I've been obsessed with turning cauliflower into things it's totally not.
Like polenta. Cauliflower makes great polenta. It's every bit as creamy and comforting as the real thing, but so much healthier for you.
You got to admit, regular polenta is pretty boring and bland unless you add mountains of butter, cream and cheese to flavour it. Not that I have anything against butter, cream and cheese, but I don't want to eat tons of it for dinner every night.
In this totally paleo + vegan version of polenta, the cauliflower is roasted with onions and garlic, so it has tons of natural sweet, nutty, buttery flavour. Once it comes out of the oven, it goes for a spin in the food processor till it's perfectly creamy, just like real polenta.
Topped with some seared mushrooms and toasted hazelnuts this cauliflower polenta becomes a great, healthy, veggie loaded dinner.
A few notes about making cauliflower polenta
You'll see that the recipe takes an hour to make, and that might seem like a lot if you want to make this after a long day at work. Most of that time though is hands-off while you're waiting for the cauliflower to roast. The hands-on time is only about 30 minutes, at most.
Here's how to save the most amount of time:
- Put the hazelnuts in the oven right away. There's no need to worry about waiting for the oven to heat up; the hazelnuts can start toasting while it's heating.
- Once you chop the cauliflower put it in the oven right away. Just like with the hazelnuts it can start roasting while the oven warms.
- Start the mushrooms sautéing next. While they're sizzling in the pan you can chop the onions, get the garlic ready and chop the hazelnuts.
- Next, clean everything up, pop the onions and garlic into the oven, then go chill out for a bit.
- Once the cauliflower is nice and dark roasted you'll be eating your cauliflower polenta in only 5 minutes.
If you're making this ahead of time
You can make the cauliflower polenta up to a day in advance and then warm it gently over low heat with a small splash of water added to the pan.
You can also toast the hazelnuts in advance. I will often toast more than I need and keep the extra on hand to toss into salads during the week.
If you make this Cauliflower Polenta, make sure you snap a pic and tag @theendlessmeal on Instagram so I can like and comment on your photos. I love seeing TEM recipes you guys create!
- ¼ cup hazelnuts
- 1 medium head of cauliflower, roughly chopped
- ½ medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, in their skin
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
- 3 cups chopped mushrooms (I like to use a mix of shiitake and bottom mushrooms
- ⅓-1/2 cup stock or water
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast (or sub parmesan cheese)
- For garnish: chopped parsley and hazelnut or argan oil
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place the hazelnuts on a small baking tray and toast in the oven for 7-10 minutes, or until they are golden and fragrant. Once the hazelnuts are out of the oven, increase the oven temp to 400 degrees. Roughly chop the hazelnuts once they are cool enough to touch.
- Place the chopped cauliflower on the baking tray and drizzle with one teaspoon of the oil. Put it in the oven and set the timer for 30 minutes. (You don't need to wait for the hazelnuts to come out of the oven first.)
- Place the chopped onion in a bowl and drizzle with ½ teaspoon olive oil. Place the garlic in a small piece of aluminium foil and drizzle another ½ teaspoon olive oil over top. Wrap the garlic into a package.
- After a half hour remove the cauliflower from the oven and turn each piece over. Add the onion to the cauliflower and place the foil-wrapped garlic on the sheet too. Return the baking sheet to the oven and bake for another 20 minutes.
- While the cauliflower is roasting, prepare the mushrooms.
- Heat the remaining one tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, stirring only occasionally, until the mushrooms are dark brown, about 8 minutes.
- Once the cauliflower comes out of the oven, put it, the onions and the garlic (remove the skin from the garlic first) into a food processor. Add the stock or water and the nutritional yeast or parmesan cheese and blend until it is creamy. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Divide the cauliflower polenta between 2 plates. Top with the mushrooms, chopped hazelnuts, parsley and a drizzle of hazelnut or argan oil..