In case you missed it, I shared some thoughts in a post yesterday about the current state of the world. You can read it here if you’d like. But today, I thought I’d recap 2016 on a personal level, and then share with you a new recipe which I’m convinced you are going to love!
Personally though, for me 2016 was quite a good year. I launched my online Food Photography Guides, as well as getting a promotion in my 9-5 job. I started bushwalking a lot more, which has bought me a huge amount of joy and I think helped to relax my sometimes-stressed state! There is something so calming about being out in nature and being with friends and loved ones in this capacity. And, it also helped to increase my fitness, something I’m planning on continuing to work on in 2017.
Largely due to these reasons, my postings here on To Her Core fell a little by the wayside. It wasn’t just a lack of time though that saw this little hiatus – I felt a little disconnected from the blog. And I definitely had a bad case of writers (+ recipe creators) block!
But, with the new year came a resurgence of inspiration, and I’ve got no less than 10 recipes I’m itching to write up at the moment to share with you.
And what better place to start than with my current favorite salad!
Want to know a secret? I rarely – if ever – follow a recipe! And if I don’t, why should you? Cooking, and eating, should be an enjoyable experience, and not all recipes are exactly to our liking. So from now on, each recipe will come with a series of tips to ‘Make it your own’. From ingredient substitutions to cooking variations, the ‘Make it your own’ section will help you tailor each recipe, where possible, to meet individual needs :)
So – this pasta. At it’s most basic it’s really four ingredients – pasta, pesto, cauliflower and baby spinach. Obviously if you make your own pesto like I do, this adds in an additional step, and a few extra ingredients, but if you were wanting to save on time then a pre-bought jar of pesto could easily be substituted here. I strongly recommend that you roast the cauliflower – or pan fry – instead of just steaming it as it’s the beautiful caramalised edges of the cauliflower in this dish that really step things up a notch.
From here, you can easily keep adding ingredients to make it your own, it’s an extremely adaptable dish, and one we’ve been mixing up and enjoying in various ways in our house for the last few months now!
– Make it your own –
- Sub broccoli instead of cauliflower.
- For extra protein, add a fried egg, or stir through a can of chick peas. I also sometimes stir through some pole-caught canned tuna or smoked salmon (in case you were wondering, I’m not vegetarian, and occasionally eat a little fish. You can read more about how I eat here if you’re interested).
- Toss through some crumbled feta, grated Parmesan or nutritional yeast for extra flavour
- To change up the texture a little, stir through some pepitas, or other seeds or nuts
- Change the flavour completely by using coriander instead of basil in your pesto. Or skip the pesto completely and use a chimichurri sauce
- Gluten free? Try using quinoa or red/brown rice instead of the risoni pasta
- Dairy free? Make sure the pesto you make or use doesn’t contain any Parmesan
- 1 bunch basil, leaves only (about 2 cups, loosely packed)
- 1 - 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 1 heaped Tbsp nutritional yeast or ¼ cup loosely packed, freshly grated Parmesan
- ¼ cup toasted seeds or (crushed/chopped) nuts
- 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup uncooked risoni pasta
- 1 large handful baby spinach
- 1 small head cauliflower
- 1 - 2 Tbsp olive oil
- Preheat oven to 190 C | 375 F.
- To make pesto, peel garlic, and crush with the blunt side of the knife or your back of your hand. Throw into a food processor with the basil leaves, nuts or seeds, Parmesan or nutritional yeast and a generous pinch of salt (I would personally use 2 - 3 taps) and pulse until all are minced.
- Add lemon and pulse a few times to combine. Remove from food processor, and place into a small bowl or jar and top with the oil.
- Chop the cauliflower into small pieces - you can do this by hand or in a food processor. The size doesn't matter too much - I usually do mine by hand so they're a little bigger, around 1cm (1/2 inch) cubed - but you will end up with different sized pieces which is fine.
- Drizzle with the olive oil, a sprinkle of salt (about 1 - 2 tsp) and then toss in the pan to combine. Bake around 30 minutes (or until golden on the edges and cooked through), stirring at around the 20 minute mark.
- Cook risoni according to packet directions.
- To assemble the salad, stir the pesto through the cooked risoni, then add the cauliflower. Stir through the baby spinach, and serve warm.