This has been a dream of John's for over a year now... turning a whole cauliflower into an impressive veggie option at the thanksgiving table. He also wanted it to kind of look like a turkey... hence the cauli floret booties. Comical, but in reality there's no unsightly animal bones around that need covering up. Regardless of it's turkey-like appearance, it's SUPER tasty and very savoury. In fact, this gravy that's basted all over the cauliflower might just be our new go to vegan gravy recipe!
You can see how it all came together in this week's thanksgiving challenge video.
** serves 4 to 6 people
1 large cauliflower
1 large carrot, thick cut diagonally
2 C small red potatoes, halved
1 red onion, cut into a large dice
3 sprigs of rosemary, snipped into 1 inch pieces.
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/4 C vegan butter
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp celery salt
1 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped (can substitute dried herb)
1 tsp fresh thyme (can substitute dried herb)
1 C low sodium tamari
1/2 C maple syrup
2/3 C tahini (roasted works better over a raw type)
2 tbsp vegan worcestershire
1/4 C low sodium vegetable stock
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp water
Prepare all your cut up vegetables and herbs. Toss the potatoes, carrots, onions, and rosemary with sea salt and ground pepper. Preheat oven to 425 F.
To prepare the whole cauliflower, remove the excess green leaves. Trim the stock so the cauliflower is able to sit flat into a roasting pan or skillet and remove any tough exterior of the remaining stalk so just the florets are visible. Be careful not to cut too deep into the bottom so the florets don't come apart from the entire head of cauliflower!
To prepare the gravy, heat a sauce pan over medium and add vegan butter. Once melted add the minced garlic and shallot. Stir and cook this until softened for about 2 minutes. Then add nutmeg, celery salt, rosemary and thyme and continue stirring for another minute.
Then combine corn starch with water to make a slurry and add that along with the tamari, maple syrup, tahini, and worcestershire, whisking to combine well. Whisk occasionally as you bring the gravy to a low simmer. Once it's bubbling, lower heat and continue to simmer for 10 minutes. This should be a thick, but pourable consistency so it coats the cauliflower and sticks to it without dripping too much into the roasting pan. If you need to thin it out use a small amount of vegetable stock to reach the right consistency.
Start by placing the cauliflower upside down in the pan so the bottom is exposed. Pour a couple tablespoons of gravy into the bottom so it gets into the florets. You can pick it up and move it around a little. Then flip it back up and pour half of the gravy that's in the sauce pan on top. Use a brush to coat the entire cauliflower with the sauce.
Surround the cauliflower with the seasoned carrots, potatoes, onion, and most of the rosemary sprigs (leaving a few pieces for a final garnish).
Roast this for 25- 30 minutes. At this point it should have a nice deep brown colour and there should be plenty of juices at the bottom of the pan that you can toss the surrounding vegetables in as well as use some of it to baste the cauliflower. If you need more, use the leftover gravy in the sauce pan and add vegetable stock to it if it needs thinning out in order to flow nicely through a baster.
Continue to roast for another 25 to 30 minutes.
When you remove the finished roast and vegetables if there's any excess liquid in the bottom of the pan, use a baster to add it back into the sauce pan with the remaining gravy. Heat this up over the stove top on medium low heat and whisk in a cornstarch slurry to thicken.
Mix cornstarch and water together until smooth and then whisk it into the gravy. Then add any remaining vegetable stock to get the right consistency once again. Serve this alongside the whole roast and guests can add more gravy as they wish.
Garnish the final dish with the last few fresh rosemary sprigs and serve immediately!