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Roasted Rainbow Cauliflower with Thai Peanut Sauce

Roasted Rainbow Cauliflower with Thai Peanut Sauce (all photos from Deborah Brooks)

For those nights that you want a healthy meal, without too much fuss, the convenience of jarred sauces can be a savior. And I’m not just talking marinara sauce on a bed of pasta, which is definitely a go-to in my house. There are shelves of sauces from cuisines around the world to be had at supermarkets, specialty markets, high-end kitchen stores, even discount stores, such as this divine Thai Peanut Sauce that I purchased at Homegoods, a haven for imported foods. These sauces can also save you money as you don’t have to buy a cart full of spices and other ingredients you might not use often.

Sadly, the term “convenience food” has gotten a bad rap, lately. Every shortcut for making an easy but delicious dinner seems to have been lumped into processed aka “bad for you” food. Not so! The key is to know the terms and read the labels. If the ingredients listed are items that you would use in cooking, then chances are they are just fine for your health and well-being. Convenience often means less stress and that’s most definitely fine for your health and well-being!

Another issue, that I’ve recently noticed, is the pressure to scratch-make everything you eat. You can sense that from the TikTok content creators who serenely cradle newborns and watch over a bevy of well-behaved toddlers, as they farm the land and bake loaves of homemade bread from their backyard wheat crop for peanut butter and home-canned jelly sandwiches. Enjoy the content. Do what you need to do to get dinner on the table.

This rainbow cauliflower came about from just that feeling. I had done a lot of cooking for the Passover holiday. I was tired but didn’t want to go out. So I did what I always do when tired and at a loss for dinner. I went to the Wednesday Farmer’s market. It’s small, convenient and not overwhelming. I can always count on something catching my eye. As soon as I saw the overflowing bin of pre-cut rainbow cauliflower florets at the Country Fresh Herbs table I knew that I was going to make them the star of the meal. And I was going to keep it simple to amplify the convenience of pre-cut veggies. I turned a jar of store bought sauce into a homemade meal that was restaurant delicious by simply adding a few key ingredients. Served over rice it’s a complete meal for Meatless Monday or any other night.

Peruse the aisles of your local market for jarred sauces and enjoy a meal designed for an easy night of cooking.

Chef’s Tips:

1. Search the web to find Thai Peanut Sauce at a store near you or order online.

2. For peanut allergies change over to a jarred Indian Korma sauce and top with roasted cashews or roasted pumpkin seeds for a protein topper.

3. If you can’t find precut rainbow cauliflower, you can cut up fresh heads of cauliflower. Buy small heads if you’re mixing colors or use one extra
large head for a single color.

4. The pre-cut florets were different sizes so I cut the larger buds a bit smaller for even cooking.

5. Don’t overcook the cauliflower in the oven as it will continue to cook when added to the

6. The veggie broth thins out the sauce so that there’s plenty to pour over the rice.

7. Jasmine rice is more authentic for this dish but use the rice you like. For a higher protein option use brown rice.

8. Warmed naan bread is another delicious option to soak up the sauce.

9. I used roasted peanuts in the shell that I shelled and crushed in a plastic bag with a mallet. Ralph’s Kroger brand is always fresh and delicious and is available in the produce aisle. You can also use jarred peanuts though it’s harder to find unsalted, which I prefer.

Pre-cut Rainbow Cauliflower from Country Fresh Herbs

Roasted Rainbow Cauliflower with Thai Peanut Sauce

6 cups multicolored cauliflower florets
Neutral oil such as peanut or grapeseed
Kosher salt
1 small red onion (3/4 cup) diced
1 10 oz. Jar Thai peanut sauce or similar
1/2 cup vegetable broth

Sriracha sauce
Crushed unsalted roasted peanuts
Chopped fresh cilantro
Lime wedges

Cooked Jasmine or brown rice

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees convection roast or 425 regular bake with the shelf in the top third of the oven.
Line a very large sheet pan with parchment paper.

Toss the cauliflower with some of the oil and kosher salt to coat.

Strew in a single layer on the sheet pan. If your pans are small, use two pans and rotate during cooking.

Roast for about 20-25 minutes until the cauliflower is starting to blacken but still al dente, stirring up halfway.

Meanwhile sauté the diced red onion on low heat in 2 T of oil in a very large nonstick pan.

Cook the onion until softened about 10 minutes. Turn up the heat for a few minutes to get a bit of browning being careful not to burn. Stir up the onion often.

Add the broth and cook for a minute to pick up the bits of onion sticking to the pan.

Lower the heat and add in the jar of peanut sauce. Stir up vigorously to melt the sauce which is thick. Heat through being careful not to let the sauce burn or stick to the pan.

Keep on a simmer until the cauliflower is done.

When the cauliflower is cooked, remove from the oven and immediately add to the peanut sauce. Stir up to coat all of the florets.

Immediately transfer to a large serving bowl with a large bowl of rice on the side and let guests serve themselves or you can serve in individual rice bowls.

Top with a swirl of sriracha, crushed peanuts, chopped fresh cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lime.

Serve extra toppings on the side for guests to add more.

Some of the main Ingredients for an easy dinner.
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Deborah Brooks
Deborah Brooks
Deborah is currently a documentary film producer. She is also a former certified personal trainer and fitness nutrition coach. The shutdown of business due to Covid-19 and the implication of an animal wet market connection caused her to rethink her high animal protein food lifestyle. She has spent the last year exploring the world of plant based eating for her own health as well as the health of the planet and all of its sentient beings. Her recipes can be found on Instagram. She would love you to follow along on her journey.

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