Last year, a few foodie friends raved about Adriana Valez’s Roast Cauliflower recipe. She used to write a food blog at “What I Made for Dinner.” These foodie friends loved her recipe so much; they eventually started reinterpreting the recipe with other spices, including a curry-spiced version. Remembering everyone’s twitter and facebook rave about her recipe last summer, one head of cauliflower was finally and recently brought on a whim.
My actual first introduction of cauliflower was when Mom steamed it with butter and herbs. We loved it so much, seldom were there leftovers. Most of the time when I see it today, it’s usually served raw with other vegetables on a platter. Let’s be honest, I’m not big fan of cauliflower’s raw and chalky taste.
The raw and chalky cauliflower mellows into a soft, sweet and nutty taste after roasting in the oven with olive oil, tons of sea salt and fresh black pepper. Reflecting to Valez’s recipe for roasting cauliflower, she’s unapologetic about not having precise measurements and directions. After all, it’s too simple of dish to make mistakes. I understand why all my foodie friends raved about her dish. It’s sweet and very fast to make. Perfect for a weekday meal.
To turn Valez’s side dish into a fulfilling dinner, couscous and shrimp were added to the roast cauliflower. Other wholegrains, such as millet or quinoa, are healthy substitutions for couscous. Roasting shrimp with the cauliflower instantly turns this dish into a hearty salad. To continue increasing the flavor, breadcrumbs mixed with almonds and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese were sprinkled on top for a savory, crunchy taste. Of course, adding arugula and fresh mint contributes a peppery and fresh contrast to the sweet, caramelize roast flavors of the cauliflower and shrimp.
The prepping to serving time of this Couscous with Roast Cauliflower and Shrimp is 40 minutes. Reading Valez’s inspiration for roast cauliflower, proves weekday meals and vegetables doesn’t always need to be a gooey gratin, raw and bland, or an unhealthy greasy takeout. Foodies know good food, but we don’t always want to be in the kitchen, especially after working long hours. It’s meals like these that keep us happy… and talking on twitter and facebook.
- 1 cauliflower head; stem removed and cut into small florets
- 4 scallions; ends trimmed and cut into 1 inch long pieces
- 1/2 lb. uncooked shrimp; deveined, cleaned, and shells removed
- Olive oil; as needed
- Sea salt and fresh black pepper; as needed
- Crushed red pepper; as needed
- 1-cup couscous
- 1-cup plain breadcrumbs (or 2/3 breadcrumbs + 1/4 cup finely chopped almonds)
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley
- Fresh baby arugula; as needed
- 2 to 3 tbsp. chopped fresh mint
- Toasted pine nuts; as needed
- The juice of half a lemon
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with foil.
- Toss shrimp with 3 tbsp. olive oil, sea salt, crushed red pepper and fresh black pepper. Set aside.
- Toss cauliflower florets with olive oil, salt, black pepper and red pepper. Roast for 20 minutes. If the cauliflower looks a little dry, drizzle a little more olive oil. Toss in the scallions and roast for an additional 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook the couscous according to the manufacturer’s directions. Add 2 tbsp. olive oil, salt, black pepper and red pepper to the boiling water. When fully cooked, fluff with a fork and set aside in a large bowl.
- In a small pot or skillet, heat 2 tbsp. of olive oil over medium heat. When warm add the breadcrumbs and toss until lightly fragrant. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- When the vegetables are soft and tender, add the seasoned shrimp and roast from 3 minutes for small shrimp to about 4 to 5 minutes for large shrimp. Remove vegetables and shrimp from the oven.
- Mix the toasted breadcrumbs, parmigiano-reggiano cheese, sea salt and fresh black pepper and parsley in a separate bowl.
- Toss together the roast vegetables, shrimp, fresh arugula, mint, pine nuts and lemon juice with the couscous.
- Spoon couscous into individual bowls, and top each serving with toasted breadcrumbs.
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