A Year of Recipes: #20

(Experimenting with better lighting...) Apple cider vinegar, coconut milk, olive oil, ginger powder, maple syrup (the real stuff, mind you), Sriracha <3, garlic powder, sesame seed oil, quinoa, cauliflower, collard greens

Experimenting with better lighting, lots of room for growth here…
Apple cider vinegar, coconut milk, olive oil, ginger powder, maple syrup (the real stuff, mind you), Sriracha <3, garlic powder, sesame seed oil, quinoa, cauliflower, collard greens

In my experience cooking thus far, I’ve found that vegan recipes tend to be some of the most challenging dishes to make, but always worth the effort because the flavors are unique and bold! For my third and final recipe of the holiday weekend I chose to end with a challenge and make a Quinoa Cauliflower Bowl with Almond Sriracha Sauce.

This recipe has four parts, with several steps each, and I went into it anticipating this could be a big failure. But like my attitude towards cooking in general, I dove right in ready for whatever happened!

IMG_5339The first part is cooking a half cup worth of quinoa (which then becomes one cup.) I’ve always cooked my quinoa with water and sometimes salt, but never with oil or Sriracha. The sesame oil has a strong “burnt” smell and I was worried it would be too strong in the finished product. And of course, I doubled the Sriracha at this step.

IMG_5343

Will baked cauliflower even get crunchy?

The second step is preparing the cauliflower, by tossing it in a sauce and baking in the oven. I am starting to believe Kroger only sells giant heads of cauliflower, because even with the smaller one I found required I had to double the recipe for the sauce/coating. Again, I used extra Sriracha and worried about the smell of the sesame oil. They weren’t super crunchy coming out of the oven but I don’t think I could have cooked much longer without burning.

Stems easily removed!

Stems easily removed!

The third step involved working with a brand new ingredient for me – collard greens! A classic Southern item (usually made unhealthy with all the fixin’s.) I didn’t even know exactly what I’d be looking for at the store, but a quick Google search and trip through the produce aisle later, I had me some greens.

They were actually easy to work with, I just had to cut out the stem running down the middle and then cut them chiffonade style. I had no idea what that meant, so I sang teach me how to chiffonade to myself and looked it up. It basically just means rolling a stack of leaves up so you can cut them into thin ribbons more easily. I then had Teach Me How to Dougie stuck in my head, which I listened to while I chiffonaded away. Those went into a small pot with some oil and garlic powder to soften them up.

I'm always excited to learn a new skill or technique in the kitchen.

I’m always excited to learn a new skill or technique in the kitchen.  Not perfect, but good enough for my dinner!

IMG_5353Finally I was nearing the end of this long recipe. I just had to make the sauce. The recipe recommended making it in a blender but I did not want to get my food processor dirty so I just mixed it in a bowl. I was worried I had made a huge mistake but it worked just fine! I am pretty sure that coconut milk is black magic, seriously, that stuff is awesome.

To serve, I put half of everything in a bowl. For some reason I worried this was going to taste awful, but it was amazing!  Each of the four parts was delicious on its own account, and then combining them together was perfection, especially with that sauce blending it all together.  I was just disappointed that I could only eat half.

Those vegans know how to make a tasty recipe.

Flavor: 4/4
Ease: 2/4 – The multiple steps aren’t technically challenging but you have to make your quinoa…then you have to make your cauliflower…then the collard greens…then the sauce…
Guiltless: 2/4 – The ingredients themselves are not bad, but the calorie content was a little high for a serving size that was certainly not generous. I think there might be some ways to cut this down to a reasonable level (mostly in the sauce) but I couldn’t eat this every day.
Leftovers 4/4 – I kept half of the sauce in a Tupperware container and added the next day after reheating my leftovers. Almost as good next day!

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