I’ve been such a massive fan of Meera Sodha since her second book, Fresh India. A collection of incredible vegetarian and vegan Indian food that, from experience, can make even the most committed carnivore forget about the lack of meat. Meera’s regular guardian column, The New Vegan is such a treasure of trove of plant-based recipes that I have had a lot more hits than misses from. A few weeks ago, Meera posted the recipe for this cauliflower, beetroot and asparagus salad with a miso and mustard dressing. With the best intentions, I always plan to get some good British asparagus in season, but last year I failed to eat even one seasonal stalk. This year, determined, I bought three reduced price bunches from Lidl and I knew this recipe was one that spoke to me.
I always have white miso in the fridge, bought for a specific recipe but on the verge of going to waste. It’s such a wondrous savoury ingredient, particularly for the veganish cook. If you’re like me, you’ll always have a pack of those vacuum packed beetroot in the fridge, bought with no particular recipe in mind and going unloved and uneaten at the back of the fridge. Although this recipe called for raw beetroot, I found that the precooked variety worked fine. Other substitutes were the frozen edamame beans for broad beans and the almonds for pumpkin seeds.
Expectation v Reality
I came across one obstacle with this recipe. The out-of-season cauliflower. My cauli was so small, about the size of a big orange, but Lidl sneakily left so many leaves on it that it looked like a watermelon. Being a crafty queen, I just added all the cauli leaves and stalks to the roasting tray to crisp up with the florets. Waste not, want not.
Basically a tray bake, this recipe was simplicity itself, allowing the oven to do all the work. The dressing was three ingredients shaken in a little jar, ready for drizzling over the roasted vegetables.
What a plate of food.
Having eaten this warm out of the oven and cold as lunch leftovers, I can vouch that this recipe is one that you could prepare in advance for an enviable packed lunch. So many flavours and textures, smoky paprika, salty miso, hot mustard, tangy vinegar, crunchy seeds, grassy asparagus, fresh herbs (mint and dill) and the sweet beetroot. The dressing is also a revelation. I will be making this regularly as a my goto dressing. There’s no oil in it so it is a pretty healthy, low fat option if that’s your bag. I’ve copied the recipe for the dressing below, if you can call it a recipe. The recipe for the rest of the cauliflower, beetroot and asparagus salad can be found on the Guardian website.
M&M (Miso-Mustard) Dressing
1 tbsp dijon mustard (you could also use wholegrain at a push, but not english)
4 tbsp white miso
1 tbsp red-wine vinegar (you could also use sherry vinegar)
Put into a small jar, shake. Makes a generous amount for 4 people.