summer squash red onion pizza califlour foods

Summer Squash & Red Onion Pizza

I’m a gal that loves her pizza, and I am blessed to live in one of the undisputed pizza capitals of the country. I mean, within three blocks of my apartment, I have a Domino’s, a Papa John’s, a Little Caesar…

😏

But in all seriousness, between Pizza Palace up here in my my ‘hood (Inwood, baby!) to Sal & Carmine’s on the Upper West Side to hot spots like Roberta’s and Emily, it’s easy to be close to a good slice.

That being said, I always love to take a break from the traditional and funky NYC slices for something that’s a bit more nutrient-dense.

summer squash red onion pizza califlour foods

One of my favorite Instagram healthy living foodies is Elia of Feed Your Sister. Over the past few months, she’s introduced me to some excellent products to add to my pantry. One of these products is the gluten-free cauliflower-based crusts from Calilfour Foods. Now, I have no major food allergies or aversions (…save for my freak Brewer’s Yeast allergy, but it’s pretty damn easy for me to avoid beer and Vegemite. Ha!) and have found no change within my body if I’m eating gluten or not. Still, eating something cauliflower-based is definitely better than eating a ton of refined carbs within a traditional pizza crust. I attended a networking event Elia hosted a few weeks back, and she generously gifted all of her guests with two of their plant-based crusts!

summer squash red onion pizza califlour foods

Ahhhh, the possibilities…

summer squash red onion pizza califlour foods

I decided to go with what I had a large amount of in my vegetable crisper: summer squash and red onions! I spread a generous layer of ricotta cheese over the baked crust, loaded it with the squash and onions, topped it with fresh mozzarella – because of course – baked it per the directions, and I had a light but satisfying meal. Also, it was easy! Start to finish, it took less than 30 minutes.

summer squash red onion pizza califlour foods

Let’s be honest: I love a quick meal that’s healthy and allows me to get back to binge watching shows on Netflix in the evening. Haaa.

summer squash red onion pizza califlour foods

NOTE: This post was not sponsored by Califlour Foods. I am merely an enthusiastic new fan. Ha!

Summer Squash & Red Onion Pizza
(Makes 1 pizza, approximately 10″)

Ingredients:

– 1 Califlour Foods crust of choice!
– 4 ounces ricotta cheese
– 1/4 teaspoon salt
– 1/4 cup zucchini, thinly sliced
– 1/4 cup yellow squash, thinly sliced
– 4 ounces fresh mozzerella, sliced

Before We Get Started…

– You can sub in 1/2 cup zucchini or 1/2 cup yellow squash if that is all you have!

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 375ÂșF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or place crust on pizza stone. Once the oven is ready, bake crust for 15 minutes. Remove crust from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes.

2.) In a small bowl, mix ricotta and salt. Spread mixture evenly on crust, just stopping short of the edges. Layer on sliced zucchini and yellow squash. Top with mozzarella. Place back in oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

3.) Remove from oven and serve immediately!

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Chocolate Blueberry Cauliflower Smoothie

Chocolate Blueberry Cauliflower Smoothie

Oh, SNAP. Is that Allison, back with a new recipe?

Time has allowed. So has my sanity. Haaa.

Shall we?

Admittedly, over the last few months, while cooking at home, my meals have been a lot more plant-based, or at least without any sort of meat. One, it’s summer, so it’s too damn hot to even pan-fry chicken some nights. Two, I’ve just been cravings vegetables, eggs, and cheeses, so I’m giving my body what it wants. I’ve been making panzanella (sans the bread) a lot, as well as a lot of vegetable and bean-based salads. After writing another food post over at Yoga By Candace for Bean & Sauerkraut Salad, I’ve been really trying to keep my gut health in check with methods I never really considered as much of, such as by eating lacto-fermented vegetables and taking at least one scoop of collagen peptides per day in my morning oats.

Chocolate Blueberry Cauliflower Smoothie

In go the collagen peptides in quite a dramatic fashion…

I’ve lost a bit of weight; not that I was ever too heavily over, but after taking Paxil for a year between mid-2014 to mid-2015 for my GAD and shooting up to almost 160 (!!!) on my 5’6″ frame, I had a hard time losing those final few pounds over the past few years, leaving me in the 145 – 150 range. I’m back down to my “normal” 135 – 140 pound range with these diet (and exercise!) adjustments, which has me feeling better in a lot of ways. (I know, numbers on a scale shouldn’t matter…but… ÂŻ\_(ツ)_/ÂŻ )

I’ve been trying to sneak as many veggies into odd places in my diet as possible. Over the past few months, I’ve seen the cauliflower smoothie trend blow up all over my Instagram feed. That pre-steamed riced bag of cauliflower from Whole Foods was sitting in my freezer for months, getting harder and harder by the day, silently taunting me from afar. I knew I’d use it one day.

