08 February 2014

Gently Stewed Cauliflower and Sweet Potatoes

There's a technique for cooking vegetables from this cookbook that I love because it is easy to execute, only dirties one pan, and uses less oil than roasting would, which is nice sometimes. I do love roasting, but sometimes I want something gentler, something stewed. Do you ever feel that way?

When I say stewed here, I am talking about a shallow stew. Water is added not even half way up the vegetables so they partially stew and partially steam. Once the vegetables have cooked (all of 8 minutes), the remaining water becomes a slightly thickened, nutrient-rich, reduction sauce concentrated in flavor from the vegetables and spices.  

Because of the sauce, this vegetable dish pairs well with grains/quinoa/beans/lentils, basically anywhere a little extra liquid is welcome. I like to make it with a lentil dal or mung bean curry (pictured), served over rice with the vegetables and their sauce alongside, all in one bowl.  This is another favorite one-bowl meal, and it's pretty delish if you ask me.

Speaking of one-bowl meals, all of this time I have neglected to tell you that my Mediterranean Bulgur Bowl was featured on Buzzfeed's 30 Delicious Meals In a Bowl! Thank you Buzzfeed!

Gently Stewed Cauliflower and Sweet Potatoes
Serves 4

Knob coconut oil (or ghee)
1 inch piece ginger, grated or finely chopped
1 tsp. mustard seeds (optional)
1 tsp. turmeric powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
1 small head cauliflower
1 small sweet potato
1 cup water
Heaping 1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. coconut butter or splash of coconut milk (optional)

Prepare the vegetables: Divide cauliflower into small florets and chop tender stem into bite size pieces. Peel sweet potato, cut lengthwise into 4 planks, stack planks (may want to do in 2 batches), and cut across the planks to make narrow batons.

Add coconut oil to a medium high-sided saute pan (one with a lid) over medium heat. Once coconut oil is just melted, add ginger and spices (mustard seeds, if using, through cardamom). Stir around to coat in oil and toast until fragrant (about 30 seconds). 

Add vegetables, stir to coat in spices, then add water and salt. (You want just enough water to come 1/3 of the way up vegetables, so you may need to adjust water according to the size of your pan).

Cover, reduce heat to a gentle simmer, and cook until cauliflower is just fork tender (8-10 minutes), stirring once halfway through. Remove from heat and if desired, stir in coconut butter or coconut milk. This is not necessary, the sauce is very flavorful without it. But it adds a rich, sweetness if that's what you're going for.


  1. 'Gently' is my favourite way to tray cauliflower and I've found that it works so well with coconut oil. Lovely recipe x

    1. Thanks Deena. :) I feel like the gentle approach really brings out the sweetness in the cauliflower, that coupled with the coconut oil. I actually used coconut oil here, not ghee, and you helped me realize that I wrote it backwards in the recipe! Am correcting it now.


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