Jul 13, 2016

Charred Cauliflower with Romesco & Crispy Chickpeas

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr
Charred cauliflower is served tossed with red pepper romesco sauce, crispy chickpeas and golden raisins in this vegetarian side.

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I’m on a big cauliflower kick right now. Maybe it’s because I finally realized that it doesn’t have to be served as a boiled, tasteless side. The addition of balsamic helps the cauliflower to caramelize and bring out the sweet, nutty flavor.

Charred Cauliflower with Romesco & Crispy Chickpeas

What is Romesco?

Romesco is a red pepper and almond based sauce that originated in Catalonia, Spain. The rich and creamy sauce is delicious on anything from bread, fish, meats and veggies. The best part? It can be made in the blender in just a few minutes.

While it is often made with bread to thicken the sauce, this version is made without it. Since the cauliflower is tossed in the sauce you want it to be thinner than you would make it when serving it as a dip. The romesco can be made up to a week ahead of time and refrigerated in an airtight container.

Charred Cauliflower with romesco and crispy chickpeas-38.jpg

Key Ingredients in This Recipe

  • Almonds – Almonds are added to romesco to both thicken the sauce and add a nutty flavor. The sauce almost always includes almonds though sometimes hazelnuts or pine nuts are used as well.
  • Chickpeas – Chickpeas, also called garbanzo beans add texture and protein to this roasted cauliflower dish while keeping it vegetarian. Using canned chickpeas in this recipe cuts down on the prep time in this recipe, just make sure you rinse and dry them prior to roasting them.
  • Cauliflower – I buy a head of cauliflower and cut it into florets – it’s usually more cost effective than buying a pre-cut bag of florets!
  • Raisins – I use golden raisins or sultanas in this recipe to add a sweet contrast to the tangy romesco. They are smaller and sweeter than regular raisins though they can be used interchangeably in this recipe based on availability.
Charred Cauliflower with romesco and crispy chickpeas-32.jpg

How to Make Roasted Cauliflower with Romesco and Crispy Chickpeas

For the romesco:

  1. Toast the almonds. Heat a medium sauté pan over medium heat, add the almonds and toss until toasted and fragrant, about 6 minutes.
  2. Simmer garlic in olive oil. In a small saucepan over medium heat add olive oil and garlic and bring to a simmer until the garlic is golden brown, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
  3. Make romesco in food processor. In a food processor or blender add the toasted almonds, bell pepper, ­­­tomato paste, garlic, paprika and cayenne then pulse until chopped.
  4. Add olive oil and vinegar. With the motor running slowly add the olive oil and red wine vinegar until a paste forms and the mixture is smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

For the crispy chickpeas:

  1. Toss chickpeas in oil. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Dry chickpeas as much as possible then toss in olive oil and arrange in a single layer on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  2. Cook until crispy. Roast until the chickpeas are crispy, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool then season with salt and pepper.

For the charred cauliflower:

  1. Heat oven. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
  2. Roast cauliflower. In a medium mixing bowl toss cauliflower with olive oil, garlic and balsamic vinegar. Season with kosher salt and pepper then spread in a single layer on an aluminum-foil-lined baking sheet. Roast cauliflower until tender and slightly charred, about 25 minutes.

To serve:

  1. Assemble and serve. Add the cauliflower to a large mixing bowl and toss with ½ cup of the romesco sauce then place in a serving dish and top with the crispy chickpeas and golden raisins.
Charred Cauliflower with romesco and crispy chickpeas-29.jpg

Other Recipes to Try

If you enjoy this recipe, I recommend checking out some of these:

Charred Cauliflower with Romesco & Crispy Chickpeas

Print Pin
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the romesco:

  • ½ cup raw almonds
  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 canned oil-packed fire-roasted red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the crispy chickpeas:

  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Pinch black pepper

For the charred cauliflower:

  • 1 large head cauliflower, about 1 pound, cut into florets
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons golden raisins

Instructions:

For the romesco:

  • Heat a medium sauté pan over medium heat, add the almonds and toss until toasted and fragrant, about 6 minutes.
  • In a small saucepan over medium heat add olive oil and garlic and bring to a simmer until the garlic is golden brown, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
  • In a food processor or blender add the toasted almonds, bell pepper, ­­­tomato paste, garlic, paprika and cayenne then pulse until chopped.
  • With the motor running slowly add the olive oil and red wine vinegar until a paste forms and the mixture is smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

For the crispy chickpeas:

  • Preheat oven to 400ºF (200ºC). Dry chickpeas as much as possible then toss in olive oil and arrange in a single layer on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  • Roast until the chickpeas are crispy, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool then season with salt and pepper.

For the charred cauliflower:

  • Preheat oven to 400ºF (200ºC).
  • In a medium mixing bowl toss cauliflower with olive oil, garlic and balsamic vinegar. Season with kosher salt and pepper then spread in a single layer on an aluminum-foil-lined baking sheet. Roast cauliflower until tender and slightly charred, about 25 minutes.

To serve:

  • Add the cauliflower to a large mixing bowl and toss with ½ cup of the romesco sauce then place in a serving dish and top with the crispy chickpeas and golden raisins.

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