(for the original text of this post about eating at home, see here. I realized after the fact it was a bit off the cuff rant-y and didn't really fit the recipe! I'm going to chalk this one up to pregnancy hormones.)
This recipe started out more about the polenta and less about the cauliflower but soon transformed into a dish where the polenta isn't even needed (a grain, like quinoa, would be just as wonderful and make this dish a good lunch). I love roasted cauliflower and the added roasted fennel is a bonus. M is always a bit suspect when he see's capers (I believe he thinks they are something else, less pleasant) and so I tend to chop the capers. Of course, if you are a fan, leave whole and maybe even add an extra teaspoon.Print
Roasted Fennel and Cauliflower Polenta
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 25 mins
- Total Time: 35 mins
- Yield: 2 to 3 servings 1x
- 3 cups cauliflower florets
- 1 small fennel bulb
- 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil, divided
- Zest from ½ lemon
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ½ cup chickpeas, drained and rinsed if using canned
- 1 teaspoon capers, chopped
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons fresh dill, minced
- ½ recipe for polenta or cooked grain (like quinoa)
- Preheat oven to 425˚. Break cauliflower into small pieces and chop the fennel bulb into medium pieces. Place in a roasting pan and drizzle with ½ tablespoon olive oil, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Toss together until cauliflower is well coated. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes until the cauliflower is tender and starting to brown.
- Once the cauliflower is tender, remove the pan from the oven and add in the chickpeas, capers, lemon juice, dill, and remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, stir to combine everything.
- Serve the mixture over polenta (as pictured) or tossed together with a grain.
Rabbit hole is right! Internet comment sections make me fear for humanity. I'm with you on the need to shift our priorities when it comes to how much of our income we are willing to spend on food. While there are some people who genuinely cannot afford to feed their families with fresh whole foods, there are many more for whom that is just a misconception.
Another thing that those types of comments make me think about is - to the extent that it is true that good food costs too much or takes too much time to make (for some), that shouldn't be an endorsement for eating processed foods, that should be a sign that we need to make some changes to our food system. When some people don't have enough money or time to make good food, that is a problem. One that, if we were a society that valued good food, perhaps we would be more motivated to solve.
Definitely and I have mad respect for those that are working 2-3 jobs trying to even put food on the table or even areas that are "food deserts" where there just isn't the food but like you said, there is also misconception (and I think lack of education) that hinders a progressive movement forward. Thanks for the comment, Janine!
YES! Pay the grocer (or better, the farmer) now for good food, or pay the doctor later for healthcare. Let food be thy medicine, people! I truly believe that good food is the root of a happy, healthy, fruitful life. We Americans just need to rethink our priorities when it comes to budgeting. Buying quality ingredients is so important. One tip that my mom taught me was to go into the grocery store with the mindset that you need three vegetables, a few fruits, a block of cheese, etc, but no specifics. Then buy what's on sale, and build dinner around what you find. Also, buying bulk grains, pasta, sugar, nuts, etc is usually a cheaper option. A trip to the store is much cheaper that way. There are ways to eat healthy on a tight budget!
Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar says
This looks like such a warm and comforting dinner recipe. Yum!
Sarah @ SnixyKitchen says
First, I completely agree. There are lots of these I'm thrifty on (most areas of my life, actually - I haven't bought shoes in nearly 2 years), but food is the area I splurge for healthy high-quality ingredients - without one ounce of guilt either. This dish has caught my eye and you've inspired me to add it to my meal plan this week!
thanks for sharing gorgeous recipes, your blog is always very inspiring and I look forward to get your new book.
I guess it must be difficult to deal with comments by ugly people snooping by just to complain and I wanted to give you my support. Probably happy readers like me do not take often the time to show appreciation for your work, but we do!
Although fruits and vegetables can be expensive at times, there are many ways to live on a budget while enjoying fresh and healthy ingredients, such as taking advantage of seasonal produce, offers and sales.
Many people that complain about fancy ingredients, probably do not mind squandering their resources on expensive frozen or ready meals or to eat out and spend a week worth of groceries in one go.
Eating healthy food does not need to cost a fortune, but definitely requires a shift in mind and some willingness to get cooking.
I understand there is a lot of effort there. Sometimes when I come home tired from work, the idea of cooking for my whole family is not exactly appealing, but a simple pasta with vegetable sauce can be done in little time and at very little cost and it is better than take away, fast food or store bought meals.
While the same facts about Americans simply not caring about their food enough to spend money on quality instead of quantity frustrates me to no end, as someone who grew up (and still has family) in rural America, I don't think that city dwellers tend to understand the difficulty of finding fresh vegetables - especially out of season - in most of middle America. You want something as simple as fresh green beans? Well, the only grocery store within an hour of my parents' home (a WalMart) has never- EVER - stocked them. There's about a week in the summer when they can get them from the farmer's market stand or their own garden, but that's about it. Frozen is literally their only option - it's not a matter of cost. If that's appalling to you, then hop on the bandwagon to take down "Big Food" - all of the good stuff is going into cans, freezers, and processed meals, as the farming industry has been all but monopolized by corporations.
