Greek-Style Tomato Braised Cauliflower

One of the things I love about cooking is being able to help people discover that they like something new. It’s like, my own little way of showing them a new piece of the world! I think a lot of people are sure they don’t like certain things because they’ve only had it prepared in one way. Like eggplant parmesan – probably one of the most common ways someone might first try eggplant, but not exactly my favorite. My friend Wes was so convinced that he didn’t like eggplant, that he didn’t believe it was the main ingredient in my caponata. Another one I hear a lot is pumpkin! Oh, my beloved bright orange squash has a bad reputation among those who can’t stand pumpkin pie. It turns out that most of these people don’t actually dislike pumpkin, they just don’t like the texture of the pie. A bunch of former pumpkin-hating friends have adventurously tried my pumpkin penne and given two thumbs up to this savory dish. And most recently I told you about how my husband has become pretty enthusiastic about tofu, when I baked it in a coconut crust.

The best example, though, is probably any vegetable that your mother ever made by boiling the taste and nutrition out of it and forcing you to eat it. Let me tell you, I can’t think of a single veggie that deserves those bad memories or your grudge against it. I will just about guarantee there’s a better way to prepare that vegetable that will give you that “A-ha!” moment.

For my Papa, it was all about cauliflower. When he was visiting from Florida during Passover and I made him this dish, I’m not sure he expected to like it. Actually, Papa will eat just about anything regardless of whether he really likes it (a characteristic I share, though I’m trying to do away with it!) However, he wouldn’t tell you he loved something if that wasn’t true.

“You know what, I actually do like cauliflower. In fact, I could crave this cauliflower. Dearie, can you make this?”

“Dearie”, of course, is my Grandma.

Grandma often complains that my recipes are too complicated for her, but fortunately she watched me make this from beginning to end and agreed that it was simple enough and that she was likely to have all the ingredients. The truth is, you don’t really need a lot to make an incredibly good vegetable. And trust me, this is incredibly good. How good? I made this a total of three times in two weeks, served with another incredibly tasty and easy recipe, my fish baked in feta-yogurt sauce. And considering I rarely eat the same thing twice in a month, that says plenty.

Greek-Style Tomato-Braised Cauliflower
Printable Recipe

This dish comes courtesy of Jaden’s Steamy Kitchen, so it shouldn’t surprise you that it’s absolutely delicious, or that her picture is so much more beautiful than mine! I only  I made made two small changes: one was to use more tomato paste than called for, because the first time I made it, I didn’t think the sauce was quite thick and tomato-ey enough. The other was to add a shake of dried oregano, in place of the fresh thyme called for. One final note: don’t be shy with that cinnamon! It really imparts the unique flavor to this dish.

4 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups water
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large head cauliflower, chopped into florets, rinsed and dried (about 900gm)
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
large pinch ground cinnamon
1/2 large onion, thinly sliced
2 dried bay leaves
2 cinnamon sticks
generous pinch of dried oregano or thyme

In a small bowl, whisk together the tomato paste, mustard, water and vinegar. Set aside.

In a large heavy pot over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil until very hot. Add the cauliflower florets and the onion. Season with salt and pepper and dust with cinnamon. Toss and saute until the cauliflower and onions are nicely golden and and the onion is softened, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the tomato paste mixture and add the cinnamon sticks, bay leaves and thyme or oregano. Partially cover, turn the heat to medium-low and cook until the cauliflower is tender, about 10-15 minutes, depending on how small you cut your florets.

If desired, cook for several minutes uncovered to allow the sauce to thicken.

Nutritional Info
Servings Per Recipe: 4
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 145.4
Total Fat: 7.3 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 138.5 mg
Total Carbs: 17.5 g
Dietary Fiber: 6.9 g
Protein: 5.8 g

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37 Responses to “Greek-Style Tomato Braised Cauliflower”

  1. 1

    *Naomi* — April 23, 2010 @ 11:40 am Reply

    just printed this! i LOVE CAULIFLOWER! and the fact that you combined it with cinnamon! ahh so delish!

