Switching jobs involves plenty of adjustments: new co-workers, new office, new tasks, new commute, new everything. It’s been a month since I started at HuffPost Live, and I’ve mostly gotten used to it (aided by the fact that I got to take pics of Tom Colicchio today. Keeping the “AHHHHH! Tom. effing. Colicchio.” thoughts to myself was really difficult.)
But the hardest change has been the schedule. I’d gotten really used to working 7:45-3:45, which gave me plenty of time to come home, work out, cook and eat by my obscenely early dinner time. But since my hours have been pushed back to the more normal 9-5-ish, I often find myself in a post-work post-spin class cooking frenzy, throwing things into a pot and running into the shower while praying that my apartment doesn’t burn down because I left the stove unattended.
(I could theoretically Seamless my way out of this problem, but I told myself I wouldn’t this year and anyways, some days I’m too famished to even wait for the delivery order. True story: one night I came home so hungry that I didn’t even stop to take my coat off before cooking. My roommate has gotten so used to my crazy that she didn’t even bat an eye.)
All of this is a long way of saying that I’ve become extremely interested in quick dinners. Obviously I’m not the only person in America with this problem — the Interwebs are rife with recipes labeled fast and/or easy, and grocery stores are stacked with products to make dinner more convenient.* Anything that requires minimal dishes and cooks itself is a major plus, and if it’s borderline healthy, jackpot.
This roasted cauliflower salad fits both of those criteria. It’s a riff on my favorite roasted cauliflower, bulked up with olives, feta and pine nuts for a Greek-inspired main-dish salad.It requires just one foil-lined baking sheet and one skillet for dry roasting, and the 30-minute baking time is perfect for taking off your coat/showering/unwinding. You could add whole-wheat penne to make it a more well-rounded meal, but as we know, that’s not really my thing. Savory and tangy and bright, this packs quite a flavor punch for something that takes no effort at all. Isn’t that what a weeknight dinner should be about?
*Whether this is good or not is debatable. I’m all for buying pre-cut vegetables — I made this dish with pre-cut cauliflower florets from Fresh Direct — but far too often, convenience = processed. There are many, many articles out there on the dangers of eating too much processed food: this NYT Mag article has been everywhere and I’m anxiously awaiting my copy of this book. By no means am I a whole foods junkie (I still like my Cheetos!) but I’ve been reading a lot about food vs. “food” and it’s fascinating and also somewhat shocking.
Roasted Cauliflower Salad
– 1 small head cauliflower, chopped into small florets
– 2 cloves garlic, chopped roughly
– 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
– juice from half a lemon
– salt and pepper, to taste
– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– 1/2 cup pine nuts
– 1 cup olives, sliced (I used a Greek mix, but anything will do)
– 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1) Preheat the oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with tin foil.
2) Toss the cauliflower with garlic, crushed red pepper, salt, pepper and olive oil. Arrange in a single layer in the baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes, tossing occasionally, until florets are browned. Let cool slightly.
3) In a small dry skillet, toast the pine nuts on medium heat until browned slightly, about 5-7 minutes.
4) Toss the cauliflower with the toasted pine nuts, olives and feta. Serve warm.