Tahini Cauliflower Bites on Greek Chickpea Rice Pilaf
A satisfying and complete meal with rice, veggies, beans, greens and nuts; wholesome and packed with flavor and nutrients.
by priti malhotra
Priti learned to cook under the tutelage of her mother, an excellent cook, who was ahead of her times, experimenting with recipes and ingredients that were not staple in Indian kitchens at that time. For example, she made taco shells from scratch, when very few around knew what a “taco” was. Priti, through osmosis, absorbed her passion for creativity and stellar food presentation.
Now, Priti creates easy to follow, non-fussy, vegetarian and plant based recipes, melding the traditional with the new. She is always on a look out to try new ingredients, oils, spices, and to create something different, adapt and merge together food from different cultures. When she entertains friends, she likes to display, on her kitchen island, attractive bite-sized foods that go well with wine. Priti also enjoys exploring off-the-grid bars, wineries, coffee shops and restaurants and soak in everything that her beautiful town and state has to offer.
Tahini Cauliflower bites
1 package organic cut florets, washed, rinsed and pat dry
1 tbsp tahini
11/2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp grated ginger
1/2 tsp za'atar
1 cup uncooked rice soaked for 2 hours, long grain Basmati preferably
1 can chickpeas drained and rinsed
1/2 red onion finely chopped
1 large clove garlic chopped
1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp tahini
1/2 tsp turmeric
juice of one lemon
2-3 tablespoon water
11/2 tsp cumin
1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds
salt and red chili flakes
1/2 tsp sumac, 1/2 tsp za'atar
2 cups arugula
Slivered almonds - lightly toasted
Mix all the ingredients for the cauliflower bites, except for the cauliflower, in a bowl. Carefully toss in the cauliflower florets and coat them with the tahini mixture evenly. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lay the florets on baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for about 20 min. Broil for minute so that they are slightly crisp on the edges.
For the rice: In a mixing bowl, add the tahini, lemon juice, za'atar, cumin, a teaspoon of salt and 2-3 tablespoons water. Make a smooth paste and set aside.
In a large stainless steel pan, add a tablespoon of oil, the chopped onions, and the garlic. Let them cook on medium heat till the onions are soft. Add a teaspoon of salt. Carefully toss in the drained chickpeas and sauté for a minute. Flavor with a little bit of cumin and red pepper flakes. Drain the rice and add it to the chickpeas. Pour in the tahini lemon sauce and mix gently. Add 2 cups of water, another 1/2 teaspoon of salt and give it a stir. Bring the heat to medium-low, cover with a lid, and cook until the water is fully absorbed. Stir the rice gently from time to time during this process.
Once the liquid is absorbed, give the rice a final fold gently with a spatula. Make sure that the grains of rice do not break. Cover with a lid and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Adjust salt to taste.
In a large serving bowl, toss the arugula with a teaspoon of olive oil and a small squeeze of lemon juice. Carefully ladle the chickpea rice over the greens. Top with the baked cauliflower bites and toasted almonds. Sprinkle with sumac, and a little bit of za'atar. Serve immediately.