The Holidays are almost upon us, so I’ve decided to open my Hostess Bag of Tricks and share a few with you. Lucky Possums!
The real secret to being a Good Host is to relax, have fun, and enjoy your guests. Having said that, there are a few life skills an experienced Hostess should always have in her arsenal. A few good meatless dishes are essential.
Here's a little scenario that might have already played out at your house: You're just about to sit down to dinner, and your brother's new girlfriend announces that she's a Vegan.
A. Smile, pretend you didn’t hear her, and serve her the ham anyway.
B. Point to the mashed potatoes and green beans
C. Have a Vegan dish in your back pocket that you can whip up before she finishes her glass of Pinot Grigio?
HINT: the answer is C.
We live in Los Angeles, which is ground zero for every kind of food fad and dietary restriction. Hosting a dinner party here requires a certain fluency in vegetarian, pescetarian, dairy, wheat, soy, and gluten-free options. There are fruitarians here, too, but they are still widely regarded as fringe weirdos (at least until a Kardashian takes it up, and then I'm sure it will be all the rage). Peel me a grape!
My Husband adopted a (mostly) Vegan Diet for health reasons years ago. But my sons regard any dish without meat or cheese as pointless, so I had to quickly adapt and find meatless dishes for Mr. Handsome that could also serve as a healthy side for my carnivores.
This dish is so easy, that after you make it a couple of times, you won’t even have to look at this recipe.
I’ve tweaked it a little, but the original recipe is from Gwyneth Paltrow’s 2nd cookbook, "It's All Good" (and it is).
The combination of nutty garbanzos, toasted cauliflower, and tangy dressing with the freshness of the flat-leaf Parsley is genuinely delicious. We have it on heavy rotation all year round.
It's great as a side dish for the Carnivores, but honestly so tasty and filling that even the meat-eaters will put it on the centre of their plates.
HERE’S HOW TO MAKE IT:
1 can (15oz) chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 x tablespoon good quality Extra Virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh Italian Parsley
Regular Olive oil
FOR THE DRESSING
1 x tablespoon mustard (any kind will do)
1 x tablespoon Vegenaise (or any soy-based Mayo alternative)
1 x tablespoon of white wine, apple cider, or white wine vinegar
1 x tablespoon of good quality extra virgin olive oil
1 x teaspoon of Turmeric powder
Salt + Pepper to taste
A squeeze of lemon is a great idea.
1. Preheat the oven to about 400 degrees Fahrenheit/204 degrees Celsius (I do mine at 380 F because my oven is serious!
2. Open the can of garbanzos, rinse, and leave to drain in a colander.
3. Rinse and cut the cauliflower into bite-sized florets.
4. Dump the cauliflower and garbanzo beans into a big mixing bowl and toss with a few good slugs of regular Olive Oil, salt and pepper (BTW: I save the good stuff for dressings and raw dishes, not for cooking)!
5. Spread it all out on a generously sized, foil-lined baking sheet. Don't crowd them. You want them to get crispy!
6. Roast for 33 – 40 minutes, shaking the pan every 15 minutes.
MAKE THE DRESSING
1. Whisk the mustard, Vegenaise, oils and spices together in a small bowl and set aside.
2. Rinse the Italian Parsley, pat dry, roughly chop, and set aside.
3. Take the roasting pan out when the garbanzos are crisp on the outside. The cauliflower should be fork-tender and brown on the edges.
4. Toss with the dressing, making sure every floret and bean is coated with the dressing. Sprinkle the Parsley on top and adjust the seasonings. Sometimes, I like to add a little Tajin or Red Chili flakes to give it a little heat!
SERVES: 3 to 4
STORE: Covered in the fridge for up to 4 days
Boom! You're a Vegan chef and have just created a healthy, filling dish that will delight your guests no matter what they're into eating (or not eating).
FYI: It’s great with Turkey or ham, but also works well with grilled Tofu, Beef, or Lamb kebabs and served with some hummus and pita bread. I'll be posting my best Vegan dishes once a week through the Holidays.