Feature

Whole roasted tandoori cauliflower with mint chutney

Green Lifestyle Magazine

Dodge the stodge and tuck into these super healthy winter meals from Sarah Britton, chef and author of food blog, My New Roots.

Cauliflower-mint

Roasted Tandoori Cauliflower & Mint Chutney

Tender-Tandoori-Cauliflower

Tender Tandoori Roasted Cauliflower

cornmeal-fries

Crispy Cornmeal Sweet Potato Fries

Butternut-squash-lasange

Butternut Squash Lasange

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Whole roasted tandoori cauliflower with mint chutney

Serves 4–6

I first encountered a whole tandoori cauliflower many years ago at an Indian restaurant. I clearly remember the server setting the giant platter on our table, a big, auburn vegetable head surrounded by pickled onions, herbs and chutneys. There was almost something majestic about how it was presented – it made us feel like royalty.

If you struggle to find something really special to serve to your vegetarian dinner guests, I would definitely suggest this show-stopping dish. Even for those who eat meat, there is something so impressive about tandoori cauliflower that they will want to dig in too.

One of the secrets of tandoori cauliflower is the marinade, which is based on yoghurt. The yoghurt helps bind the spices together, surrounds and coats the food, and its acidity naturally tenderises whatever you are marinating. Yoghurt is typically used in marinades for meat, but it works just as effectively with vegetables. If you do not eat cow, goat or sheep yoghurt, use a plant-based yoghurt.

The mint chutney that accompanies the cauliflower is meant to be a refreshing compliment to the intense, spicy flavours of the tandoori blend. It is bright and crisp, and delicious with many foods besides this particular dish. I enjoyed some of the mint chutney on top of steamed rice and quinoa, and even tossed it around with some chickpeas. Delicious! It’s a breeze to make and can be prepared a day ahead to save time.

Sarah B’s tandoori spice blend

2 tsp chilli (or cayenne pepper)

1 tbsp cardamom (ground, or seeds)

4 tbsp cumin seeds

2 tbsp coriander seeds

½ whole nutmeg, grated

2 tsp whole cloves
2 or 3 sticks cinnamon

2 tbsp ground turmeric

2 tbsp paprika

1.Place all ingredients except for the turmeric and paprika in a spice mill, mortar or coffee grinder. Grind until powdered. Add turmeric and paprika. Store in a glass jar away from light and heat. It will keep for up to six months.

Roasted tandoori cauliflower
1 large head cauliflower, washed well,leaves removed
4 cloves garlic

1 tbsp minced ginger

1 tbsp tandoori spice blend (as above)

juice of 1 lemon

1 tsp sea salt
½ cup thick yoghurt (vegans use plant-based yoghurt or coconut cream)
1.Using a mortar and pestle (or food processor), smash garlic and ginger into a paste. Add the tandoori spice blend, lemon and salt. Mix until uniform. Fold in the yoghurt. 

2.Place the whole cauliflower in a large bowl and spread the marinade all over, making sure to coat the bottom as well. Place in the fridge to marinate for minimum one hour, maximum 12.
3.Preheat oven to 200°C. Place cauliflower on a lined baking sheet and roast until tender (45–60 minutes depending on the size of the cauliflower). Garnish with coriander leaves, lots of lemon juice and a generous drizzle of high-quality olive oil. Serve immediately with mint chutney. Enjoy.

Mint chutney

2 cups loosely packed mint leaves

1 cup loosely packed coriander leaves

1 shallot, minced

½ red chilli, minced (optional)

juice of 1 lime

¼ cup yoghurt (vegans use plant-based yoghurt or try coconut cream)

1 tbsp cold-pressed olive oil

a couple of pinches sea salt

1 tsp raw honey
1.Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until a chunky pesto-type sauce results. Season to taste. Enjoy with all tandoori dishes, on top of rice or legumes, or as a spread on crackers or bread. Store leftovers in the fridge. Keeps for five days.

Crispy cornmeal sweet potato fries

Serves 3-4
The secret to this recipe is not just about the ingredients, but the process. One, size matters. By this I mean that the fries need to be the same thickness otherwise they will cook at different rates.
Two, rinse well. Rinsing the fries just after they’ve been cut does help. This step removes some of the starch from the vegetable and helps improve crispness while baking. It is also important after this step to dry the fries well. Three, these fries need their space. Much like mushrooms, if the sweet potatoes are too close together on the baking tray, they will steam each other. Steam equals soggy. The last little element that really makes these fries special, is of course cornmeal. After trying polenta fries and making the connection between the delightfully crisp texture around the edges, and the cornmeal from which they were made, I realised that by coating vegies in cornmeal before baking them may deliver the same effect. Ta-da!

