Every year when the big holiday events roll around, we inevitably start to plan the Christmas day menu. We don’t eat pork or beef so Christmas hams or garlic pork are both out the question. We tend to stick to our tried and true favourite sides – a potato dish, a pasta dish, stuffing, salad, a fish, steamed veggies, and the occasional wild card – baked beans or an additional stuffing. We usually have it with turkey, salmon, and last year we added cornish game hens. This year we’re saving the hens for New Years and adding lamb to the menu.
My dad has been a vegetarian for over 20 years and I always admire his restraint around the holidays. I went vegetarian for a month and it was perfectly fine, but I can’t imagine giving up meat on a special occasion. I also always feel bad for him because there’s no big flourish when we take the potatoes from the oven or carving hoopla the way it happens with turkey. There’s a quiet spooning of food into the plate and his not-so-discreet bites while we’re still serving ourselves.
This year, I’ve been seeing roasted cauliflower all over the place. What’s so special about that you ask? Well friends, this cauliflower is an entre roasted head of cauliflower. No cutting into florets or chopping until you have cauliflower rice or couscous. This year I plan to roast a whole cauliflower and set it next to the turkey in all its browned and crispy glory.
I gave it a test run today and it was pretty great. A note on Sriracha: I’m not going to try to sell you on the merits of sriracha. You either love it or you don’t. I don’t see why you wouldn’t though. It’s a tangy, not so hot pepper sauce that adds a kick to your fried rice, and can actually be used to punch up almost anything – popcorn, meat, chocolate, potatoes, coleslaw, and the list goes on. It’s versatility is sort of like bacon.
Since cauliflower is this blank slate waiting to be flavoured, I am your artist today. Plus I’m feeling a bit temperamental at the moment so double authenticity for the win!
Sriracha Sesame Whole Roasted Cauliflower
1 whole Medium head Cauliflower
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Sesame Oil
1 tbsp Sriracha
1 tsp Soy Sauce
½ -1 tsp Garlic Powder
½ tsp Black Pepper
¼ tsp Salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut core of cauliflower so that the head can sit flat on a pie plate or tray. Trim outer leaves ensuring that the cauliflower florets stay connected to each other. Add all ingredients to a bowl and whisk until thoroughly combined. Using a pastry brush or your hands, rub evenly all over cauliflower.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or longer if you prefer your cauliflower to be a bit softer. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. Cut into slices and serve.
I’ll be honest – this blend has a bit of a kick. Feel free to reduce the sriracha or black pepper, but I think the cauliflower can take the heat.
So if you have a vegetarian or vegan in the family or if you’re one yourself, do yourself a favour and try making this. Essentially, you can use any kind of spice paste or a dry spice blend and add some olive oil to it. Roasting a whole cauliflower was so ridiculously easy, there was little cleanup, and very little work. I will definitely be making this again, and I liked it a lot more than roasting individual pieces.
I know my Dad won’t be reading this post due to his technological un-savvy-ness so I’m looking forward to the big reveal on Christmas day. You guys can keep this a secret, right? :)