Well…I did today.

At first, I was experimenting with making a good base cauliflower smoothie recipe: just the cauliflower, a plant-based milk, and a few spices and vanilla. I was having a hard time finding just that on Google, surprisingly. Also, I wanted to see if it was good enough to drink in just that form. In my mind, I thought I could create the ultimate healthy vanilla smoothie that would change the world.

Oh HELL no.

The base recipe I created definitely worked, but if you’re looking for a low-sugar alternative to drink immediately, screw it. Add something flavorful to that cauliflower smoothie base! Add something fruity! Add some damn sugar to it! I took a sip and almost spit it out like a spiteful toddler that didn’t want to eat her cauliflower. I tried. It’s just not good enough alone.

I started to query everyone’s love for the cauliflower smoothie trend, but then I found a combination that works.

I went for cocoa. I’m not made of stone.

Still, the cocoa itself made it better, but not something I’d want to drink.

I hoard blueberries in my freezer like a chipmunk saves nuts for winter, and they were, thankfully, that final ingredient that this smoothie needed.

Chocolate Blueberry Cauliflower Smoothie

Chocolate Blueberry Cauliflower Smoothie

I’m not going to lie and say I’m totally on board with this trend yet…but…would I drink this smoothie again? Absolutely. I wouldn’t share this if I hated it.

Or…would I?

Nah, nah. It’s great. Ha!

Chocolate Blueberry Cauliflower Smoothie

Chocolate Blueberry Cauliflower Smoothie; please note how I could not get my frozen blueberries to defrost, no matter how hard I tried. The struggle is real, y’all.

Chocolate Blueberry Cauliflower Smoothie
(Makes One Serving)

Ingredients:

– 1 cup pre-steamed frozen cauliflower, preferably riced (Look for it at Whole Foods)
– 1/2 cup milk of choice (I used Malk Organics Maple Pecan)
– 2 teaspoons cocoa or cacao powder
– 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
– 1/2 cup blueberries, preferably frozen
– 1 scoop collagen peptides (optional)

Notes:

– If preparing your own cauliflower for this recipe, be sure to steam and freeze it first. Leaving it raw will lead to a strong cruciferous flavor. It may also lead to some of the side effects that eating a heavy cruciferous meal stirs up. Haaa.

– The cauliflower will have a slightly grainy, though not unappealing texture. In other words, it will not be silky smooth. Just be aware!

Directions:

1.) Add all ingredients to your blender and blend for 1 – 2 minutes or until as smooth as possible. Pour into a glass and drink that bad boy immediately!

curried whole roasted cauliflower

Curried Whole Roasted Cauliflower

Easter is getting closer, I’m prepping my menu more by more, and I’m realizing that I may have a vegan or two to feed that afternoon. I had already planned on making a slew of roasted vegetables for the meal, but I’m trying to figure out a way to make one of the vegetables a main dish, rather than just a side.

curried whole roasted cauliflower

Hmmmm…

curried whole roasted cauliflower

There is something very fun about slathering oil and spices onto an entire head of cauliflower and rubbing it all in. That being said, I’m a very sensory-oriented person.

curried whole roasted cauliflower

A constantly wonderful blank palate, various combinations of spices would work for this dish. However, I started simple with a garlic and curry base.

curried whole roasted cauliflower

In addition to carving up a ham or a lamb this Easter, a head of roasted cauliflower makes an excellent accompaniment.

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curried whole roasted cauliflower

Curried Whole Roasted Cauliflower
(Serves 3 as a main dish, 6 as a side dish)

Ingredients:

– 1 head of cauliflower
– 2 – 3 tablespoons olive oil
– 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
– 1/2 teaspoon yellow curry powder
– 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 375°F.

2.) Remove the leaves and stem of the cauliflower, taking care to keep the head in tact. Discard leaves and stem.

3.) Drizzle oil over cauliflower and rub in until coated.

4.) Combine spices in a small bowl; apply spice to cauliflower and rub in until coated.

