Binge-worthy veggies

“Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie.” Jim Davis, American cartoonist

The above quote is certainly Garfield worth, but that kind of thinking is probably why many people shy away from not only full-on vegetarianism but the plant-slant lifestyle that I enjoy. Many Americans simply do not have much experience making vegetables taste good outside of baked goods and Thanksgiving sides, all of which are yummy but are too calorie explosive to be part of an everyday dinner.

If you want to add more fruits and veggies to your diet in a healthy-but-tasty way, try looking at cookbooks from cultures that elevate this food group. Italy, India, the Middle-East and Asia are great places to start.  Or let some of the great vegetarian web sites and magazines out there winnow the ideas for you.

This recipe began in the Vegetarian Times, under the name Harissa Cauliflower. I made it several times according to the VT’s directions. It was delicious, but par-boiling, baking and stir frying the same veggie for one dish was too time consuming for most nights. I wound up adapting it into a stir-fry. It tastes almost as good as the original version (minus the yummy, crunchy coating), but only takes a few minutes to prepare.

It’s so tasty, in fact, it’s binge worthy. I sometimes sneak into the fridge before bedtime and snack on a few cold florets. I love veggies, I really do, but not usually that much. Admit it, you want to try this recipe now. You can. Here is my speedy-prep version:

Binge-worthy Cauliflower

Stir fry 1 12-ounce package frozen cauliflower florets in 2 Tablespoons of olive oil. When florets are fork tender, add between 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of hot pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon ground cumin and 1 teaspoon of caraway seeds. Stir to coat.

Serve warm over brown basmati rice or toss with whole-wheat spaghetti. Unsalted cashews make a nice topping. This recipe doubles well, but you might want to taste before doubling the spices and adjust according to your own preferences.

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