My most productive time of the day is the morning. The more I can get done before lunch, the better – and that extends to dinner prep too. This meal was a hit here not only because it was delicious, but also because a vast majority of the prep could be done ahead of time.
I set the cauliflower up to marinate early, and by the time dinner rolled around all I had to do was toss it in the air fryer and assemble the sandwiches. It was packed with flavor and super hearty – a perfect Lenten Friday dinner.
We have hit the point of the winter when veggies are no longer exciting.
During the summer and fall, we have a CSA share that loads us up with fresh vegetables weekly and inspires me to cook them creatively. Once the CSA ends? It becomes a regular rotation of bagged salad, roasted broccoli, and roasted green beans.
I recently discovered the kids like cauliflower rice, so I’ve been playing with different ways to dress it up. This Greek-style version was a huge hit. So huge that we ended up fighting over the leftovers!
Chinese takeout fake-outs have become some of my favorite Lenten dinners. Our local Chinese restaurant has limited meatless options so it isn’t really a great option for us during Lent. Cravings a few year back led me to Kung Pao Chickpeas and then General Tso’s Cauliflower.
All of these sort of hide the bulk of the meal with the sauce, so even if you’re not usually a cauliflower fan, you might like this. Battered, fried, and covered in the fresh orange sauce, you can barely tell you’re loading up on vegetables here. My kids happily gobbled it down!
1 small head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
6 green onions, thinly sliced
1 tsp. olive oil
Zest of 1 orange + juice of orange
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tsp. corn starch
1 tsp. brown sugar
Rice, for serving
Mix together egg, water, cornstarch, flour, and olive oil to create a batter. It should be thick enough to coat, but not clumpy – think waffle batter consistency!
In a large skillet or wok, heat the vegetable oil on medium high. When the oil is heated, dip each piece of cauliflower into the batter and then add it to the hot oil. Fry until browned, then transfer to a paper-towel lined plate.
In another skillet or wok, heat olive over medium-high heat and then add garlic and green onions and cook for a minute. Stir in orange zest and juice and cook for another minute. Add soy sauce and vinegar and bring to a boil.
A lot of my Lenten Friday dinners are recreated junk food or takeout fakeout. There’s a reason for that. By the time Friday rolls around, that’s really all I want. And I’m assuming I’m not alone in that since pizza is such a popular Lenten dinner.
So, here’s another option if you’re thinking of ordering pizza tonight.
No, you won’t be fooled into thinking the cauliflower is tortilla chips – but this is delicious in it’s own right. And you’ll feel more virtuous downing a whole plate!
1 large head cauliflower, chopped
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 cup shredded Colby-Jack cheese
Your favorite nacho toppings – we used salsa, black beans, black olives, pickled jalapenos, and sour cream
Preheat oven to 425°F.
In a large bowl, toss cauliflower with olive oil. Sprinkle spices evenly over the cauliflower and toss to coat. Spread out on a baking sheet and roast for 35-40 minutes, until golden and crispy.
Top with cheese and any other toppings you want warm and bake for 5 minutes more, until the cheese is melted.