Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Cinderella vegetable

And what exactly is the Cinderella vegetable? I am sure you’ve already guessed it. That’s right: cauliflower. You know it’s true. Pudgy, pale, uninteresting, that’s poor old cauliflower. Doesn’t even have pretty green leaves. Fit for the scullery unless it’s dressed up with a blanket of cheese on special occasions or when needing to fool small children (as if that was possible).

But like Cinderella, cauliflower has a hidden beauty that can emerge under the right circumstances. I have come to love it done several ways. One of the best things about cauliflower is that it is the only large white food that is low carb and lo-cal. So if bread, pizza crust, rice, pasta spell carb alert for you! Cauliflower might be your date for dinner. Cauliflower just needs the right outfit to go to the ball, um, dinner table in an almost carb-free veggie dish. So today, I’m playing fairy cookmother with one of my favorite recipes, because in fairy tales (and life) surprises make the world go round.

This one makes a lovely salad on a hot summer day or even a not-so-hot day. You just need to find a way to roast the florets at 350 for a half hour to forty minutes (you can do it early when the kitchen is still cool)

Slightly Exotic Roasted Cauliflower Salad

A head of cauliflower, cut into florets
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 or 3 sprigs of fresh thyme (or ¼ tsp dried)
1 teaspoon sea salt and ¼ tsp of fresh ground pepper (or to taste)
1 tablespoon white wine or cider vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon grainy Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey (you can leave this out if you want, but it adds a nice taste)
fresh chives, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 400ºF.

In a large bowl, toss cauliflower with 1 tablespoon of oil, thyme and half of the salt. Spread the mixture on large a baking sheet. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until cauliflower is lightly browned.

In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, honey, the rest of the salt and the oil. Pour the dressing over cauliflower and toss gently. Sprinkle with chives and serve at room temperature.

This is a tasty and refreshing vegetable dish that’s even better the second day. If there’s any left, that is.

Speaking of surprises, try The Busy Woman's Guide to Murder, the fifth Charlotte Adams mystery in which Charlotte once again encounters an unexpected crime and a wide cast of possible villains. Can you figure out whodunnit before Charlotte does?


  1. This sounds delicious, and I'll try it when cauliflower comes into season again later this year.

  2. This looks wonderful, MJ! It doesn't even resemble cauliflower, which means my children will likely be excited about eating it! Thanks for the tip. :)

  3. Your analogy is hilarious fun - Cinderella cauliflower! I see a Veggie Tales book in your future. :) I am also a big fan of this "pudgy, pale" vegetable, and I look forward to making your beautiful summer salad.

    Have a delicious weekend, MJ!
    ~ Cleo Coffeehouse
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  4. Thanks, Patricia! I am a bit jealous of your wonderful Italian veggies. The Canadian sun just can't compete.

    Elizabeth - I have some more 'fool the kids' recipes coming up in the Continuing Adventures of the Cinderella Vegetable.

    Thanks Ann (cozy in Texas). Glad you liked it.

    You're right, Cleo. Stay tuned for more 'Veggie Tales' over the summer and fall.

  5. Fairy godmother to a poor, plain cauliflower. That's so clever! I'm not sure which is more clever, the Cinderella theme or the recipe. It's going straight to the top of my recipes to try. I like cauliflower but it's usually, well, boring. Can't wait to dress it up!

    ~ Krista

  6. Let me know, Krista. Fairy cookmother and Cinderella veggie will return!

  7. Wonderful recipe - I had something quite a few years ago and have been trying to figure out what it was. Thank you for sharing today.

  8. P.S. I hope it is okay - I copied this for my recipe file :)

  9. I love it. The Cinderella veggie. How cute is that! Definitely going to make this. I adore cauliflower, but it has to be done right. I don't like raw. It gets stuck in the craw. :)


    Now, when are you going to organize my veggie drawer?


  10. Denise: we love it when you copy our recipes! We're all about sharing fun in the kitchen and mysteries. I hope it works for you.

    Thanks, Avery! Agreed, I don't like it raw much either. I'll send Charlotte over for the veggie drawer. Soon.