This month, we’re cooking our way through Deborah Madison’s freshly revised New Vegetarian Cooking For Everyone. Senior web editor J...

This month, we’re cooking our way through Deborah Madison’s freshly revised New Vegetarian Cooking For Everyone. Senior web editor Jessica Mordo takes a stab at this healthy side dish.

I’m kind of a stickler for feeding my family well. I strive to make a fresh, home-cooked meal using primarily whole foods most nights of the week, even when I’m squeezed for time. I mean, sure, I might slip and make English muffin “pizzas” once in a blue moon, but I usually manage to deliver on my goal. While veggies are included in every meal, they’re usually given short shrift in terms of creativity. Translation: lots of steaming, lots of simple roasting. It all gets eaten, but I do get the occasional request to spice things up in the veg department. I needed to up my game, too, with my Thanksgiving veggie side dish duty. A new dish road test was in order.

Why this recipe? Enter this stupid-easy yet remarkably flavorful roasted cauliflower recipe. It hit all the marks: I had all the spices in my pantry already (score), everyone in my family likes cauliflower (+1), and it required less than five minutes of prep (ding, ding, ding, we have a winner!).

What’s it like to make? The aforementioned ease of preparing the dish is what drew me to the recipe—and allowed me to quickly throw the ingredients together and let my oven do most of the magic while I could deal with the other components of the meal. The only snag was working with coconut oil, which tends to congeal in the pantry. It therefore required some preheating so it could dissolve and be more evenly distributed when tossed with the cauliflower and spices. On the other hand, I welcomed the opportunity to cook with this healthy oil, since I don’t use it all that often.

How did it turn out? The result was spot-on. The veggies came out of the oven moist and flavorful. The coconut oil added a subtly sweet element to the dish, and the spices lent the ordinarily bland vegetable a golden hue which made it all the more appetizing. All the cauliflower was gobbled up, including by my picky three-year-old. I didn’t wind up adding the yogurt, as I really wanted to enjoy the flavors of the spices without a cooling element, but I’m sure it would be tasty.

Will I make it again? Absolutely! Now I have a new veggie dish to put into the rotation. And while this recipe is perfect for a weeknight meal, it’s tasty enough for company and will definitely be worthy of bringing to Thanksgiving.

RECIPE: Roasted Cauliflower with Turmeric, Spice, and Cilantro

1 large cauliflower

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon paprika, plus more to finish

1 teaspoon roasted, ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

3 tablespoons sunflower seed or coconut oil

Freshly milled pepper

Yogurt, to finish, optional

Handful cilantro leaves, for garnish

Heat the oven to 425º F. Cut the cauliflower into small florets and slice or dice the stem. Toss with the spices, salt, and the oil until well coated, then turn onto a sheet pan in a single layer and roast until tender, about 30 minutes, possibly longer depending on the size of the florets. Turn the cauliflower as it cooks so that it browns evenly.

When done, turn the cauliflower out onto a platter. Taste a piece for salt and add more if needed. Season with pepper, drizzle yogurt over all, add a final dash of paprika, and garnish with the cilantro leaves. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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