For those of you who don’t know, Monday was a major holiday for us in the States. The Fourth of July is our Independence Day, usually marked with fireworks, barbecues, postal service delays, and loads of flags posted on social media.
One of the cultural mainstays of Fourth parties are large amounts of food, mostly hot dogs, hamburgers, ice cream, s’mores, and those huge veggie plates with dipping sauce we hope people will go for instead of the chips ‘n dip. A polite, health-conscious few will grab a couple of carrots and then ‘leave the rest for other people,’ and the host ends up with almost a full plate of raw cauliflower, broccoli florets, cherry tomatoes, and cheap ranch alternative. You can’t throw it away–it’s actually pretty expensive for vegetables, and they’re still fine. But you don’t want to eat them either. So what do you do?
I might have some ideas for you.
First, throw away the dipping sauce. You shouldn’t be eating that crap, and you know it. If you absolutely must have ranch, at least buy name brand, if you don’t want to make buttermilk dressing yourself.
Second, and this is the really crazy part because almost no one does it and it’s silly. Stop looking at that veggie platter as a veggie platter. What you have is actually an assortment of conveniently parcelled veggies. You don’t have to eat them raw, cold, or alone. And with that in mind, a food processor and a steamer, I made a pretty decent and healthy lunch.
Veggie Plate Leftover Cauliflower Mash and Fresh Veggie Chop Salad
What I had:
What else I used:
Salt and pepper (This would be an excellent place to use last week’s lesson for sneaky spellwork, if you’re into that sort of thing)
Almond milk (but any milk or milk alternative is fine)
Fill the bottom pot of a steamer with water and set to boil. Throw in all the cauliflower, cover, and steam.
While that’s doing its thing, throw your other veggies (minus the tomatoes) into the food processor. If you have a small one like I do, do it one at a time, and set each batch aside in mixing bowls. A note about celery: mine were being butts and liked to lie flat on top of the blades, so I had to chop some of them into chunks.
Mix all your veggie shreds up. Now we add the liquid Jell-O.
I drizzled olive oil on top, with a bit of salt and pepper and a squirt of lemon, because I like the taste of things as natural as I can make it. One thing you can do is leave it ‘dry’ and let each person dress it as they like. You might even use up that leftover dip (but know I will be judging you. I’ll know…).
Slice the tomatoes lengthwise and toss into the salad.
Now that the salad is done, the cauliflower should be nice and soft and translucent. Rinse out the food processor and dump the hot cauliflower in. I’ve never made cauliflower mash before, but I had made cauliflower leek soup once so I think I did ok. I had to scrape down the sides of the processor a couple times, but it eventually did start to look like mashed potatoes. I added a bit of almond milk because I’m trying to use that in everyday recipes and keep dairy milk to things like coffee and tea. Then salt and pepper like usual. I imagine cheese would be lovely too, but I’m looking after my figure.
Spoon a bit of salad onto a plate with hot mashed cauliflower, and a couple slices of leftover flank steak, and voilà! That big platter is out of the fridge, and there’s enough fresh raw veggie salad to last a while. You can even throw it into a meatloaf or pasta sauce to sneak veggies into meals.