There’s nothing more comforting than turning fresh vegetables loaded with energy into nourishing food. I see the whole process – handpicking the ingredients from the farmers’ market, watching the yellow leaves falling on my way back, the grey sky, the basket on the kitchen shelf, the water breaking into drops while rinsing the vegetables, the first cut, choosing the spices, a sip of coffee, the grey sky, and half of my face mirroring in the window.
And then, turning on the oven, hands going deep into the mixture, coconut oil sizzling in the pan, the meal that hides inside the farmer’s time, the energy of the land where it comes from, and my peaceful thoughts while cooking it – it’s simply a form of meditation. Attention to details, staying present, connecting to the things that create your universe, yes, all these while simply shaping cauliflower burgers.
Cauliflower is November’s favorite vegetable. One of the last fresh gifts. One of nature’s miracles – an enormous white inflorescence that doesn’t look and feel like any other flower.
The humble appearance doesn’t announce its incredible load of nutrients – minerals, antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber – comparable to all its green relatives from the cruciferous family.
Its glucosinolate and antioxidant phytonutrients are especially important; their key role being to support the natural detoxification processes of our bodies. I always prefer lightly cooking the cauliflower rather than boiling it, because many of its nutrients leak into the cooking water and some are destroyed because of the high temperatures.
For these burgers, I used lightly sautéed cauliflower which preserved its texture and nutrients.
The best way to turn a mediocre veggie burger into a superstar is to add the right combination of flavors. Most of my favorite spices and aromatic herbs go perfectly with the taste of cauliflower – turmeric, cayenne, cumin, za’atar, nigella seeds, lemon zest, black pepper, parsley – and mixing some of them is what made this cauliflower burger a winner. And of course, pairing this burger with the sauerkraut was a great idea.
Spiced Cauliflower Burger with Sauerkraut
- 1 medium cauliflower head cut into florets, rinsed and drained
- 1 small onion finely diced
- 2 galic cloves minced
- 1/2 inch ginger knob peeled and grated
- 1/2 cup quinoa cooked (makes about 1 cup)
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp sumac
- 2 tsp nigella seeds
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- 2 eggs or 1 tbsp ground flax for the vegan version
- To assemble:
- Whole wheat buns
- *Optional: Greek yogurt with lemon and garlic, massaged kale, red cabbage sauerkraut, avocado
- Heat the coconut oil into a cast iron skillet, add the onion, garlic, ginger and spices, mix to combine and cook until the onion becomes translucent, stirring frequently.
- Add the cauliflower florets, and cook for ten minutes, stirring every now and then.
- Transfer into the food processor, together with the cooked quinoa, eggs/flax, salt and cayenne, and pulse to obtain a sticky mixture (don't over-process to make sure you don't get a mushy texture).
- Shape the burgers using your palms, and line them on a plate.
- Heat a little coconut oil into the skillet, add the burgers, cook until golden on one side, then flip over and cook until golden. (You can also bake into the oven at 175°C/347°F for 20 mins).
- Assemble and serve warm.