  2. 2

    Dawn — April 23, 2010 @ 12:57 pm Reply

    What a great recipe Cara! I had already put cauli on my list and this sounds like a great alternative to my usual steamed. I feel your pain. My whole family thinks my recipes are too complicated and don't have any ingredients they would have.

  3. 3

    yumventures — April 23, 2010 @ 1:02 pm Reply

    This looks like such an amazing recipe, as usual! I love cauliflower (ever since my Mom used to serve it with a calorie-laden cheese sauce) and I obviously love Indian flavors, so this dish is a must try for me! I have seen cauliflower everywhere recently, I think it is making a comeback :)

  4. 4

    Shanon — April 23, 2010 @ 2:55 pm Reply

    I agree! So many people hate specific ingredients! That is why I always try to stick to my motto that there isn't anything I don't like if it is made right. This cauliflower sounds delicious. I like the idea of the bold flavors!!

  5. 5

    Joanne — April 23, 2010 @ 4:34 pm Reply

    I have so many bad food memories from my childhood that I've ablated with my new found love of all things vegetable. This dish looks delicious! I love that it has cinnamon in it…I'm a sucker for the savory/cinnamon combo.

  6. 6

    Lauren (Healthy Delicious) — April 23, 2010 @ 5:04 pm Reply

    I love cauliflower when its done well, and I agree that this recipe is totally craveable!

  7. 7

    Barbara — April 23, 2010 @ 5:30 pm Reply

    I love cauliflower (and think it's great you added cinnamon to it), but not as much as eggplant.And perhaps if you baked me a tofu pie in a coconut crust I might like tofu. (but I doubt it!)

  8. 8

    roxan @ kitchen meditation — April 23, 2010 @ 5:44 pm Reply

    Oh I'll have to make this! Cauliflower is one of the few vegetables that my husbands likes. Thanks!!!

  9. 9

    Nicole Chow - HealthyChow.com — April 23, 2010 @ 7:52 pm Reply

    Oh yum! I like cauliflower, too! I've never tried braising it, but it sounds like a great idea. Cauliflower is one of those foods that can taste like anything – mashed potatoes, rice, something sweet, etc. I love all the flavors you used here – especially the cinnamon. YUMMY!

  10. 10

    Taste of Beirut — April 24, 2010 @ 12:47 am Reply

    Was not aware of this way of cooking cauliflower Cara; looks good!

  11. 11

    Susan — April 24, 2010 @ 4:51 pm Reply

    I've never been too into cauliflower because I've only ever had it plain. But the other night we spiced it up and I loved it- I want to try that recipe!

  12. 12

    Cynthia — April 26, 2010 @ 12:23 am Reply

    Thanks for this recipe Cara, I am usually at a loss as to what to do with cauliflower apart from steaming it.

  13. 13

    Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) — April 26, 2010 @ 5:35 am Reply

    yum!I kid you not when I can eat a half a head of raw cauliflower. Every day. Either that or brock. I love!!! my cruciferous veggies!

  14. 14

    grace — April 27, 2010 @ 8:47 am Reply

    grandparents are the best. how cool that you were able to teach your grandma how to make this–returning the favor after all she's surely taught you, right? :)

  15. 15

    brannyboilsover.com — January 23, 2011 @ 2:11 pm Reply

    I made this last night and we enjoyed it. My husband commented that cauliflower is rarely served in a tomato sauce. So true.

  16. 16

    Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) — March 28, 2011 @ 8:52 pm Reply

    yum!I kid you not when I can eat a half a head of raw cauliflower. Every day. Either that or brock. I love!!! my cruciferous veggies!

  17. 17

    Cynthia — March 28, 2011 @ 8:52 pm Reply

    Thanks for this recipe Cara, I am usually at a loss as to what to do with cauliflower apart from steaming it.

  18. 18

    Susan — March 28, 2011 @ 8:52 pm Reply

    I've never been too into cauliflower because I've only ever had it plain. But the other night we spiced it up and I loved it- I want to try that recipe!

  19. 19

    brannyboilsover.com — March 28, 2011 @ 8:52 pm Reply

    I made this last night and we enjoyed it. My husband commented that cauliflower is rarely served in a tomato sauce. So true.