5.) Place cauliflower in greased baking dish and cover with aluminum foil. Place in oven and cook for 30 minutes; remove foil and cook for an additional 60 – 75 minutes, depending on how roasted you prefer the outside of the cauliflower to be.

6.) Remove from oven and test doneness; if a knife slices through the cauliflower with no resistance, it is finished. Serve as is or with additional toppings.

 

Roasted Cauliflower Brie Soup

There is little in this world I love more than cheese. It is the singular reason I will never become vegan. I could give up every other animal product in the world, but I need Cabot to survive. If you were to come into my apartment right now and look in my fridge, you’d see block after half-eaten block of cheddar cheese, in various stages of consumption. I’m positive that I go through cheese withdrawal if I don’t eat it at least once a day.

My love of richer cheese surprised my parents. There is a famous story that my mother loves to tell: When I was six, my parents and I took a trip to Washington, D.C. to visit one of her sisters, my Aunt Kim; she lived near Capital Hill at the time. Near Union Station, my parents found a small restaurant, and they ordered baked brie with roasted garlic and toast. I still vividly remember it being a very warm April day, 1991, partly cloudy, cherry blossoms blooming, dining al fresco. I remember devouring toast after toast, loaded with Brie and garlic. Years later, my parents recounted their side of the story to me: They ordered the baked Brie because they thought I would hate it, and to their surprise and odd disappointment, I loved it! The disappointment developed because they didn’t get to eat as much of it as they would have liked to.

Sorry, Mama and Papa. When you expected my childhood food finickiness to work to your advantage, I pulled a 180 on ya.

Brie French cheese

In the past few years, I’ve come across Brie and other soft cheese at regular intervals. I used to enjoy it simple baked and smeared on a cracker. Lately, I’ve learned to incorporate it into my cooking; puff pastry filled with cinnamon-roasted apples and Brie is a particular favorite of mine. (Said recipe may come at a later juncture…) I’ve come across it incorporated into grilled cheese sandwiches and burgers at many French-influenced restaurants around Manhattan. With such a buttery texture and pungent (enough) flavor, I thought it may pair well with a cream-based soup.

IMG_5734

Well, lo and behold. Who knew roasted cauliflower and Brie would marry so happily inside of a soup bowl?

IMG_5751

Well, my intuition did.

IMG_5754

She’s pretty on the ball, I must say…

IMG_5757

Roasted Cauliflower Brie Soup
(Serves 4 – 6)

Ingredients:

– 1 head of cauliflower (roughly 8 cups), chopped
– 1 medium white onion, roughly chopped
– 2 cups whole milk
– 1/4 cup heavy cream
– 3 cups vegetable broth
– 1 cup water
– 6 ounces Brie, rind removed and diced
– 6 cloves garlic, in tact and with skin on
– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– 1 teaspoon garlic powder
– 1 teaspoon dried or fresh thyme, finely minced
– Salt and pepper, to taste

Before We Get Started…

– To ensure even roasting, spread cauliflower across multiple baking sheets if one singular baking sheet is not large enough.

– If using a standing blender to blend the soup, do it in small batches; blending hot soup in large quantities can lead to an overflow and possible injury. (Or, at the very least, you might inadvertantly paint your walls with some delicious soup.)

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 400°F.

2.) In a large bowl, combine cauliflower, olive oil, thyme, and garlic powder. Toss until cauliflower is coated. Spread cauliflower in an even layer across baking sheet(s). Cut the ends off of garlic cloves, drizzle in olive oil, and place on baking sheet. Roast cauliflower and garlic for 25 – 30 minutes, making sure cauliflower is turning light brown in spots but is not entirely roasted through.

3.) In a four quart saucepan, add vegetable broth, water, and chopped onion. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes. Remove onion and discard.

4.) Remove skins from garlic and squeeze roasted garlic onto roasted cauliflower. Add cauliflower, garlic, and bay leaf to saucepan. Simmer for approximately 30 minutes or until cauliflower is tender. Remove bay leaf and discard.

5.) Blend soup using either an immersion blender in the sauce pan, or blend in batches using a standing blender. (See note in Before We Get Started… regarding blending hot soup in a standing blender.) If using a standing blender, return soup to the sauce pan when finished.

6.) Return soup to a simmer. Add milk, cream, and Brie and stir until combined and Brie has melted and thoroughly combined with the soup. Add salt and pepper to taste.

7.) Remove soup from heat and serve immediately, topping with thyme leaves, if desired. If storing leftover soup in the refrigerator or freezer, allow soup to come to room temperature before storing in containers.