Cau­li­flower, onion and chick­peas: a tasty, bud­get-friendly side dish

The Hamilton Spectator - - FOOD - MELISSA D’ARA­BIAN

The pro­duce aisle is a healthy bud­get cook’s best place to start a su­per­mar­ket shop­ping trip.

By load­ing up the cart with bulky, nu­tri­ent-filled pro­duce, you’ll be less likely to grab pro­cessed foods from the mid­dle aisles. Plus, if you fo­cus on in-sea­son pro­duce, you’ll be get­ting some of the low­est cost nu­tri­ents in the store.

Buy a com­bi­na­tion of softer, more per­ish­able veg­gies, like leafy greens, to eat right away, as well as hardier veg­gies, such as car­rots, broc­coli, cau­li­flower that can last longer in the crisper drawer.

On a week­day night, you can open up that mini “veg­gie pantry” and roast up a tasty and healthy side dish in a snap. One of my favourite com­bi­na­tions is cau­li­flower and onion. I add in a drained, rinsed can of chick­peas to boost the pro­tein and fi­bre (and fill­ing fac­tor).

The ba­sic in­gre­di­ents are easy, cheap and can be swapped out easily ac­cord­ing to what else you have in the fridge.

To jazz up the flavour, I use a bit of red pep­per flake, lemon and tiny touch of za’atar, a ter­rific herb and spice blend. (But if you don’t, just use a mix­ture of dried oregano, dried thyme, lemon zest, se­same seed and harder-to-find spice su­mac — if you have it — in­stead.)

The mild spici­ness of red pep­per­in­fused olive oil com­ple­ments the sweet­ness of the roasted onions, and za’atar and lemon con­trib­ute to the over­all fresh­ness and tang of the dish. The prep can be done in min­utes, mak­ing this a great week­night op­tion. I like to serve it as a side with white fish, but it’s flavour­ful enough to be served along­side a cut of tooth­some meat. Or, serve over quinoa or brown rice for a meat­less main dish.

Roasted Cau­li­flower with Chick­peas and Onion MAKES 4 SERV­INGS

1 ta­ble­spoon olive oil 1/8 tea­spoon red pep­per flakes (or more for more heat) ¾ tsp (or more) za’atar (herb blend) ½ tsp kosher salt ¼ tsp black pep­per 1 small cau­li­flower, cut into bite-sized flo­rets, about 2½ cups 1 small yel­low onion, chopped, about ¾ cup 1¼ cup cooked chick­peas (gar­banzo beans), about one 15-ounce can, drained, rinsed and pat­ted dry 2 tbsp lemon juice

Start to finish: 25 min­utes Pre­heat the oven to 400 F. In a big bowl, mix to­gether the olive oil, red pep­per flakes, za’atar, salt and pep­per. Place the veg­eta­bles and chick­peas in the bowl, and toss to coat. Cover a bak­ing sheet with parch­ment paper and spread out the veg­eta­bles on it. Roast un­til cau­li­flower is ten­der and golden, about 20 min­utes, stir­ring once half­way through. Squeeze lemon juice onto the mix­ture, stir and serve.

Cook’s note: If you can’t find za’atar, sub­sti­tute: ¼ tea­spoon dried oregano or thyme, 1 tea­spoon se­same seeds and ¼ tea­spoon su­mac (if avail­able).

Per serv­ing: 204 calo­ries (58 from fat); 7 grams fat (1 g sat­u­rated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mil­ligrams choles­terol; 522 mg sodium; 30 g car­bo­hy­drate; 9 g fi­bre; 6 g sugar; 9 g pro­tein.

MELISSA D’ARA­BIAN, THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

The pro­duce aisle is a healthy bud­get cook’s best place to start a su­per­mar­ket shop­ping trip.

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