick.
*** If you need to toast the coconut chips yourself. heat a cast iron skillet over high heat. Make sure the pan is dry/no oil. Once hot add in the coconut and toss every 45 seconds for up to 3 or 4 minutes until toasty and golden brown on most sides. Remove from the heat and let sit on a paper towel or plate for 5 minutes to get crispy! YUM.