A vivid cauliflower and white bean puree

by admin on August 27, 2009 · 28 comments

Post image for A vivid cauliflower and white bean puree

Isn’t this purple cauliflower amazing? I was prepared for disappointment with this cauliflower, having had my heart broken a couple of summers back by the amazing purple beans that turn dirty green as soon as they hit water.  Even the lady who grew said cauliflower warned that it would turn an unflattering mucky colour on cooking.  But no, happy days; the cauliflower turned a glorious, unnatural looking blue-tinged lilac.  Maybe it was the steaming that did it?

Cauliflower has been given a bad rap by those for whom its characteristic smell brings back memories of school dinner and also by those who believe no beige food could ever be nutritionally worthy. This is totally unjustified – all of the fruits and vegetables that you can squeeze into your diet count and it is definitely worth having variety as your mantra where veg are concerned as they all have their own hidden talents.  The humble, beige (and purple) cauliflower is packed with glucosinolates, a group of chemicals that seem to help cells repair their DNA and so reducing the risk of cancer-causing damage.  Glucosinolates (found in cabbages, broccoli and cauliflower) incidentally contain sulphur, hence the classic brassica smell.

purple cauliflorets

I was after something a little more substantial than cauliflower mash and so added a can of drained butter beans (almost certainly an idea that had wormed deep into my sub-conscious after reading Kathryn’s excellent cauliflower mash recipe in An Honest Kitchen Winter recipe collection – there are as many new recipes in the world as there are songs).  Tahini brings out the nuttiness of both the cauli and the beans. Chives add that little something that all of the onion family bring to the table with non of the bother of cooking or harshness of the raw.  This puree is delicious as a side dish or slathered onto a piece of garlic-rubbed toast (if you’re adventurous I’m sure you could even turn it into some sort of soup). Unlike mashed potato, which doesn’t count at all, a portion of this puree counts as two servings of veg.

purplecauli on toast

Recipe for a vivid cauliflower and white bean puree

Serves four

1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
400g can butter beans, drained
1 heaped tsp tahini
2 tsp olive oil
A small bunch of chives
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Steam, boil or microwave the cauliflower until just tender.

Put the cauliflower into a blender and add the beans. Blend to a coarse puree (or a smoother texture if you prefer).

Add the tahini, olive oil and seasoning and blend again briefly.

Stir the chives through the mash just before serving.


Lucy August 27, 2009 at 23:54

Well, if that isn’t the most beautiful puree I’ve ever seen…steaming! Brilliant way around that colour-loss.
I’m growing a few of these – know exactly what I’ll be doing with them.
(Photos are divine, by the way).

Elaine August 28, 2009 at 00:27

Beautiful! I’m definitely going to try this recipe with my next head of cauliflower, though I don’t know if I can get a purple variety. It would be worth going out of the way to find, though.
Love the photos. As pretty as a field of lavender.

Meghan (Making Love In The Kitchen August 28, 2009 at 03:41

I just bought a purple cauliflower today at the market- going to throw some beans into a pot to soak overnight so I can make this tomorrow!

Arwen from Hoglet K August 28, 2009 at 07:40

I grew some Purple King beans and was disappointed when they turned green, so it’s very impressive to see the cauliflower looking so beautiful. It’s nice to have a new way to use tahini too.

Sophie August 28, 2009 at 08:52

MMMMMMMMMM,..I love purple cauliflower!! & I adore this delicious recipe!
Thanks! Looks very tasty!!

Johanna August 28, 2009 at 11:28

oh I want some of that cauli and that puree – I found a green cauli the other day and felt I didn’t do it proud but I love this puree and now will be wishing and hoping for such a vivid caul

Sara August 28, 2009 at 13:36

Beautiful! I’ve also seen bright orange cauliflower but purple is the best (aesthetically–I haven’t noticed much of a difference in taste, but I’ve only recently started to like cauliflower).

Helen @ World Foodie Guide August 28, 2009 at 17:54

How pretty is that?! I’ll have to look out for a purple cauliflower now. I love the way it maintains its colour too…

Maya August 28, 2009 at 17:55

I’ve never seen purple cauliflower before, what a beauty! Your puree looks delicious :)

Claire August 28, 2009 at 21:14

So pretty, I love purple. You almost make me want to try this recipe and I hate cauliflower!! but not quiet!

Helen August 29, 2009 at 19:17

Lovely! I am in awe of the way you made it look good in the last photo. If I tried to take a picture like that it would just look like plasticine on toast.

Wendy August 30, 2009 at 08:55

Am highly amused by the thought of blue food and do love cauliflower. Now if only I could find one of those beautiful brassicas…

another outspoken female September 3, 2009 at 05:50

I don’t know what colour I like more – the ‘before’ purple or the ‘after’ lilac. Superb.
Great recipe too.

Sophie September 6, 2009 at 21:21

Hi all, it’s a rather splendid colour isn’t it?
Sara – you’ve got me looking out for an orange cauli now…
@Helen – I’m still not sure how I managed to get away without this looking like plasticine on toast :-) Such an eccentric colour for food to turn out.
I went to the veg place again this weekend and sadly they didn’t have any purple caulis left, though there were lime green romanescu which are similarly strange looking in their own way

chelsea September 10, 2009 at 17:18

Thanks to Lucy for pointing me in this direction – this puree is EXACTLY what I needed this week after ‘discovering’ a hidden graffiti cauliflower in the garden on the same day I happened to be boiling a big pot of white beans…
(and the photos really are lovely!)

chelsea September 12, 2009 at 13:19

I just made this lovely recipe (with a few tweaks) – so delicious!
Here are a few photos and the story:

Sophie September 14, 2009 at 19:10

Hi Chelsea, thanks for letting me know that you tried this out. I bet chevre was fantastic with the cauliflower – I must that a try next time.

maris September 17, 2009 at 02:03

I’m sure no one would even recognize this as a vegetable. I’ve always wanted to try purple cauliflower but sometimes it just looks dyed and I can’t bring myself to buy it!

Alex September 25, 2009 at 23:56

Love your styling here!

Choclette October 5, 2009 at 20:17

What a beautiful cauliflower and a beautiful photo you took of it. Despite being au fait with quite a few heirloom veg and lots of whacky veg we’ve never grown a purple cauli before – I don’t think I’ve even seen one.

Sarah October 7, 2009 at 21:04

lovely pictures. today I made purple mashed potatoes which preserved their color beautifully after cooking. Are glucosinolates heat sensitive?

mycookinghut November 8, 2009 at 10:59

I am glad to stumble upon your blog! I love the vivid colour of purple cauliflower.. never tried it myself but would love to!

Melissa December 21, 2009 at 23:37

I’ve been following your blog for quite a while and enjoying your wealth of good recipes. When Foodista announced that they are going to publish the best food blogs in a full color book that will be published by Andrews McMeel Publishing Fall 2010, I naturally thought of you. This recipe would be a good submission! You can enter here: http://www.foodista.com/blogbook/submit
Editor and Community Developer
Foodista.com — The Cooking Encyclopedia Everyone Can Edit

bayu December 21, 2011 at 21:20

Will you give me some seed of cauliflower for free
I am from Indonesia
please let you know I
because in my country there is no …

corrina September 2, 2012 at 09:52

i absolutely love this!! and all of your recipes! :-)

Crista February 25, 2014 at 16:56

this looks amazing! i love the photos….

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