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Instant Pot Thanksgiving Cauliflower Center Piece

Instant Pot Thanksgiving Cauliflower

  • Author: Monkey and Me Kitchen Adventures
  • Prep Time: 20 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 11 Minutes
  • Total Time: 31 Minutes
  • Yield: 4 Servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Instant Pot/Oven
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Easy, healthy, and delicious, this oil-free Instant Pot Thanksgiving Cauliflower boasts a luscious harvest infused gravy and makes holiday cooking a breeze.


Scale

Ingredients

Base Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 ½ cups water (or broth)
  • 1 ¼ cups low-sodium vegetable broth *
  • 2 Tablespoons reduced-sodium tamari *
  • 2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon organic maple syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon white miso *
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted almond butter * 

Spice/Herb Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 Tablespoons dried minced onions
  • ¼ teaspoon dried rubbed sage *
  • 1 teaspoon dried crushed thyme leaves *
  • ¼ teaspoon dried rosemary powder *
  • ½ teaspoon dried ground mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (+/-) *
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

Veggie Ingredients:

  • 1 large yellow onion, cut in wedges
  • 3 celery ribs, cut in chunks
  • 3 medium carrots, cut in chunks
  • 1 lb. 8 oz. Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled, cut in wedges *
  • 1 small (to medium) whole cauliflower *

Cornstarch Slurry

  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch (or arrowroot powder)
  • 3 Tablespoons water

Optional Toppings:

  • Freshly chopped parsley

Instructions

Instant Pot Instructions

  1. Place the Spice/Herb Ingredients into a small bowl, mix well. Set aside.
  2. Add all the Base Ingredients and the Spice/Herb Mix into the Instant Pot. Stir well to combine all the ingredients. Mix well by breaking up the tomato paste, almond butter, and the miso to create a smooth broth. (Don’t worry if you can’t break it all up). Scrape the bottom of the Instant Pot to pull up anything that sticks to the bottom to prevent the Burn feature from kicking on.
  3. Add all the Veggie Ingredients (except the cauliflower) and stir well to coat the veggies, then push the veggies down into the broth.
  4. Remove the outer leaves and trim the stalk from the cauliflower (leaving the core intact), using your hands, place the cauliflower head on top of the mixture in the Instant Pot, then pour some of the broth all over the cauliflower. Turn it up-side-down and pour some of the broth inside the crevices, then place the cauliflower right-side-up to rest on top of the veggie mixture.  Set the Instant Pot to Manual Pressure High for 11 minutes.  When finished, press Cancel, unplug the Instant Pot, and allow to sit for 2 minutes, then do a Quick Release
  5. Once all the pressure is released, carefully remove the lid. Carefully remove the cauliflower head  and place it on a platter. Do the same with the veggies.
  6. Create a cornstarch slurry by mixing 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch with 3 Tablespoons of water, whisk until smooth, then place the slurry into the broth/gravy. Plug in the Instant Pot and use the Sauté mode to heat/cook the gravy.  Stir until the cornstarch slurry thickens to a gravy.  If not thick enough take 3 of the potato wedges, remove the skins, and mash them really well, then stir/whisk the mashed potatoes back into the gravy to dissolve.  Now add an additional 1/8 teaspoon rosemary, pinch sage, and pinch of black pepper.  Whisk until incorporated.  Cook the gravy for several minutes.
  7. Taste test the gravy and ramp up any additional flavors as desired. Then pour the gravy over the cauliflower and veggies, reserving a small amount for a gravy boat.

Oven Roasting Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  2. Place the Spice/Herb Ingredients into a small bowl, mix well. Set aside.
  3. Add all the Base Ingredients and the Spice/Herb Mix into a ceramic/enamel lined Dutch Oven. Stir well to combine all the ingredients. Mix well by breaking up the tomato paste, almond butter, and the miso to create a smooth broth. (Don’t worry if you can’t break it all up).
  4. Add all the Veggie Ingredients (except the cauliflower) and stir well to coat the veggies, then push the veggies down into the broth.
  5. Remove the outer leaves and trim the stalk from the cauliflower (leaving the core intact), using your hands, place the cauliflower head on top of the mixture, then pour some of the broth all over the cauliflower. Turn it up-side-down and pour some of the broth inside the crevices, then place the cauliflower right-side-up on top of the veggie mixture.  You may need to move some veggies and potatoes around to make sure everything fits well.  The key is the potatoes and carrots should be more submerged in the liquids than the cauliflower.
  6. Cover with a tight-fitting lid, place in a preheated 400 F oven, roast for 40 minutes, spooning the broth over the cauliflower about half way through.
  7. After 40 minutes, remove the lid, test for tenderness and pour more broth over the cauliflower, return to the oven for another 10 to 20 minutes or until tender.  Note:  If the cauliflower cooks faster than the potatoes or carrots, simply remove the cauliflower from the Dutch Oven and return to the oven until the remaining veggies are tender.  If needed, you can place the cauliflower in the microwave to reheat before assembling on a serving platter.
  8. Remove the cauliflower and veggies and place them on a serving platter.
  9. Create a cornstarch slurry by mixing 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch with 3 Tablespoons of water, whisk, then place into the broth. Place the Dutch Oven on the stove top burner on medium-low heat to heat the gravy.  Stir until the cornstarch thickens to a gravy.  If not thick enough take 3 of the potato wedges, remove the skins, and mash them really well, then stir/whisk it back into the gravy to dissolve. Now add an 1/8 teaspoon rosemary, pinch sage, and pinch of black pepper.  Whisk until incorporated.  (See notes)
  10. Taste test ramp up any flavors as desired. Then pour the gravy over the cauliflower and veggie, reserving a small amount for a gravy boat.

