The Substantial Salad
By Meda Kessler
Photos by Meda Kessler
Cauliflower gets an upgrade in this flavorful (and eye-catching) mix
Claudia Sheddy has professional cooking cred thanks to growing up in a restaurant family. “Food culture and cooking have been in my blood for generations,” says Sheddy, whose father is South African and mother is Hungarian. Her passion for creating special meals led to the creation of My Sweet Roots in 2013.
Over the past nine years, she has built a business that includes concierge catering for gatherings small or large (think corporate events), heat-and-serve meals prepared for and delivered to clients, and personal chef services. A longtime resident of the Ridglea Hills neighborhood, Sheddy rents an impressive commercial kitchen for making everything from healthy breakfasts to family meals. Keto? Vegan? Vegetarian? No problem. Hearty entrees include everything from bison burgers to sauteed chicken flautas to teriyaki salmon. Vegetables get a little something extra with her creative use of spices.
She elevates something as simple as sliced watermelon by serving it with labne and sprinkling both with chili powder, lime juice and drizzle of honey. “I get a lot more requests for plant-based meals,” says Sheddy. “It’s a pleasure to experiment and come up with meatless dishes that everyone will love.” This salad features roasted cauliflower tossed in a mix of cumin, curry and coriander and served with baby spinach or arugula and chickpeas. Chunks of mango (Sheddy subs in pineapple sometimes) brighten the dish. Serve it solo or pair it with a grilled fillet or roast chicken.
Mango Cauliflower Salad
Makes 6 servings
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, see Note
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds, see Note
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds, see Note
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon caster sugar (also known as superfine or baker’s sugar), see Note
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 5 tablespoons sunflower oil
- 1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 can chickpeas, drained, rinsed and patted dry
- 1 small cauliflower, trimmed and split into very small florets
- 2 Alphonso mangoes (or 1 big regular mango)
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 medium chile (your choice for preferred heat; red gives the dish a bit of color), stemmed, seeded and chopped
- Large handful chopped fresh cilantro or to taste
- 1 cup baby spinach leaves
Note As a shortcut, use the called-for amount of pre-ground coriander and cumin, but freshly ground seeds have a more intense flavor. Brown mustard seeds can be found in the bulk spice section of Central Market. You also can use yellow mustard seeds or mustard powder, but use about twice as much. In place of caster sugar, grind granulated white sugar to a finer consistency.
In a small skillet over medium-high heat, dry-roast coriander, mustard and cumin seeds just until they start to pop. Remove from pan and crush to a powder using spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Add to small bowl, and mix in curry powder, turmeric, sugar and salt.
In the same pan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil and, over high heat, cook the onion for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to large bowl, add chickpeas and mix well.
Cut cauliflower into small florets. Toss florets in remaining sunflower oil and half the spice mixture; place in roasting pan. Roast in 400-degree oven until crispy — florets should still hold their shape — about 20 minutes.
Remove from heat and mix with onion/chickpea mixture. Peel mangoes and dice flesh. Add to small bowl and lightly toss in lime juice; add chopped chile and remaining spice mix. Fold mango into cauliflower mixture and sprinkle with cilantro.
Add to bowls or a serving platter filled with spinach. Serve immediately.