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Baked Buffalo Cauliflower with Herbed, Toasted I Heart Keenwah

Baked Buffalo Cauliflower
with Herbed, Toasted I Heart Keenwah

(includes a review of the new Toasted I Heart Keehwah)

Let’s get this out of the way first. I Heart Keenwah uses phonetic spelling to help people pronounce that most beloved little pseudocereal (love that word) that is on so many plates these days. Packed with a great nutritional punch, like being a complete protein with all nine essential amino acids, free of gluten and high-fiber, the secret behind I Heart Keenwah’s fabulous products is the heirloom, organic Bolivian Royal Quinoa they use, which is sustainably-grown by smallholder farmers who are paid a living wage under the company’s commitment to Fair Trade practices.

I have been a fan of I Heart Keenwah since the first time I tried it, as impressed with their commitment to sustainability and human rights standards as I am of the product itself, introduced to me first by their marketing manager, Natalie Slater, the fabulous pixie fairy dream girl of Bake and Destroy fame. IHK takes the little seed with the strange name and elevates it to new levels. First, they developed quinoa-based snacks in the form of puffs, clusters and chocolate-covered puffs. Anyone wanting to enjoy low-glycemic treats that satisfy a sweet craving or a crunchy snack, these babies are for you.

Not slowing down at all with their creative product development at all, now they have something new: Toasted Quinoa. You know how people complain sometimes that quinoa is bitter, soapy (due to the natural saponin coating) and not that tasty? People who have had a bad quinoa experience? They need to give IHK a try. IHK has taken their specialty quinoa, already with a nuttier, richer flavor and fluffier texture due to the larger size, and they have added new dimension to it with their toasting process, which is how it is tradtionally prepared in Bolivia. You still cook it the same way – no rinsing, just 15 minutes on the stovetop, one cup quinoa to two cups water – but the toasting process has turned the quinoa into a whole different seed, something that reminds me a bit of buckwheat or kasha in flavor, deliciously nutty, but retaining the great quinoa nutrition profile and qualities. You can use IHK’s Toasted Quinoa as you usually do grains or regular quinoa: for example, under a stir-fry, in a pilaf, adding substance to a chili or a soup, for example. (Check out their recipes for some great ideas.) Who doesn’t need more whole foods to rotate into their diets? With Toasted I Heart Keenwah, it’s never tasted better.

Craving something spicy and a tasty bed of toasted quinoa, this was the recipe I came up with: Baked Buffalo Cauliflower with Herbed, Toasted I Heart Keenwah. With a nutty, herby quinoa, the Baked Buffalo Cauliflower has a perfect, earthy complement to its hot, robust flavor and this is further pulled together with a cooling, rich drizzle of Cashew Ranch. This is a gluten-free recipe but if you have no issues with gluten, just use the flour you prefer. While this has several steps, it is super easy to make and immensely worth it.

Baked Buffalo Cauliflower
with Herbed, Toasted I Heart Keenwah

2 cups Toasted I Heart Keenwah
4 cups water or two cups low-sodium vegetable broth and 2 cups water
1 cups chopped fresh herbs
(I used a combination of basil, dill and Italian parsley) plus more for serving
cup almond slivers, toasted
(reserve a couple of tablespoons for sprinkling on top when plating)
Zest of one organic lemon,
4 cups cauliflower, broken into largeish florets
cup water
cup non-dairy milk, plain and unsweetened
1 tablespoon low-sodium tamari or soy sauce
1 cup all-purpose gluten-free or regular flour
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
teaspoon cayenne powder
Salt and pepper
1 cup Frank’s Hot Sauce
1 tablespoon coconut, melted, or olive oil
(optional but ideal)
Cashew Ranch dressing

Pre-heat your oven to 425 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly oil.

Cook I Heart Keenwah according to package instructions. Set aside to cool a bit. Put in a large bowl and, when cool, add the chopped herbs, slivered almonds and optional lemon peel. Stir through quinoa with a fork.

Meanwhile, prepare your Buffalo Cauliflower. Set up a station with the water, milk and tamari in one bowl and the flour, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper in another. I prefer flatter vessels for the dry ingredients in order to coat the cauliflower best so I used a square baking dish. Mix each container with a whisk so everything is well-combined. Have your baking sheet and cauliflower within reach.

Using one hand, dip and shake off the cauliflower in the milk-water bowl, and, using the same hand, drop into the flour mixture. Using your other hand, coat in the batter until it is covered, shake off any excess, and place on your prepared baking sheet. Do this until everything has been placed on the baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix together the Frank’s Hot Sauce and oil in a medium bowl.

When the timer goes off, carefully dip the cauliflower in the hot sauce. I found using tongs worked great but chopsticks would also be fine. You might need to gently pry off the baking sheet first. Shake off excess sauce and place back on the baking sheet. I recommend keeping an eye on which side was facing up during the original baking and placing that side down on the next one. Continue until all cauliflower is now coated with hot sauce.

Bake for 20 minutes and remove from oven.

Meanwhile, make your
Cashew Ranch.

When the cauliflower is done cooking, plate on a bed of your prepared quinoa and drizzle on some ranch dressing.
Sprinkle on some reserved herbs and toasted almonds for serving.

2013-2016, Vegan Street

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