This month, V for Life (VfL) shares the recipe guide to a Vibrant, hearty roasted cauliflower salad with a nutty, protein-rich, tahini dressing.

Since there are only two fully vegetarian care homes in the UK, one of VfL’s major goals is improve the standard of vegan and vegetarian catering in existing homes. We seek to do this through our UK List, which is a geographical listing of organisations and care homes that make a special effort to cater for vegetarians and vegans. We are striving towards a vision where at least 1 in every 6 UK care homes are members of our UK List – and 1 in every 100 will be VfL accredited.

Many people are becoming more health-conscious, vegetarian and vegan meals have seen a surge in popularity in order to improve overall well-being. Studies have shown that well-balanced vegetarian diets can be beneficial for weight management, reducing the risk of certain chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and some types of cancer, all of which are essential in care homes in order to improve the quality of life.

This plant-based dish brings with it a well-balanced meal with plenty of flavour. Not only that, it looks beautifully visually appealing for your residents too!

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 30–40 minutes
Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 cauliflower
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 30g/1oz parsley, finely chopped
  • 100g/3½oz baby spinach

Dressing

  • 50g/1¾oz tahini
  • 120ml/4fl oz water
  • 15g/½oz smooth peanut butter
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp of cumin

Topping

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1tin/240g/8½oz chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and left to dry
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder

Garnish

  • 2 spring onions, sliced diagonally
  • 4 tbsp sliced almonds, roasted
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate seeds

Steps

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6. Cover a flat baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. Prepare the cauliflower by chopping into small florets of a similar size. Peel the onion, cut in half, then slice. Place the cauliflower florets and the onion in the tray, drizzle with oil and toss until coated.
  3. Roast the cauliflower and onion for 20 minutes. Stir the cauliflower and roast for a further 15 minutes.
  4. Prepare the dressing by adding all the ingredients into a food processor or use a stick blender and blend until creamy. Set aside until required.
  5. To prepare the chickpeas, make sure they are dry by patting with a paper towel.
  6. Preheat the oil and add the chickpeas. Fry until golden and crispy, then turn off the heat and add the topping spices. Coat the chickpeas and place them on a paper towel to cool.
  7. When the cauliflower is cooked leave it to cool slightly or completely.
  8. If using seeds from a pomegranate, slice the pomegranate in half and using a wooden spoon tap the back of the pomegranate over a bowl so the seeds fall out.
  9. Place roasted cauliflower and onions in the bowl and add dressing. Gently mix, so the florets get coated but don’t fall apart.
  10. Add the baby spinach and parsley, gently mix.
  11. Serve on a plate, then top with sliced spring onion, toasted almonds, and pomegranate seeds. Enjoy cold or warm.

CHEF’S TIPS: How to jazz up your salad

  • Why not add chickpeas (try seasoned and pan fried or roasted), rice, lentils, edamame or green beans to your salad?
  • Make hummus to dollop on the top of the salad instead of dressing.
  • Sprinkle pumpkin, sesame, or sunflower seeds on top.
  • Add herbs to lift your salad: parsley, dill or coriander.
  • Use spinach and rocket instead of gem lettuce for more nutrition and flavour.
  • Add roasted courgette, onion or squash.

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