I committed to make three dishes for Thanksgiving this year. When you plan a meatless meal for a meat-heavy holiday, things can get complicated fast. Guests expect lots of rich, stick-to-your-ribs fare. That’s not how I usually cook. After spending a few days perusing cookbooks and magazines, I settled on three recipes from several of Vegetarian Times’s Thanksgiving issues.
My main dish was a very simple meatless Shepherd’s Pie. For my side dish, I made today’s recipe, Roasted Cauliflower with Crispy Sage. (I’ll write about the delicious pear tart I made for dessert sometime soon.) Two friends fleshed out the meal with a magnificent stuffed eggplant entrée and a non-traditional green bean casserole. Nobody missed the turkey.
One of the reasons this side dish attracted me is that I have a huge culinary sage plant in my back yard. Sage is a very hardy plant, so I can pick and use the leaves all winter long. If you don’t have a plant, rest easy. Most grocery stores carry fresh sage at this time of year.
This side dish is probably best served right after it’s cooked. You can chop the cauliflower ahead of time and pop it into the oven 30 minutes before serving time. The sage butter takes about 5 to 7 minutes, depending on how long you decide to cook the sage leaves.
Roasted Cauliflower with Crispy Sage
- 1 2-lb. head cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets (8 cups)
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 4 Tbs. (¼ cup) unsalted butter
- 25–30 whole, large sage leaves
- 1/4 cup finely chopped, toasted pine nuts or chopped, toasted, sliced almonds
Put It Together:
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Toss together cauliflower and oil in large bowl, and season with salt, if desired. Spread on prepared baking sheet, and roast 25 to 28 minutes, or until deeply browned.
- Meanwhile, melt butter in medium skillet over medium heat. Add sage leaves, and cook 3 to 5 minutes, or until darkened, crisp, and slightly curled. Remove from heat, and set aside.
- Transfer cauliflower to serving dish. Pour sage-butter mixture over top, and sprinkle with pine nuts.