When it comes to good nutrition and disease prevention, this flavor-packed side dish—made with cauliflower and sunflower seeds—offers a one-two punch. Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable, which research shows may help to reduce cancer risk. It also contains fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K (good for bone health) and potassium. When roasted, cauliflower becomes tender and slightly sweet. Sunflower seeds have a mild, nutty flavor and add a bit of crunch to the pesto. They are rich in vitamin E, selenium and other antioxidants, and including them in a wholesome and healthy diet may also protect against cancer.
- 1 Large 1 large cauliflower, cut into three to four, 1-inch-thick whole slices,* plus remaining florets
- 3 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme, plus a few stems for garnish
Sunflower Seed Pesto
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup packed fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish
- 1/4 cup raw or dry roasted and unsalted shelled sunflower seeds, plus more for garnish
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp. honey
- 1/2 clove garlic, peeled
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. (If using foil, spray with nonstick cooking spray.) Place cauliflower on prepared baking sheet, and brush “steaks” and florets with 2 teaspoons of oil. Sprinkle with pinch of salt and pepper. Roast until lightly caramelized and almost cooked through, about 18 minutes.
- Gently flip each “steak” and floret and brush with 1 more teaspoon of oil. Sprinkle with thyme, a pinch of salt and pepper and roast until well caramelized and cooked through, about 10 more minutes.
- While cauliflower is roasting, prepare pesto. Place olive oil, basil, sunflower seeds, mustard, honey and garlic in bowl of a small food processor and pulse until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and pulse a few more times until well combined and desired flavor is achieved.
- Arrange cauliflower on large plate or platter. Top with pesto, and garnish with sunflower seeds, thyme and basil.
* How to Make Cauliflower “Steaks:”
– Rinse cauliflower and remove outer leaves. Pat dry with paper towels.
– Leave stem intact, but trim bottom so cauliflower stays flat and stable when placed on cutting board.
– Place cauliflower on cutting board with stable stem side down and use sharp chef’s knife to slice cauliflower in half.
– Starting at cut side of each half, carefully cut two, 1-inch-thick slices. Trim away stem ends.
– Break remaining cauliflower pieces into florets. (You should end up with three to four big steaks, a few mini steaks and a bunch of florets.)
This recipe contains cancer fighting foods:
This recipe was specially crafted to support cancer prevention and survival. It adheres to AICR's Cancer Prevention Recommendations. Learn more about our recipe guidelines.
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