I love to roast vegetables this time of year. It warms my apartment, fills the place with a homey, rich aroma and makes everything feel cozy. Roasted veggies taste great on their own, but I always like to add a little sauce when I can. And pesto gives this dish a nutritional boost with fresh basil, which provides not only vitamins and minerals, but also contains flavonoids which act as powerful antioxidants. It also has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Take that, regular cream sauce! Pesto can tend to be a bit heavy, so I lighten this version with almond milk to replace some of the olive oil. Happy Health!
* My culinary posts are meant to be guidelines, not recipes. They are different from what you would usually find in a cookbook, because I think cooking should be inspired and new every time you do it. If you like heat, add a sh**load of cayenne or jalapenos to one of my recipes. If my guideline calls for cilantro but cilantro tastes like soap to you, leave it out. When I cook I get a buzz from the thrill of creation. The same can happen to you.
Roasted Cauliflower with Pesto Cream
half head of cauliflower or one small head
1/2 tsp or so garlic powder
several tablespoons olive oil
1 red bell pepper
1 bunch fresh basil
several tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
tablespoon or so sunflower seeds (you can use pine nuts if you would like a more traditional pesto, but I didn’t have any on hand so I substituted and the sunflower seeds worked great!)
1 clove garlic
several tablespoons almond milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut and break the cauliflower into smallish florets. In a bowl, mix these with a tablespoon (maybe a little less) of olive oil, a few sprinkles of garlic powder and salt to taste. Place on parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Core and seed the bell pepper. Rub the outside with olive oil, place on parchment paper with cauliflower, and put the whole thing in the oven for 40 minutes to an hour. The cauliflower should be golden brown. The pepper should be wilted looking and very soft. They may take different amounts of time to cook, so check on them regularly.
While they are cooking, throw basil, garlic clove, Parmesan cheese, sunflower seeds, almond milk and a tablespoon of the olive oil into a blender or food processor. Blend until saucy.
When slightly cooled, cut the roasted red bell pepper into slices. Arrange the cauliflower on plates and drizzle with pesto. Add bell pepper as garnish around plate. Savor!