Spicy chile cauliflower & garbanzo beans

Cauliflower is the gift that keeps on giving. Honestly, you hack off enough florets to feed a band of maurading pirates, come back the next day and it’s regenerated. I’m convinced that we’re still eating the same head we bought back in ’72.

Of course, on these dark days of winter that’s no bad thing, is it? You scratch your head and wonder what’s for dinner and the answer is there staring you in the face: cauliflower. Friends drop over unexpectedly and you’re stumped for what to feed them? Not any longer: cauliflower. Who needs to run out to the grocery store and buy something for dinner. It’s right there, taking up 99% of the veg shelf: cauliflower.

Yes, it’s white. Very white. Ghostly pale and let’s be honest, rather sulphurous when your old Aunt Edith cooked it for 3-4 hours before she was sure it had been beaten into submission. But tuck it into a roaring hot oven with a lick of some spices and suddenly — va, va, va, voom — it’s transformed.

Those of you impatient souls who race to the recipe will note that we’re using our Abiquiu Steak Marinade for this dish. You will also note that there is no steak in the recipe. Clever clogs. Just because we call it a steak marinade doesn’t mean you can’t use it in other things. Like cauliflower. Now get cooking.

Slice the cauliflower florets so they cook faster.

Spicy chile cauliflower & garbanzo beans

Serves 2 as a main dish or 4 as a side dish

8 oz. cauliflower florets (about 2 large handfuls), sliced thinly

1-14oz can of garbanzo beans, drained

2 scallions, sliced into large dice

1 Tbsp Abiquiu Steak Marinade

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

zest of one lime, plus the juice

1/2 tsp salt

2 1/2 Tbsp olive oil

To garnish (your choice – go crazy):

Chopped cilantro

Cumin seeds

Chopped pistachios

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place the sliced cauliflower and garbanzo beans in a large roasting pan. Mix together the Abiquiu Steak Marinade, turmeric powder, lime zest, salt, and olive oil. Spread over the vegetables and give them a good stir so the vegetables are evenly coated.

Place in the preheated oven and roast for around 15 minutes until the cauliflower is tender. Add in the chopped scallions and cook for another few minutes. Remove from the oven, spritz on the lemon juice. Taste and add some more salt if needed and top with your choice of garnishes.

Chile Roasted Vegetables

Winter is like a dinner party guest who won’t go home. You know the one – he (or is Winter a she?) hangs around after everyone else has gone home, has another glass of wine, and drones on about his kid’s recent tuba recital. It’s not that you don’t like him, you just wish he’d go away. Now.

Let’s face it, we’re ready for Spring and something flashy and fresh. It doesn’t help that we’re told to ‘eat seasonally’ which right about now feels like a diet of acorns and tree bark.


But it’s not all doom and gloom. It simply takes a bit of culinary ingenuity and a lot of chile to snap our taste buds out of the winter doldrums.

So this week we’re sharing two recipes: one with sweet potatoes and another with cauliflower. I can hear the collective groan before I’ve even finished typing ‘flower’. Poor cauliflower suffers from a horrible image, not helped by my grandmother who boiled it to smithereens, slopped it on my plate and lurked over me as I forced down each bite. But it’s not the vegetable’s fault. All it takes is a bit of kindness, a little thought and a really hot oven.

Roasting cauliflower and sweet potatoes– and lots of other winter and root vegetables – brings out a lovely caramelized flavor that wakens the taste buds and puts a spring – excuse the pun – in your step. Both recipes use Chile Molido which is a real work horse in the Chile Trail kitchen. Choose mild or hot and feel free to up the amount of chile.

And relax. Spring is coming. It’s official.

Roasted Cauliflower with a Chile, Honey & Citrus Dressing

4 to 6 servings as a side dish

1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
Sea salt

Juice of one orange, approximately 5 Tbsp
5 Tbsp olive oil (or equivalent to the amount to the juice)
1-2 tsp. Chile Molido (hot or mild, depending on your taste)
1 Tbsp honey
Chile pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Place the cauliflower onto a baking sheet. Drizzle the olive oil over the cauliflower, season with salt and toss to mix. Roast in the oven until cooked through and slightly browned.


While the cauliflower is roasting, make the dressing. Zest the orange and set the zest aside. Slice the orange in half and squeeze out the juice. Mix the juice with the olive oil, chile and honey. Season with salt.


Drizzle several tablespoons of the dressing over the cauliflower during the last ten minutes or so of cooking. This allows the cauliflower to absorb some of the dressing. Remove from the oven, plate and garnish with chile pepper flakes and the orange zest. Serve with the remaining dressing.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with a Green Tahini Sauce

4 to 6 servings as a side dish

Tahini is a sesame seed paste and is popular in Middle Eastern cooking. You’ll find it in many grocery stores or at health food shops.

1 ¼ lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into rounds
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
1-2 tsp. Chile Molido (hot or mild, depending on your taste)
Sea salt

Green tahini sauce
1 small clove garlic
½ cup parsley leaves
1 Tbsp tahini
½ cup Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp lemon juice

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Place the sliced sweet potatoes onto a baking sheet. Drizzle the olive oil over the sweet potatoes, season with salt and toss to mix. Roast in the oven until cooked through and slightly browned. During the last ten minutes or so, toss with the chile powder, this gives the chile a slightly toasted flavor without the risk of it burning.


While the sweet potatoes are roasting, make the sauce. In the small bowl of a food processor, mix the parsley and garlic together. Add in the remaining ingredients and pulse until well blended. Season with salt and place in a serving dish. Serve alongside the roasted sweet potatoes.