This is the third and final guest blog post in the Midweek Dinner series aimed to inspire and motivate quick and easy weeknight cooking. Whether you're returning to a work or school routine after summer holidays or just finding yourself in a cooking rut, tune in because I've asked my blogging friends to share their favorite midweek recipes and top strategies for getting quick, delicious, and nourishing meals on the table. I hope you've found the recipes and meal prep strategies helpful so far! And if you missed Dearna or Kellie's recipes, you can find them here and here, respectively.
This week Sarah from Highgate Hill Kitchen is sharing her secrets for cooking weekday meals even while juggling work, a recent move, and two kids under foot. Keep reading to hear what her go-to strategies are for staying calm and collected in the kitchen.
This Roasted Cauliflower, Spelt & Za'atar Bowl is a the kind of meal I can't get enough of. Easy, nourishing, always delicious. There are endless variations on the classic combination of veges, grains, and herbs, but this is one of my favourites. The deeply roasted cauliflower is complimented by the sweetness of the shallots, the mint brings summer to mind despite this being a winter dish, and the chewiness of the spelt gives the meal some heft. The combination of za'atar and preserved lemon give it some complexity - an almost Middle Eastern spin - while remaining light and simple enough for a child's palate.
And the other great thing about this dish is that it comes together so quickly. Between work and moving house and two kids, I'm generally pretty pressed for time these days. With this dish, I usually prep the roasted veges earlier in the day (while the kids are napping), and so an hour before dinner time all I have to do is pop the tray in the oven and set the grains on the stove. The rest comes together in the five minutes before we eat!
You should take this recipe as a guide, rather than one locked in stone. I'll often add currants or dried cranberries, throw in some carrots to roast along with the cauliflower, replace the spelt with the barley depending on what I have on hand, and these roasted chickpeas wouldn't go astray either!
Roasted Cauliflower, Spelt & Za'atar Bowl
Notes: A quick note to northern hemisphere folks - I know this is a winter dish and you're still enjoying the sunshine, so either file it away for the colder days, or even replace the cauliflower with roasted cherry tomatoes and zucchini, and the hazelnuts with pine nuts - yum!
- 1 head cauliflower
- 3 shallots
- 4 tsps za'atar
- 1/2 cup spelt pearls
- 1/3 cup hazelnuts, roasted and skin removed
- Generous handful fresh mint
- Peel of 1/2 a preserved lemon
- Generous splashes of extra-virgin olive oil
- Black pepper, to taste
- Heat oven to 180 C/350 F
- Slice the cauliflower into small-ish pieces. Peel the shallots and finely slice. In a medium-sized bowl toss the cauliflower and the shallots together with 2 tsps of the za'atar and a generous splash of olive oil. Lay in a single layer on a baking tray and bake for approx. 35 minutes, or until the cauliflower is starting to go a deep brown around the edges (I like mine almost blackened!).
- In the meantime, add the spelt together with one cup of water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover, and continue to cook over a low-medium heat until the water is absorbed. Give it a taste - the spelt should be cooked through but still retain some chew. If there is any crunch add another splash of water and continue to cook.
- Roughly chop the roasted hazelnuts and the mint. Finely dice the preserved lemon peel.
- In a large bowl, combine the cooked spelt, roasted veges, the hazelnuts, mint, preserved lemon, remaining za'atar, a generous splash of olive oil, and and few good grinds of black pepper. Mix to combine and enjoy warm, or cool the next day for lunch.