That being said, yummy looking salad!
Hi Dani, I grew up in the rural midwest and can understand the same frustration (+ I would also say the same for the many people who are working 2-3 jobs and barely have time to sleep). I think there also needs to be a push to get more produce into the rural areas and even some urban areas where there aren't grocery stores. But I'm also a firm believer it's going to take the people who aren't in those situations stepping up and to use their purchases as showing that yes, everyone wants access to fresh produce (and of course, fighting back against the companies that do monopolize the industry + pushing to get more fresh produce into the 'food deserts'.!) I don't think there is overall 'easy fix' solution but about 100 different things that need to happen move in the right direction. Thanks for the comment!
Yes Dani, but the point to me is: why getting green beans out of season? They are very rarely stocked in my local supermarket and often at a crazy price. I simply substitute them with whatever is available at a convenient price. Often I am also puzzled at weird ingredients I read in some recipes, stuff that is impossible to find where I live, but I switch to other possible substitutions and personalize the recipe to my tastes and local availabilities. Big supermarkets prefer selling frozen or canned food because they have a longer shelf life and are more profitable. While I use them as well, when I compare the price (on a weight ratio) it turns out that actually the fresh produce (in season) is often much cheaper.
Yes, seasonality! This is what I was thinking while reading Dani's comment as well. While the ability to find whatever you want in the supermarket, all year round, is, in part, related to inequalities in regional availability, it is also a consequence of how our industrial food system ignores seasonality. I think moving towards a society that cares about good food is going to require that we let go, somewhat, of our need to have all foods available to us at all times.
I think this goes back to Erin's point about education. The standard North American diet is not a seasonal one, and learning to eat seasonally takes time and effort. This is a really interesting podcast on the subject: http://deconstructingdinner.ichannel.ca/year-round-vs-seasonal-eating/
Ksenia @ At the Immigrant's Table says
Hmm, it looks like I had missed a firestorm of comments around here! Well, I just wanted to say the recipe is gorgeous. I love cauliflower and use it all the time in winter.
Katie @ Whole Nourishment says
Roasted cauliflower is a favorite, but I haven't put roasted fennel with it before. Loving this idea, especially with the capers and dill. The lower prioritization of quality, local food in American is really sad, and you're right Erin, it's not a simple fix. Changes must happen on all levels, but it helps when people take personal responsibility and vote with their purchases, when possible, to create a stronger demand.
The recipe looks delicious and I am looking forward to making it. I love your website and the creative recipes that you create.
Sarah | Broma Bakery says
Absolutely stunning! Fennel and cauliflower is such a wonderful combination. Plus, seeing as my last name is Fennel, I'm partial to anything with fennel in it! 🙂
This recipe might actually get me to try fennel (I really don't care for the flavor usually, but roasting has a way of bringing out the best in foods).
BTW, I have tried with two different browsers to get to the link to your original post, and in both of them I get a 404 Error message.
Millie | Add A Little says
This looks truly wonderful Erin!
happy New Year and I hope you are enjoying your pregnancy 🙂
I love cauliflower and I love fennel. This sounds like a wonderful combination.
Thanks for inspiring.
Roasted cauliflower is le best!
Oh my stars, this looks so filling and brimming with goodies - need to give it a go asap!
Britton Loves | Lifestyle Food Fashion Beauty - http://www.brittonloves.blogspot.co.uk
This sounds so good! Such a great way to make the most of winter vegetables. Also, I now really want a huge bowl of comforting polenta. 🙂
This would make a fabulous lunch! Cauliflower and chickpeas are two of my favorite winter foods. Put them together and, swoon. Polenta sounds amazing, but I also want try this over quinoa for some extra protein. Off to make some roasted cauliflower now...
I just cooked this recipe. I wasn't even especially fond of fennel--but this is so delicious! My mind has been changed. Thank you for sharing with us.
Virginia Rudolf says
Thank you Erin, once more recipe to love, I came to yoursite only looking for some dinner ideas, but fall in love with all your ideas, i never think to mix some ingrdients like you do, is a whole new positive experience. Thanks so much.
This was lovely. I don't like the anise flavor, and truly dislike fennel seeds, but I give fennel another chance once in a while, wanting to include it in my diet because I know it's good for me. Cubed and deeply roasted and combined with all the other ingredients, it was more than ok. I'd encourage anyone who dislikes fennel to try this. Some feta crumbled on top was also a lovely touch.
I haven't cooked much with fennel, and this sounds like an amazing combination!