I paired the sweet potato fries with a tangy chermoula and yoghurt dip. Chermoula is a marinade frequently used in Moroccan, Tunisian, and Algerian cooking. If you are not into yoghurt, try blending up the chermoula with a ripe avocado, or soaked cashews. In either of these instances, use a little more lemon to simulate the yoghurt-like tang.

Cornmeal sweet potato fries

2 – 3 large sweet potatoes
2 tbsp melted coconut oil

4 tbsp cornmeal / polenta

1 tsp sea salt (more to taste, if desired)
Extra flavour options:

Garlic powder

Ground cumin

Smoked paprika

Cayenne

Black pepper

Dried parsley
1.Scrub the sweet potatoes well under running water. Slice them into long sticks 1 cm thick. Place them in a bowl of water, swish around a few times, then drain (this step helps remove some of the starch from the potato). Place potatoes on a clean tea towel and dry thoroughly. Let them air dry while you prepare everything else.

2.Preheat the oven to 200°C. On low heat, melt coconut oil in a small saucepan. Place cut potatoes on a cookie sheet, drizzle the oil over and toss very well to coat. Add cornmeal and salt (and extra flavours or spices if desired) and toss well to coat.

3.Place fries on a lined baking sheet, making sure that they are not overlapping. Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden brown and crisp (in my experience, there was no need to flip them halfway through cooking).

Chermoula yoghurt dip
1 large bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves and tender stems only

1 large bunch cilantro/coriander, leaves and tender stems only

3 cloves garlic

1 large piece of ginger

1 tsp hot smoked paprika

1 tbsp ground cumin

½ tbsp crushed coriander seeds

zest and juice of 1 lemon

pinch saffron threads
Up to 1 cup yoghurt for blending (or ripe avocado or soaked cashews)
1.Blend all of the above ingredients except yoghurt to desired consistency.
2.Mix equal parts yoghurt with the finished chermoula (e.g. ¼ cup yoghurt and ¼ cup chermoula). I like to mix the chermoula with yoghurt right before serving. The chermoula will last longer if kept separate from the yoghurt.

Butternut squash lasagne

Serves 6–8
I have an annual winter party with my girlfriends where we have a vegan potluck dinner that is always totally yummy and totally inspiring. This year I wanted to make something memorable that would leave a few dirty dishes in its wake. Naturally, I decided to make lasagne. And I thought I’d get creative and make my own pasta… out of celeriac. Weird? Perhaps. But effective? You bet!
Seeing as this is a lasagne, there are of course a few elements involved. If you’re short on time, buy the butter beans in a can instead of cooking them yourself. Since you will be pureeing them, it’s allowed. You can also roast the butternut squash a day or two ahead of time.
I served this lasagna with a side of massaged kale, apples and walnuts. The salad complimented the lasagne really well. In fact, next time I may actually put walnuts in the filling, or sprinkle them on top.
This was a delectable autumn meal that will most certainly be repeated, perhaps not weekly, but doesn’t that make it all the more special? Indeed.

Butternut squash sauce
2 kg butternut squash

3–4 cloves garlic

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp lemon juice

salt to taste
1. Cut the butternut squashes in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Rub with a little coconut oil and a sprinkle of sea salt. Roast in the oven at 200°C for 40–60 minutes until soft (cooking time will depend on the size of the squashes). Remove from oven and let cool.

2.Scoop out the flesh from the butternut squashes and combine with remaining ingredients in a food processor. Season to taste.

Celeriac ‘Noodles’


600 g celeriac

vegetable stock
1. Peel the celeriac. Because there are so many knotted roots on the bottom half of the vegetable, it is easiest to use a knife.

2.You can cut the celeriac into a brick shape, or leave it round. Cut the root into very thin sheets (sharpen your knife before doing this!).
3.Braise celeriac sheets in simmering vegetable stock for 3–5 minutes, depending on thickness, until al dente – not mushy. Drain and set aside until ready to use.

Bean ‘Béchamel’

2 heaped cups butter beans (or any white bean)

nutmeg, grated, to taste

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tbsp olive oil

pinch salt if needed

¼–½ cup water
1.Cook beans according to your taste. If using canned beans, drain and rinse very well.

2.Put all ingredients except for water in a food processor. Add water with the motor running until a creamy sauce results, to the consistency that you like. Make as smooth as possible. Season to taste.

Other ingredients


Fresh baby spinach
1.You can freestyle this, but I recommend placing the celeriac on the bottom as the first layer. In a 20 x 25 cm casserole dish, layer celeriac noodles,
then butternut squash sauce,
baby spinach leaves and bean béchamel. Repeat.

2.This recipe made enough for two full rounds of the above, plus one extra layer of celeriac and a final topping of the butternut sauce. I sprinkled fresh thyme on top with some cracked black pepper. It would also be tasty with dried chilli flakes, rosemary or sage. Bake until warmed through. Serve immediately.