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Wholefoodie: Caulibunga! Cut food waste with Susan Jane White’s cauliflower leaves lunch recipe

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Chickpeas and cauliflower leaves. Photo: Susan Jane White

Chickpeas and cauliflower leaves. Photo: Susan Jane White

Chickpeas and cauliflower leaves. Photo: Susan Jane White

This is a juicy, satisfying WFH lunch. Or make it a vegetarian main course by upgrading it with a poached egg and chilli sauce. Cauliflower leaves play the starring role, and are all too often unloved and misunderstood.

It’s also worth stewarding the aquafaba from this week’s tin of chickpeas into the orange, cardamom and ginger squares recipe from my January 16 column — see link below. Or freeze the bean water to make aquafaba brownies at a later date — the recipe is also linked below.

I love ingredients that topple into one another like dominoes. This is not about penury. It’s about mindfulness. Food waste rots our planet and our attitude. Roughly 61pc of food waste comes from households like mine and yours — not from supermarkets or the service industry. Astonishing, right? But get this: food waste now accounts for more emissions than the airline industry.

Yes, food is the problem. But food is also the fix. Let’s begin with cauli leaves, and end with a feast.

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Roasted cauli leaves. Picture by Susan Jane White

Roasted cauli leaves. Picture by Susan Jane White

Roasted cauli leaves. Picture by Susan Jane White

Roasted cauli leaves

Serves 2
You will need:
Leaves from 1 head of cauliflower
1 teaspoon crushed or ground cumin
Splash of olive oil
Flaky sea salt
200g (half a tin) tinned butterbeans or chickpeas, drained
To serve, you will need
200g plain natural yoghurt
A little lemon zest or orange zest
1 small clove garlic
Sprinkle of zaatar (optional jazz)


1 Fire up your oven to 200C, 400F, Gas 6. Slice your cauli leaves into bite-sized pieces.

2 Tumble the sliced leaves into a large bowl with the crushed or ground cumin, whichever you’re using, the olive oil, the flaky sea salt and the drained butterbeans or chickpeas, whichever you are using. Toss to coat evenly.

3 Spread the mixture onto a large roasting tin and give all the components space to roast. Cook in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until the butterbeans start to split and the cauli leaves start to colour. It’s worth shaking the tray halfway through to redistribute the contents.

4 Remove from the oven and divide between two plates (leftovers keep very well in the fridge for up to three days, and can be folded into an omelette). A fried egg is a loyal friend to any dish, but I love to mix plain natural yoghurt, some lemon or orange zest and garlic and serve on the side. If you have zaatar, by all means use it here for a delicious Middle Eastern vibe.

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