When my BFF Keely chose “Cassoulet with Lots of Vegetables” as her pick for The Food Matters Project, was I surprised?
This was one of the first recipes I made from the book, before I even started the project. And, yes, as the saying goes – great minds do think alike.
The first time I made it, I followed the recipe in its original form – filled with white beans, sausage, and tomatoes – which can be found on Keely’s fabulous blog, here. It’s a delicious meal, and I would absolutely make it again. It’s the kind of recipe you can make once and then use the same method again and again with different ingredients. I actually puréed the leftovers the first time I made it, and with the help of a little truffle oil, transformed it into an incredible spread for crusty French baguettes. Oui, s’il vous plaît.
The style of this recipe is similar to last week’s pick, a riff on coq au vin, in that they are both French countryside-esque of meals. It’s hearty, soul-soothing food – and while I’m totally into that in the cooler months, I wanted to brighten things up here, just like I did last week.
Like most of Mark’s recipes, the idea is that we’re exchanging what normally would be meat for whole foods like beans and more veggies. I went for shrimp here to try something different, but you could easily use whatever protein you’re in the mood for.
The zest and juice of one lemon and a nice hit of spice à la a heavy dose of crushed red pepper flakes took this dish over the top for me – and this time, I also added a layer of grated cheese and whole wheat panko to the top before throwing it into the oven for 10 minutes or so. I think you could also just stick this bad boy under the broiler for a minute or two, since everything is already cooked at that point anyway – which is something I’ll try next time.
I used cauliflower simply because that’s what I had on hand, and the spinach came about because I knew I wanted to add some greens. Kale would also work well here.
So, go check out Keely’s blog – because in addition to being one of my closest friends and favorite people in the world, she’s also hosting a giveaway! And it just happens to go perfectly with this week’s recipe.
As always, see what the rest of the group did with this dish here!
- ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- ½ to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (depending on your addiction to spice)
- 1 pound shrimp, shelled and deveined
- Kosher salt
- 2 leeks, thinly sliced (white and light green parts only)
- 1½ tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 head cauliflower, chopped
- 1½ – 2 cups vegetable stock
- 2 14.5-ounce cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- ½ pound baby spinach leaves, chopped
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon, divided
- ½ – ¾ cup whole wheat panko breadcrumbs
- ½ – ¾ cup grated Pecorino-Romano cheese (you can also use Parmigiano-Reggiano)
- Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Heat oil and pepper flakes in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Season shrimp with salt and cook until just opaque, about 2 minutes. Remove shrimp and set aside.
- Add leeks to the pot – with a pinch of salt – and sauté for 5 minutes until softened; add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add cauliflower and vegetable stock; cook for 10 minutes or so until it begins to soften, and then add the beans. Taste for seasoning and add another pinch of salt if necessary. Allow the mixture to bubble gently for 20 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated, stirring in the spinach gradually toward the end. Stir in the shrimp and the lemon juice.
- In a small bowl, combine the lemon zest, panko, cheese, and remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Spread panko-mixture evenly overtop of cassoulet, and pop it the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until bubbly and golden brown. Garnish with parsley and serve.