This Spicy Roasted Cauliflower Citrus Pesto has a bright flavor from the combination of tangerine and lemon. The fresh jalapeno peppers add a spicy element and mixed with the roasted cauliflower, you have yourself a very tasty and unique pesto.
I used Sartori’s Rum Runner Cheese which is exclusive to Whole Foods but you can get it through their website here. It is an aged Jarlsberg cheese that they soaked in a local rum called Heath Rum. It’s slightly harder and creamier than a typical Jarlsberg and it has slight caramel flavors.
I was at the farmers market the other day and one of my favorite vendors put a head of cauliflower in my bag with the onions I was getting. I thought it was a mistake and when I pulled it out to give it back he said no that’s for you, aww so sweet! I am not a big fan of cauliflower so I wasn’t sure what to do with it but of course, what do I come up with? PESTO! I thought roasting it and combining it with citrus flavors would be a great combination and I was right!. It was really good yet I still felt like something was missing, aha, jalapenos, it added the perfect touch of heat that I was looking for!
This pesto pairs well with a dry Reisling, Pinot Gris, Prosecco, Cava or a light Pinot Noir or Tempranillo
Recipe: Approx. 3 1/2 Cups
- 2 Cups Cauliflower Florettes
- 1 Cup Raw Walnuts
- 3/4 Cup Sartori’s Rum Runner Cheese ( if you can’t find it you can use aged Asiago cheese)
- 1/2 Cup plus 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 Jalapeno Peppers
- 1/2 Cup Fresh Squeezed Tangerine Juice
- 3 Tablespoons Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
- 2 Cloves Garlic
- 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt or to taste
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut the cauliflower into small pieces, measure and in a bowl toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and a dash of salt then spread out on a baking sheet. Place on the middle shelf for 20 – 25 minutes or until lightly golden then let cool.
Grate the cheese, measure and cut the stems off the jalapenos then cut in half to remove seeds.
With a handheld lemon juicer, juice the tangerines and lemons then measure along with the rest of the ingredients, add everything to the food processor or blender and puree.
Cauliflower is supercharged with antioxidants and is a great source of vitamin C, a whole 77 percent of the recommended daily value. It is also a very good source of manganese and has an excellent source of vitamin K, one of the best anti-inflammatory nutrients, as well other anti-inflammatory nutrients that help keep inflammation in check. Cauliflower contains over 9 grams in every 100 calories of fiber, which is great for digestive system support and also helps protect the lining of the stomach. It is a good source of choline, a B vitamin is known for its role in brain development and may boost cognitive function, and improve learning and memory. It is found to significantly improve blood pressure and kidney function. Compounds found in cauliflower also show anti-cancer effects.
Tangerines are a type of mandarin orange. They are a valuable source of flavonoid antioxidants that are several times higher than oranges but have even more vitamin A and iron. The vitamin A in them helps with immune function, vision and reproductive health. As with all citrus, they are still very rich in vitamin C that stimulates the production of collagen and helps keeps your skin supple as well as stimulating cell generation in the body. Antioxidants are found in high concentrations in the rind of tangerines, which fight off free radicals keeping the body’s cells healthy while purifying the blood and remove toxins. They contain natural soluble and insoluble fiber that improves digestion and restricts the absorption of cholesterol in the gut, which helps cut the risk of obesity and reduce inflammation. The tangerine fruit has been used effectively against skin diseases and arthritis. They also help to absorb iron from food into the body and contain a good amount of Folate and Potassium.