By Michelle Malia
Some guys think vegan food is for wusses. But not all vegan meals are made with tofurkey slices and “nooch.” If you have the right balance of vegetables, whole grains, and seasonings, a vegan dinner can satisfy you just as well as one chock full of meat.
This meal proves the point with a triple threat of heartiness and flavor. Spelt berries, an unsung whole grain, contain 11 grams of protein per cup. One small head of cauliflower contains five grams of gut-filling fiber. And the delicious pesto dressing? Its herbal garlicky power ties everything together. Plus, the whole things takes like 15 minutes to make.
And don’t fool yourself into thinking that a vegan meal will leave you feeling unsatisfied. Cook that spelt. Sauté that cauliflower. Blend that pesto. Once you sink into your first bite, you’ll be a total convert … at least for the night.
Cauliflower with Spelt and Kale Pesto
Recipe by David Standridge, executive chef of Café Clover in New York City
What you’ll need:
3 leaves Tuscan kale, roughly chopped
½ cup parsley leaves
2 garlic cloves
Up to ⅔ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp canola
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 cup spelt berries, cooked according to package directions
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
How to make it:
1. In a food processor or blender, add the kale, parsley, garlic, and olive oil. Blend on medium until ingredients are finely chopped and the mixture is halfway between a pesto and a dressing. Season with salt and pepper.
2. In a large skillet over medium, heat the canola oil. Add the cauliflower in a single layer, working in batches if necessary, and sauté until golden brown, about 12 minutes. Add the cooked spelt and ⅓ cup pesto and toss to coat. Makes 4 servings.
Nutrition info per serving: 516 calories, 7g protein, 24g carbohydrates (6g fiber), 45g fat
Still not convinced? Try it as a half-serving as a side, paired with seared steak or roasted chicken.