Notes

*Tips for Success:

  • Stirring in the Miso, Almond Butter, and Tomato Paste: Do you best to mix in the tomato paste, almond butter, and miso into the broth.  Don’t worry if you can’t completely dissolve them. The heat from the Instant Pot or oven will dissolve them, we just want to make sure they are dissolved as much as possible before hand.
  • Onions: We cut the onions into wedges so that the gravy would be smooth and luscious. We can see how some folks may not care for onion wedges in the gravy.  We simply moved them to the plate with the potatoes, carrots, and celery.  If you don’t like them, then discard as they served their purpose with amazing flavor to the gravy.
  • Celery: Some folks do not care for celery; however, it adds great flavor to this gravy.  We suggest adding the celery, but cutting them in half so you can easily fish them out and discard as they have served their purpose by flavoring the gravy.
  • Thickening the Gravy: We used a cornstarch slurry to thicken the gravy.  The gravy stock should be piping hot from the IP (or oven) so mixing it in should cook it up enough to thicken; however, use the saute mode to cook the cornstarch to avoid a “cornstarchy” flavor.   If not thick enough, take 3 cooked potato wedges, remove the skins and mash then and return it to the gravy and stir it in.  The gravy will continue to thicken as it cools.
  • Instant Pot Herbs and Spices: An Instant Pot generally does one of two things, it either mellows out the spices/herbs or it really intensified them (largely dependent on the spice/herb). We found that after we thickened the gravy we needed to add 1/8 teaspoon ground rosemary, pinch of rubbed sage, and some extra black pepper.  If you find that you want some additional herbs and spices mixed at the end, simply heat the gravy, add in some of your favorite herbs and spices, and cook for several minutes to allow the herbs and spices to marry with the gravy.
  • Oven Herbs and Spices: Roasting tends to intensify herbs and spices as the liquids evaporate creating a very intense flavor.  If you need to add some extra veggie broth when making the gravy and ramp up some spices/herbs to compensate for the extra liquid.
  • Plating the Dish: Carefully remove the cauliflower after cooking and place on a serving platter. We used two large spoons to gently lift the cauliflower out to the platter.  Then carefully remove all the potatoes, carrots, celery, and onions and arrange them all around the cauliflower.  Then pour the gravy over the entire dish.  Reserve a small amount of gravy if you wish for a gravy boat.
  • Cauliflower: When you remove the cauliflower from the IP, the top will be white, that is fine.  When serving, simply pour some gravy over the cauliflower to bring color and flavor to it.
  • Cutting the Cauliflower to serve: We cut into the cauliflower like a pie.  Don’t forget to tell dinner guests to slice out the small core from their piece.  It can be easily identified and removed very easily.
  • Instant Pot Size and Timings: We have an 8-quart Instant Pot.  If using a 6-quart IP, select a smaller cauliflower, and you may find that you need to adjust the timing downward a tad, perhaps 7 to 9 minutes.   We have received feedback that the cooking time of 11 minutes is too long; however, we did numerous tests with great success at 11 minutes with a medium/large cauliflower in an 8 quart Instant Pot.  We suggest test driving this recipe if planning to use for a holiday dinner to get your IP timings down pat.  Note:  The cauliflower is going to be on the tender side since the IP timing is primarily based upon the potatoes and carrots.  It will still stay intact and can be removed easily using two large kitchen spoons.
  • Dutch Oven: We used an 8-quart Dutch Oven.  If using a 6-quart, select a smaller cauliflower.

Notes Continued

*Vegetable Stock:   We use Pacific Organic Low Sodium Vegetable Stock. We love this brand because it is Whole Food Plant Based compliant, as it does not contain MSG, has no oil, and does not contain any highly-processed ingredients.

*Dried Rosemary Powder:  We used Penzeys Rosemary Spain Powdered.  Feel free to use your favorite powdered Rosemary.

*Dried Rubbed Sage:  We used Penzeys Sage Albanian Rubbed.  Feel free to use your favorite rubbed sage.

*Dried Thyme Crushed Leaves:  We use Penzeys French Thyme.  It has amazing flavor.  If you can’t find dried crushed thyme leaves, you can use ground thyme, but use half the amount.

*Almond Butter: You can leave the almond butter out with the understanding that the richness of the gravy may be compromised and you may need to ramp up other ingredients to compensate.

*Yukon Gold Potatoes:  You can use your favorite potato in this dish.  We used Yukon Golds simply because the skins are very thin and do not require peeling.  Other types of potatoes may require peeling off the skin, i.e. Russets, etc.  We cut the potatoes in half, then cut each half into thirds lengthwise to create potato wedges.

*Miso:  We use Miso Master Organic Mellow White Premium Lite Miso, Certified Gluten Free. Miso really lends itself to balancing flavors when you don’t use oil.  You can also substitute with chickpea miso for a soy free version.

*Tamari: We used San J Tamari Soy Sauce, Gluten Free, Reduced Sodium.  You can substitute the tamari with reduced sodium soy sauce, Braggs Liquid Aminos, or Braggs Coconut Liquid Aminos.

*Sea Salt:  Please adjust the sea salt based upon your family’s sea salt preferences and/or based upon dietary needs.

*Servings:  4

*Stores: In the refrigerator for 4-5 days