If you don’t already LOVE cauliflower, today is the day that I change your mind FOREVER.
But first let’s have a quick chat about the weekend (and I’ll show you some nice cauliflower photos as I tell the tale).
On Saturday morning I headed up to North Vancouver to run 5 Peaks Mount Seymour. I chose the enduro course, which was a 9K trail run – a very climb-heavy trail run. I guess any run with “Mount” in the name is a pretty good hint that there’s going to be plenty of elevation to cover, but this one was no joke! My expectations performance-wise were zero. I’ve been having some mild issues with my left knee, so I really just wanted to see my friends, spend some time outside, and work up a good sweat.
All three objectives were met, but the run definitely took me by surprise. I haven’t done much trail running at all this summer outside of 5 Peaks races because of my focus on triathlon, hence the low performance expectations in this race. This particular course had a couple of steep uphills which I and many other athletes power hiked, and while I’m not super speedy at these, my body seems to have the endurance to persist and climb for a long time without getting too fatigued. The downhills on the other hand, are what I struggle with.
The final descent on the course was a particularly steep and technical (at least by my standards) stretch with plenty of rocks and LOTS of mud, thanks to the crazy rain that poured down on Vancouver two weeks ago. After a climb that felt as though it went on forever, I think the descent was only about a mile. But because of the challenging terrain, I was cautious and took it slower than I’d like to have been going. Confidence is a major issue for me, especially out here where BC’s courses make Ontario’s trails look as flat as pancakes.
At one point, when it felt as though it was taking way too long to get to the finish (seriously, this was the longest 9K of my life!), I became conscious of the negative thoughts running through my head. Having practiced pulling my mind out of low spots in preparation for Challenge Penticton, I immediately thought to myself “you don’t sign up for races because you think they’ll be easy.”
I’ve talked before about how I’m a really predictable person, and how I like routines and planning. But trails have an inherent unknown about them – you’re constantly challenged to (very literally) think on your toes, navigating around the next root, rock, or other obstacle that stands in the way of you and the finish line. When I run downhill, I have a habit of leaning back a bit. In trail running, it isn’t always advantageous. On one part of the course, a lady I was talking to said she finds leaning forward a bit helps her descend faster. Noted, I thought, and tried to apply this as I continued down the course.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized lessons in trail running are very applicable to life. If we knew when the rocky tough times were going to hit, we’d plan ahead. But a lot of what happens to us is unforeseen, and only so much is within our control. Very much like the tip that woman gave me, we can lean back and let life happen, or we can lean into it, ready to face the challenges as they come.
Now that I’ve gone all meta and deep on you today, let’s get back to talking about cauliflower. I don’t normally post a recipe on Monday but I rrrrreallly want to share this one rightthissecond because it’s THE BOMB. Yes, worthy of ALL CAPS.
It also happens to pair very nicely as a side for the recipe you’re going to get on Wednesday, so 1) stay tuned for that, and 2) this might be a good time to invite some friends over for lunch because there’s a whoooooole lotta delish about to happen. Or not. You might want to eat it all yourself, and that’s fine too… because I did.
The inspiration for this Lemon Roasted Cauliflower came from one of Vancouver’s very well-known Lebanese restaurants, Nuba. If you’ve ever dined at Nuba, you’ve probably heard of Najib’s Special. It’s a dish of crispy cauliflower tossed with lemon and sea salt, served with a tahini-based sauce. I’m not sure who Najib is, but his special is one of my favourites on the menu.
I’m not 100% sure what’s in Nuba’s tahini sauce, so I freestyled on it a bit and made a paprika and garlic-ified version that turned out to be more zippy than the one they serve. If you can’t be bothered on the sauce, don’t worry – the cauliflower is still pure magic on its own. ?
Lemon Roasted Cauliflower
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 35 mins
Ingredients (3-4 as a side)
- 8 cups cauliflower, broken into florets
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tsp each paprika and cumin
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- a generous pinch of sea salt
- minced parsley, to garnish
- 3 tbsp tahini
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 large clove garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- Preheat oven to 425F and line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
- Chop cauliflower into bite-size florets and put them in a large bowl.
- In a small container, whisk together the lemon juice and olive oil. In another, combine all the spices.
- Pour the lemon juice and olive oil over the cauliflower and toss to coat as evenly as possible. (Alternatively, if you have more time, put the cauliflower into a large resealable bag with the dressing and let it sit in the fridge for a few hours).
- Sprinkle the entire spice mixture over the cauliflower and toss again thoroughly to coat.
- Pour the cauliflower out onto the baking pan and roast for 30-35 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. To make the florets more crisp, turn the oven to the broil setting during the last 10 minutes. (Just be sure to check in every couple of minutes to ensure nothing gets too dark!)
- For the sauce (totally optional, and also totally awesome): While the cauliflower cooks, prepare the sauce. Puree all ingredients in a blender or food processor, then transfer to a jar or small container.
- When the cauliflower is ready, serve drizzled in sauce with additional lemon wedges on the side.
So tell me…
- For those of you feeling my whole ‘leaning in’ vibe today, what areas of life do you hold back in?
- And for everyone, thoughts on roasted cauliflower? Tried it? Are you a raving fan like me? (If so, you might like this recipe too!)