  20. 20

    Taste of Beirut — March 28, 2011 @ 8:52 pm Reply

    Was not aware of this way of cooking cauliflower Cara; looks good!

  21. 21

    grace — March 28, 2011 @ 8:52 pm Reply

    grandparents are the best. how cool that you were able to teach your grandma how to make this–returning the favor after all she's surely taught you, right? :)

  22. 22

    Nicole Chow - HealthyChow.com — March 28, 2011 @ 8:52 pm Reply

    Oh yum! I like cauliflower, too! I've never tried braising it, but it sounds like a great idea. Cauliflower is one of those foods that can taste like anything – mashed potatoes, rice, something sweet, etc. I love all the flavors you used here – especially the cinnamon. YUMMY!

  23. 23

    roxan @ kitchen meditation — March 28, 2011 @ 8:52 pm Reply

    Oh I'll have to make this! Cauliflower is one of the few vegetables that my husbands likes. Thanks!!!

  24. 24

    Barbara — March 28, 2011 @ 8:52 pm Reply

    I love cauliflower (and think it's great you added cinnamon to it), but not as much as eggplant.And perhaps if you baked me a tofu pie in a coconut crust I might like tofu. (but I doubt it!)

  25. 25

    Barbara — March 28, 2011 @ 8:52 pm Reply

    I love cauliflower (and think it's great you added cinnamon to it), but not as much as eggplant.And perhaps if you baked me a tofu pie in a coconut crust I might like tofu. (but I doubt it!)

  26. 26

    Lauren (Healthy Delicious) — March 28, 2011 @ 8:52 pm Reply

    I love cauliflower when its done well, and I agree that this recipe is totally craveable!

  27. 27

    Lauren (Healthy Delicious) — March 28, 2011 @ 8:52 pm Reply

    I love cauliflower when its done well, and I agree that this recipe is totally craveable!

  28. 28

    Joanne — March 28, 2011 @ 8:52 pm Reply

    I have so many bad food memories from my childhood that I've ablated with my new found love of all things vegetable. This dish looks delicious! I love that it has cinnamon in it…I'm a sucker for the savory/cinnamon combo.

  29. 29

    brannyboilsover.com — March 29, 2011 @ 2:06 am Reply

    I made this last night and we enjoyed it. My husband commented that cauliflower is rarely served in a tomato sauce. So true.

  30. 30

    Susan — March 29, 2011 @ 2:06 am Reply

    I've never been too into cauliflower because I've only ever had it plain. But the other night we spiced it up and I loved it- I want to try that recipe!

  31. 31

    Nicole Chow - HealthyChow.com — March 29, 2011 @ 2:06 am Reply

    Oh yum! I like cauliflower, too! I've never tried braising it, but it sounds like a great idea. Cauliflower is one of those foods that can taste like anything – mashed potatoes, rice, something sweet, etc. I love all the flavors you used here – especially the cinnamon. YUMMY!

  32. 32

    Lauren (Healthy Delicious) — March 29, 2011 @ 2:06 am Reply

    I love cauliflower when its done well, and I agree that this recipe is totally craveable!

  33. 33

    Shanon — March 29, 2011 @ 2:06 am Reply

    I agree! So many people hate specific ingredients! That is why I always try to stick to my motto that there isn't anything I don't like if it is made right. This cauliflower sounds delicious. I like the idea of the bold flavors!!

  34. 34

    *Naomi* — March 29, 2011 @ 2:06 am Reply

    just printed this! i LOVE CAULIFLOWER! and the fact that you combined it with cinnamon! ahh so delish!

  35. 35

    *Naomi* — April 5, 2011 @ 1:22 am Reply

    just printed this! i LOVE CAULIFLOWER! and the fact that you combined it with cinnamon! ahh so delish!

  36. 36

    Taste of Beirut — April 5, 2011 @ 1:22 am Reply

    Was not aware of this way of cooking cauliflower Cara; looks good!

  37. 37

    Shanon — April 5, 2011 @ 1:22 am Reply

    I agree! So many people hate specific ingredients! That is why I always try to stick to my motto that there isn't anything I don't like if it is made right. This cauliflower sounds delicious. I like the idea of the bold flavors!!

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