Last week our CSA gave us a beautiful head of cauliflower. We had the choice between cauliflower or broccoli, and I really don’t care for either. But, I was interested in seeking out some unique recipes for the cauliflower and thought that maybe I could come around to it. Plus, it was too good-looking to turn down. I snatched it up and then came home, and snatched up this great stir-fry recipe from The New York Times.

There is a great column in the Diner’s Journal blog on the NYT website. Each week a different columnist takes a turn at contributing a vegetarian or vegan recipe to put together what has become “The Temporary Vegetarian.” This is great because I can sometimes consider myself a temporary vegetarian; I love a good veg-packed meal, but I sometimes can’t resist a juicy hamburger, delicious sausage, or a pulled pork sandwich. I’m sorry. But, I try as hard as I can when I cook at home to incorporate as many veg-friendly meals as possible. I also have a few friends, as well as a sister, who are on the vegetarian/vegan route, so I try to incorporate as many veggie meals as possible into this blog. This one’s for you, ladies!

Vegan Indian Stir-Fried Cauliflower
from The New York Times Diner’s Journal, originally adapted from Chef Hermant Mathur

1 large whole cauliflower, cut into 2-inch florets
2 tablespoons canola oil
3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 to 2 fresh Thai bird chilies (about 1 inch long), seeded and finely minced (I used jalepeno peppers)
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
small pinch chili powder
1/3 teaspoon turmeric
half a small orange bell pepper, cut into 1-inch dice
half a small red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch dice
1 1/2 very large heirloom tomatoes, or 3 large plum tomatoes, cut into 1-inch dice
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Immerse the cauliflower florets in a bowl of cold water and set aside.

Place a large, heavy-bottomed skillet with a lid over high heat, and add the oil. When the oil is shimmering, add cumin seeds and cook, stirring rapidly, until golden brown, about 30 seconds. Add 1 minced chili, coriander, cumin, chili powder and turmeric.

Drain the cauliflower, add to the skillet, and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring constantly to avoid burning. (If the mixture starts to stick, add 1 to 3 tablespoons of water.) Season with salt to taste. Stir. Adjust spiciness to taste, adding part (or all) of the second chili, if desired. Reduce heat to medium low. Cover, and continue to cook, lifting the lid and stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower is tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

Add orange and red bell peppers, cover, and cook for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, cover, and cook for another 2 minutes. Increase heat to high and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are soft and most of the liquid has evaporated. Stir in the cilantro, and serve immediately. If desired, serve with rice or bread.

This was a really beautiful dish. Like the article says, it is really vibrant and full of color. Also full of flavor. Definitely a healthy dish, but truthfully, I still am not crazy about cauliflower. I will probably cook with it again if I stumble upon it or if we receive it in our CSA, but definitely not my favorite vegetable. The flavors in this dish helped to make it a bit better, and I definitely recommend it to my vegan and vegetarian friends. I guess next time when I have the choice, I’ll stick with the broccoli.