I was having lunch with a friend this weekend and she mentioned that she never really knows what to do with cauliflower. Now, I can make quick work of an entire head of cauliflower this way, but it got me thinking about turning cauliflower into an elegant main dish.
I’m not sure if I hit “elegant” on the head, but this is creamy, insanely good, and will literally have you licking the plate. The marriage of cashew cream, dijon mustard, tarragon, and white wine is a vegan take on a classic French pan sauce. You’ll feel pretty sophisticated eating this, that is until the bowl-licking starts.
Enjoy, and please let me know what you think!
- 1 head of cauliflower, chopped into small florets
- 4 cups veggie broth (or water)
- 1 cup white cooking wine
- 1 T dried tarragon
- 1 T oil or Earth Balance
- 2 leeks, white parts only sliced very thin
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup raw, unsalted cashews
- 1 cup water
- 3 T dijon mustard
- ½ large lemon, juiced (about 2 T)
- salt and pepper to taste
- fresh chopped tarragon and parsley to top the cauliflower
- starch (try brown basmati or red quinoa) to serve it over
- lemon garlic kale to go on the side (recipe at bottom of that post)
- Start with your leeks, wash them well (those dirty little things!) and thinly slice just the white parts (up until they start to turn pale green, see photos below). Then heat your oil or Earth Balance in a large sauté pan over medium heat and cook the leeks until they are caramelized (about 10 or 12 minutes), adding the garlic after a few minutes, and stirring very often as to not burn the leeks or the garlic.
- While the leeks are cooking boil your cauliflower florets in the water, wine, and dried tarragon for 6 to 7 minutes or until cauliflower is fork-tender (but not too soft!). I like the use the leftover broth here to thin out my finished dish and also to cook my grains (I like to server this over brown basmati cooked in this broth).
- Make the dijon cashew cream by blending (in a high-speed blender) the cashews, water, mustard, and lemon juice until very creamy. See notes on methods for making cashew cream without a high-speed blender in this post.
- Add the drained cauliflower florets and the dijon cream to your sauté pan and cook over low heat for 10 more minutes, tasting and seasoning with salt and pepper as you go.
- While this finishes and I wait for my rice, I like to make a side of greens. I think kale, collards, or brussel sprouts cooked with lemon and garlic is a perfect side (see lemon-garlic kale recipe at the bottom of this post).
- To finish the cauliflower, use about a half a cup of the cauliflower boiling liquid to thin out the sauce just before serving, which also incorporates the white wine flavor.
- Top with chopped fresh tarragon and/or flat-leaf (Italian) parsley (see note about subbing for fresh tarragon).