In the Kitchen: Cauliflower Polenta

Food processor? Assortment of seasonal veggies? You’re in luck this holiday…

In search of a unique holiday-appropriate dish for your friends and family? Look no further…Chef Greg turned to his local farmers’ market for inspiration in creating a quick dish that’s sure to appease the tastebuds of many in your holiday crowd.  A yellow cauliflower “polenta” topped with roasted root veggies, topped off with a pumpkin seed and kale pesto? Give us some of that, please. <3
Ingredients (feeds 4-6 people)
1 head cheddar cauliflower
10 small rainbow carrots
2 large parsnips
1 large turnip
12 Cremini mushrooms
1 cup baby kale
2 cloves garlic
2 shallots
1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (vegan option – 3 tbsp nutritional yeast)
Peel 2 shallots and 2 garlic cloves. Dice both very fine and slowly melt in 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO).  Set aside when very soft and slightly caramelized.
Break cauliflower down into small flowerets for roasting. Toss them with 2 tbsp EVOO and season with salt and pepper. Lay flat on a sheet tray — on parchment paper — and roast at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.
For roasted vegetables, peel and chop carrots, parsnips, turnip and leeks. Toss with 2 tbsp of EVOO, salt and pepper and lay out on a sheet tray — with parchment paper –and roast at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes .
For polenta, transfer all but 2 cups’ worth of roasted cauliflower to food processor with half of caramelized shallot and garlic mixture. Add 1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese or for a vegan alternative add 3 TBSP of nutritional yeast.  Pulse until smooth and season with salt and pepper.
For pesto, clean out food processor and add 1 cup baby kale,  1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds, remainder of caramelized shallots and garlic, salt and pepper. and 1/2 cup of EVOO. Pulse until smooth.
To plate, make sure everything is seasoned properly and then plate a bed of the polenta topped with roasted root vegetables and some of the reserved cauliflower flowerets.  Finally, top with pesto and reserved pumpkin seeds, and serve!


Photos and film by Michael Persico.



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