Looking to eat a bit healthier? Want to cut down on some calories without having to give up your favorite foods? There is a way to achieve both in one easy step and that is to substitute certain ingredients of your recipes with other food products. For example, if you are in the mood for some crunch, why not use cauliflower instead of potato when making some oven-baked chips? Add a bit of zing and taste to your dish with gremolata. Interested yet? Then keep reading!
Why Use Cauliflower Instead of Potatoes?
When it comes to eating foods that help you lose weight or you simply want to be more concerned and involved with what is going in your body, cauliflower can be a great substitution for a more starchy (and carb heavy) food like potatoes. Cauliflower is chalked full of nutrients and vitamins, containing high amounts of fiber, B-vitamins, and Vitamin K. It also has elements of antioxidants and choline which is essential for memory functions.
Cauliflower is not only a cruciferous vegetable, it is also a super food when it comes to maintaining good health and an active lifestyle. Why? Well it helps aid in digestion as it is extremely high in fiber and water which is important for reducing the chances of stomach upset or bowel issues. Introducing cauliflower into your diet decreases the risk of coronary heart disease, strokes, hypertensions, and obesity.
Some studies show that cauliflower contains certain antioxidants that help prevent cellular mutations and decrease the risk of both breast and reproductive cancers in men and woman. While this hasn’t been scientifically proven, it is never a bad thing to have more antioxidants running through your system, right?
What is Gremolata?
Not sure what we mean when it comes to gremolata? Well this is a seasoning mixture that is usually homemade using ingredients that can be found in most people’s refrigerators and pantries. It consists of an oil base (usually olive oil), a grated lemon zest (more on this in the cooking directions below), and minced garlic. Using fresh garlic is always recommended over using bottled or the spice but if this is all you have on hand? Then feel free to use this for taste.
Some people will add black pepper and salt to their gremolata but that is depending on the preference of the chef. Others will use fresh lemon juice as well as the lemon zest to add more of a citrusy tang to their topping.
This mixture is a great pairing with all types of vegetables and can even be used on poultry as a marinade.
How to Choose the Best Cauliflower and Lemons for Your Dish
Choosing the best vegetables is extremely important when it comes to preparing a home cooked meal in the comfort of your kitchen. You want to choose in-season vegetables whenever you can for the highest level of freshness and local farmer markets are always a good bet for scoring organic, fresh, and crisp produce.
Here are some other things to look for when it comes to choosing the best vegetables for your dishes – especially your cauliflower wings with gremolata:
- Decide between fresh or frozen cauliflower. Both are extremely high in nutrition but depending on your location? It might be less expensive to purchase frozen.
- When choosing your fresh cauliflower, look for healthy looking stalks with bright green leaves attached to the stem. The cauliflower itself should be bright white with no dark spots.
- Feel the cauliflower – if you can push down into the vegetable, its freshness leave isn’t that great as you want firm-to-the touch veggies.
Keep your leftover cauliflower fresh by storing in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to five days or use a plastic storage container. You can purchase ones now that has built-in vegetable crispers that allow the vegetables to breathe and remove condensation which can cause rot.
- Test the weight of the lemons first. You want a hefty weight in your hand, not one that feels dry and drained of juice.
- Find the brightest yellow you can in the selection of lemons as this is the perfect indicator of ripeness.
- Ensure the skin of the lemon has no wrinkling as this is a sign of older vegetables and the lemon juice inside might be in the beginning stages of drying up.
- Thin-skinned lemons are great for garnishes and recipes while thick-skinned lemons are ideal for zests.
Keep your leftover lemons fresh by storing them in a sealed container or vacuum-sealed bag and then placing them in the refrigerator. This will prevent them from drying out and going moldy. When sealed, fresh lemons can last up to approximately 28 days.
Ingredients you’ll need for Vegan Cauliflower Wings with Gremolata:
- 1 head cauliflower
- ½ bunch parsley
- 3 garlic cloves
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- zest of 1 lemon
- juice of 1 lemon
- Salt and black pepper to taste
How to prepare the Vegan Cauliflower Wings with Gremolata:
Step 1: prepare the cauliflower
Preheat oven to 400 F. Chop cauliflower into florets. Use a sharp knife to get the best cut and avoid tearing up the cauliflower excessively. Place the cauliflower florets in an oven-safe pan with a tbsp of olive oil. Bake until fork-tender. They should be browning on the top but not cook fully through for the best results.
Step 2: prepare the gremolata
Chop parsley and garlic into fine pieces using a sharp kitchen knife.
Step 3: add zest
Make your lemon zest by scraping a whole lemon against the zester side of your cheese grater. About a tbsp should be enough when mixed with the parsley and garlic.
Step 4: combine
Mix your chopped garlic and parsley in a bowl with olive oil, zest, and the juice of one lemon. You then add black pepper and salt to taste.
Step 5: toss and coat
Finally, coat cauliflower wings with gremolata sauce.
Serve and enjoy! This is a nice, easy recipe and a great healthy side dish or snack. Give it a try!