Monday, August 27, 2012

Baked Cabbage Wedges and Cauliflower Mash {GF + Veg. + Low-Carb}

I know, I know, you're wondering who in their right mind would think eating Baked Cabbage Wedges and Cauliflower Mash, let alone eating them together, sounded like a good idea for a tasty meal.  I was admittedly curious but reticent when I saw the recipes that inspired each of the components of my dinner.

Baked Cabbage Wedges and Cauliflower Mash
{Vegetarian + Gluten Free + Low-Carb}
The thing that really saved the idea of baked cabbage for me was that I've been eating baked cabbage in one form or another for a long, long time.  My grandmother immigrated from the Ukraine when she was just a kid and brought with her Eastern European food traditions like stuffed cabbage which I, along with the other grandchildren, got to eat--whether we liked it or not, sometimes.  Without that sort of early-life primer for appreciating cabbage I'm not sure I would've gone all in on the idea of baking cabbages marinated in lemon, oil, herbs and spices.  The Cauliflower Mash I was a little less hesitant about, mainly because in recent weeks I've seen and created for myself some amazing recipes that have convinced me that cauliflower is a most versatile wonder of the vegetable kingdom.  Raw and Low-Carb eaters, for example, make "cauli-rice" out of it and Low-Carb and Gluten Free eaters make totally grain-free pizza crusts using cauliflower as the dominant ingredient (I'll get to both of these phenomena in future posts).

The benefits of eating a meal of cabbage and cauliflower follow from the fact that both are super-low calorie, no-fat foods that are very low on carbs.  Neither is very high in protein (something to think about when you are meal planning) but both pack a lot of vitamin  C.  And, for those of you planning your meals around a tight budget, these are CHEAP vegetables.  Cooking for a specialty diet can get pricey when you have to acquire specialty, high-priced ingredients.  I assure you that you can eat you fair share (and more) of cauliflower and cabbage and not even begin to break the bank.

For the Baked Cabbage wedges recipe I used the following recipe, Baked Cabbage as inspiration but made my own changes to turn the dish into a vegetarian dish (I omitted the bacon) and I played around with the contents of the marinade to suit my tastes.

For my marinade I used the following ingredients:

  • 1/4c. olive oil (approx.)
  • 2 tblsp balsamic vinegar
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tblsp (approx) sun-dried tomatoes, minced
  • Fresh Herbs (basil, rosemary, sage); minced
  • Fennel Seeds, a dash
  • Dried Thyme, a dash
  • Salt + Pepper, to taste
  • Optional: grated Parmesan Cheese (about 1/2 tablespoon)

As detailed in the original recipe, linked above, I heated my oven to 425degrees F. and cut my cabbage into 4 wedges.  I laid the wedges on to individual pieces of tin foil large enough to totally encompass them and drizzled the marinade evenly onto the wedges before wrapping them tightly in the foil.  I cooked the wedges for 40minutes, but turned my oven off with about 15minutes left to go on my timer.  When the timer goes off, remove and serve!  Easy!  I topped my cabbage wedge with about 1/2 tablespoon of finely grated Parmesan cheese, but it's definitely not necessary so people with sensitivity to milk products or vegans can easily omit it.

For my Cauliflower Mash I took my inspiration from this truly decadent recipe, Decadent Cauliflower Mash but decided I was going to tone the decadence of my version down some.  I followed the recipe's instructions for the most part but decided to omit the heavy cream, butter, and the cheese called for in the recipe.  Instead, for my "wet" ingredients I used:
  • 4oz block of herbed goat cheese (chevre)
  • 1/3c. 0% plain Greek Yogurt
  • 3 tblsp olive oil (in place of cream and butter while cauliflower cooks in microwave)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (added to cauliflower while it cooks in microwave)
When my cauliflower mash was done cooking in the microwave (10minutes in microwave safe bowl that also contained my olive oil and minced garlic) I transferred the cauliflower, my goat cheese, and my Greek Yogurt to the blender.  I blended until I achieved a pretty smooth texture.  My mash was a little grainier than the mash in the recipe that used the butter, heavy cream, and copious amounts of cheese, so if you want your mash to be super soft and silky you might bump up the fat content some to achieve that texture.

My Baked Cabbage Wedges and Cauliflower Mash made for a great low-carb, vegetarian, and Gluten Free meal and I especially enjoyed pairing it with a nice glass of Zinfandel!

p.s.--I discovered, when I made dinner tonight using my Cauliflower Mash, that it makes an EXCELLENT healthier substitute for creamy-style polenta!  Who knew?  Throw some tomato-veggie ragu on top and you're good to go.

Happy, Healthy, Weird Eating!

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