Don’t you think my first bento of 2012 has a bit of a festive look to it?

Confetti Bento (1st of the year), 12-01-2012

Since CSA season is over I had to made do with the last veggies in my fridge. But lunch turned out to be a feast anyway!

So what’s what?

The left tier contains a Mexican-inspired salad of 3 colours paprika, pickle, cucumber and a (vegan) chilli sauce based dressing. Next to that a nut mix of almonds & pistachios and a vegan variation of the cauliflower dip Chinoiseries shared in our New Year’s Dip Quartet, topped with a black olive.

The right tier has some bean sprout mix, simmered kabocha pumpkin (freezer stash), mini plum tomatoes — the very last tomatoes in da house, saved especially for this lunch — kiwi fruit, an orange baby bell pepper, ‘floppy Jane’ (a vegan sloppy Jane I totally messed up by misreading the recipe) and another gherkin.

Curried cauliflower dip

Chinoiseries' Cauliflower Dip

I’m a real cauliflower fan but due to a bad local season for this type of veg we hardly got any in our CSA. By Christmas I was really craving it so when one of my fellow members of the New Year’s Dip Quartet posted a cauliflower spread recipe… I couldn’t get it out of my head!

A large head of cauliflower was about the first thing I bought in the new year. :) We ate part of it cooked with mushroom gravy, a few florets went into a stir-fry and then I still had about 135 grams left. I told you this head was a BIG!

Now it was time to have a taste of that delicious sounding dip. Just one problem: Chinoiseries’ recipe calls for 200 grams of cauliflower! But she said we’d better use less… so I figured it would be all right. And was it?

I’ll tell you right away: I really like this spread and will certainly make it again! But it didn’t taste enough of cauliflower for my liking… More of onion and garlic :) Now I really like those too, but this is a cauliflower dip so next time I will go back to the original amount of 200 grams.

I also didn’t use all of the lemon juice and soy yoghurt the instructions called for: just 1 teaspoon of juice and 4 yoghurt. True, my spread could have been smoother. But the more liquid I added, the less veg I tasted! Now the interesting thing is: I also really liked the stage before adding these! It may even become my favourite way to make the recipe from now on?! The paste is more like a roasted cauliflower tapenade that way.

You can find the original cauliflower dip recipe in the New Year’s Dip Quartet on Always Cooking Up Something (please use soy yoghurt or faux sour cream for a vegan version). I will share my roasted tapenade below!

Roasted cauliflower tapenade

With my love for cauliflower, you can bet on me checking out several of the recipes in the Healing Foods event held on Zesty Palette this month! I hope some of the other participants will also try this roasted cauliflower tapenade?

Healing Foods: Cauliflower (button)


  • 175-200 gr cauliflower
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 shallot or 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/4 tsp cumin powder
  • salt & pepper
  • optional: a little lemon zest or yuzu powder


  1. Preheat oven to 190 °C.
  2. Clean the cauliflower and cut into small florets, edible parts of the stem into small dices.
  3. Pat dry and transfer to a baking dish. Note: you could line your baking dish with aluminium foil first as the original recipe tells you, but I try to keep my use of tinfoil to a minimum as its production is VERY bad for the environment. I think the only use here is that you don’t have to wash your baking tin afterwards… And we are no lazy bums, are we? ;)
  4. Mix in garlic and onion with cauliflower.
  5. In a bowl, mix all remaining ingredients (except optional lemon zest/yuzu powder).
  6. Add the dressing to the vegetable mix, making sure all the cauliflower is covered.
  7. Put into the oven and bake for about 30-40 minutes. Check to see whether the cauliflower is done, a knife should easily cut through.
  8. Transfer to a food processor and blend until you’ve got a pasty mixture resembling tapenade.
  9. If you chose to add lemon zest or yuzu powder: this is the time. You may also add more salt & pepper to taste.
  10. Let it cool.


Check out What’s for Lunch Wednesday (week 85) for some other great bentos!

Meatless Monday button

Midnight Maniac’s Meatless Mondays