What do you do with cauliflower stems and tender leaves? Not many recipes feature this and it is a real shame if we just use the flower and chuck the stems in the compost. I remember my mum always cooked the stalks with some type of lentils and fresh coconut. With more awareness and education about eating from root to shoot and keeping waste to a minimum, it is refreshing to see sustainable cooking practices being adopted.
I created this recipe to prove a point to myself – the point being that with good planning and a bit of prep on the weekend, you can have a hearty, nutritionally balanced plant based meal on a weekday.
400g dried chick peas, soaked overnight at least for 8 hours in water
100g onion, finely diced
3-4 sticks celery, peeled and finely diced
400g cauliflower stems and leaves, peeled and evenly sliced
You might think chick peas and Puy lentils as an unusual combination to say the least, and throw in bulgur to the mix. I assure you it works well and makes a very hearty meal.
I make stock at home and of late been adding coriander stems as well as leek tops and the stock is just bursting with flavour. I do recommend making your own stock at home as it is so much more flavourful plus no nasties in the ingredients list! I mention here because your soup is only as good as the stock you use!
A piece of trivia for you – I always thought chick peas were native to the Indian subcontinent but now know that they were grown in Turkey about 8000 BC!!
Tagine or Tajine is a North African Maghreb dish which is named after the earthenware pot in which it is cooked. Algerian and Moroccan tagine dishes are slow-cooked savory stews, typically made with sliced meat, poultry or fish together with vegetables or fruit. Spices, nuts, and dried fruits are also used. Common spices include ginger, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, and saffron. Paprika and chili are used in vegetable tajines.
My version is a vegan one (omit the feta cheese as topping) and it is a one pot dish cooked over a couple of hours in the oven. Unfortunately, you can’t put the oven on timer and wander off as you need to stir once in a while and add the herbs in between! It is very flavourful and the prunes breakdown giving a bit of sauce and also makes the stew rich and gooey.
400g dried chick peas, rinsed and soaked in lightly salted water overnight