Israel Series: Lavender Infused Carrots and Cauliflower

 

While perusing the shops on the scenic main street of Galena, IL during a recent weekend getaway, I found myself in the Galena Garlic Company storefront. Despite the name, no garlic was to be found there. What I did find, however, was so much better.

For being a small town in the Midwest, the shop had an impressive array of spices, olive oil blends, and balsamic vinegars. My love for experimenting in the kitchen being what it is, I couldn’t resist trying a bag (or six) of various spice mixtures. Among the many different things I picked up, the most notable, and unexpected, was a pouch of French lavender sea salt that also happens to be the foundation of this recipe.

Imparting a subtle yet unmistakable floral taste, the lavender buds are not only beautiful, but they take a simple vegetable side dish and amp it up to a unique, savory, and floral affair that is good enough to eat from the pan on its own (with your fingers if you so desire ;)).

Although I can’t say I ate this sort of dish in Israel, once I tasted the distinctly Mediterranean flavors of lavender, olive oil and herbs, I knew it had to go in my Israel series. Topping it off with a squeeze of lemon juice sold me on the idea and a sprinkle of za’atar sealed the deal.

You can’t get much simpler than this lavender infused carrot and cauliflower dish. Requiring only one pan and a mere 30 minutes to throw together, it gives you time to make your entrée as the veggies cook.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower, washed and sectioned in florets
  • 3 large carrots, scrubbed and sliced into rounds
  • 1/2 tsp dried dill
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, plus more to garnish
  • 1 tsp French lavender sea salt, divided
  • 2 tsp fresh sage, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3/4 tsp Israeli za’atar

First prep all your ingredients. Then place a large pan on a medium heat and pour in the two tablespoons olive oil.

Once the oil is heated through, add the cauliflower and carrots along with half the salt, the dill and sage. Mix everything together, making sure all the veggies are coated with oil. Cover the pan and let the mixture cook for 5-7 minutes.

When the cauliflower florets are slightly golden and the carrots have a little give to them, pour in 2-3 tablespoons of water and replace the cover. Allow the vegetables to steam on a medium/low heat for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally.

Once the carrots are soft, add in the lemon juice, parsley, za’atar, the rest of the lavender salt, and a good grinding of black pepper. Stir to incorporate the seasonings and let this cook for a further 1-2 minutes before turning the heat off.

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Serve this deliciously simple carrot and cauliflower side dish warm with an extra drizzle of olive oil. It is lovely with mustard-infused lentils, in a pita pocket with hummus, on a bed of cooked sorghum as I have done here, or even doused in the infamous tahini sauce which I shared in my previous recipe.

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