Inspired by... 3: Cauliflower Steaks with Smoky Red Pepper Sauce and Barley Bean Pilaff-vegan, gluten free,soya free

 The Chubby Vegetarian is created by Justin Fox-Burks and his wife Amy Lawrence, from Memphis in the USA. It was one of the very first blogs I started following three and a half years ago when I cautiously dipped my toes into the blogosphere, and I still await every new post with eager anticipation. They are highly creative professional people who really know their foodie stuff and are always on trend, yet have a friendly, relaxed vibe at the same time, with bags of enthusiasm, which makes for engaging reading. They recently published their first book,  The Southern Vegetarian, and are already working on a second. While they are not vegan, many of their recipes are, and those which aren't can be usually be veganised.This recipe doesn't actually attempt to replicate one from The Chubby Vegetarian; rather it contains some TCV elements that have inspired me, such as vegetable "steaks" (they have used portobello mushrooms, pumpkin and cauliflower in their recipes), smoky flavours and the use of fresh herbs. I created it  to feed four of us; in the end, there was a bit too much of the barley pilaff but that might have been because not everyone was very hungry. A succulent roasted cauliflower "steak" is a tasty alternative to steaming cauliflower, and retains lots of texture and flavour. My aim was to ensure the "umami" (Japanese for a type of tangy, slightly salty, savoury taste) in this meal, which was achieved by the miso in the sauce, the nutritional yeast in the barley and the judicious use of a little lemon juice.
1 large head of cauliflower
1 tab olive oil
a sprinkling of seasalt

For the sauce:
3 medium-sized red bell peppers (capsicums)
2 tabs sweet smoked paprika
1 tab regular paprika
1/2 tsp compound hing
2 tsps organic brown rice miso
1 tab lemon juice
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tab tahini

  • Wash and de-leaf the cauliflower, and slice it top to bottom into steaks about 2cm thick. If you leave a little stalk on, the slices will hold together.
  • Brush the slices with a little olive oil and seaslt and lay them flat on a baking sheet. grill on medium-high for about 8 minutes each side, until starting to brown- not too much, mind, as charred food can be carcinogenic. It should be cooked through, but a little more al dente than steamed cauliflower.
  • While the cauliflower is cooking, make the sauce: Quarter, de-seed and grill the red peppers until the skin is wrinkling and they are browning at the edges. Set aside to cool. (Unless your blender can handle them hot.)
  • Blend everything together and warm through gently in a small saucepan before serving on top of the cauliflower steaks.

As for the barley bean pilaff recipe; you'll have to wait a day or two, as it's coming in a separate post because it's so delicious it deserves it's own!
By the way, we're chuffed to bits we got a shoutout from The Peace Patch, a fascinating vegan blog which is currently running a series on daily food festivals and linking them to other blogs, kind of acting as a hub. Check out what was said about us and which of our recipes were featured...
...and here's the first daffodil of Spring from our garden!


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