Leaf and let leaf

I know you’ve waited a whopping 18 days for my contribution to society’s remedy to the January Blues – the January Greens – but it’s worth noting that simply eating more delicious vegan food all year is my preferred option.

This roasted cauliflower with braised tomatoes, rainbow chard and a vegan béchamel is a banker regardless of the month.

And if the only thing you take away from this recipe is that you’d probably eat more vegan stuff if there was a large helping of béchamel sauce on top of it, then nobody can tell me that the 19 days weren’t worth the wait.

[Gotts Street Park – Diego, Blue Flowers Music, 2021]

Shopping list (serves 4)
Braised tomatoes:
Vine tomatoes (roughly chopped) x 6
Rainbow chard (roughly chopped) x 200g
White onions (finely diced) x 2
Garlic cloves (minced) x 4
Chickpeas or other pulse (canned & drained) x 400g
Smoked paprika x 2 tsp
Chilli flakes x 1/2 tsp

Vegan béchamel:
Extra virgin olive oil x 2 tbsp
Plain flour x 2 tbsp
Cashew milk x 600ml
Salt x 1 tsp

Herb oil:
Basil x 30g
Parsley x 30g
Olive oil x 300ml
Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Large cauliflower (leaves removed) x 1
Garlic clove (minced) x 1

Set your oven to 160°C (fan)/180°C

In a baking tray, rub the cauliflower liberally with garlic, oil, salt and black pepper. Pour around 200ml of boiled water into the tray. Cover and place in the oven for three hours.

At the same time, in a large saucepan, you can set about making the braised tomatoes. Heat a large glug of oil, add the tomatoes and garlic over a medium heat, and cook for around 15 minutes. Season well with salt and black pepper. Add the garlic cloves, smoked paprika, chilli flakes and chickpeas, and continue to cook for another 10 minutes. Add a splash of water and then turn the heat right down to a simmer.

Cover and leave for three hours.

To make the green oil, simply combine all the ingredients with a hand blender, seasoning to taste with salt.

For the béchamel, heat the oil in a pan with the flour. Whisk until fully incorporated, before adding the cashew milk. Continue to whisk over a low heat for no more than five minutes, before switching to a wooden spoon once you have a creamy consistency.

Remove the cauliflower from your oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Slice the vegetable into quarters, and add these carefully to a large frying pan with some oil. Fry each side over a medium heat with a touch more salt for five minutes until golden brown. Remove from the heat.

Stir the chard into the hot tomatoes, mix well and serve topped with the roasted cauliflower. Finish with warm béchamel and the herb oil.



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