A few weekends ago, our refrigerator stopped working. What elevated it from being annoying to obnoxious was the fact that we had bought it brand new less than one year ago. Although the unit was fixed by the end of the day, we still lost everything in our freezer as it stopped working the night before, and most of our refrigerated items became slightly warm and soggy.
As I waited for the repairman to show up (they gave us no window of time), I did a quick inventory of what I had in my refrigerator without opening it and knew I had some kale and cauliflower that needed to be salvaged. I quickly opened the refrigerator, snatched up my fresh vegetables along with a bit of leftover broth that needed to also be used up, closed it, then pulled out my dehydrator in the effort to preserve the vegetables without a cool place to store them.
To achieve a jerky-like texture, this cauliflower was drenched in a thick blend of tahini, nutritional yeast, sriracha, apple cider vinegar, liquid smoke and broth, then dried at 130 degrees for 12 hours—and was worth the wait! This cauliflower is pleasantly chewy, while the sriracha imparts a nice subtle and even heat throughout. A generous sprinkling of salt before and after dehydration is complete is essential to pull all of the flavors together here while a bit of dried parsley adds a nice pop of color throughout.
Yield 2 cups
- 1/4 cup, plus 2 TB raw tahini
- 1 TB nutritional yeast
- 1-4 tsp sriracha
- 1 TB apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp liquid smoke OR smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup vegetable broth, plus a bit more as needed to make the batter smooth, but still thick
- One head of cauliflower, separated into small, evenly sized florets*
- dried parsley, for serving
- extra salt, for serving
- Combine the tahini, nooch, sriracha, apple cider vinegar, smoke element and salt together. Add in the vegetable broth and gently stir until smooth. You want it to be the consistency of a beer batter. Add a bit more broth to achieve a thick but smooth texture.
- Toss the small florets into the mixture. Stir gently until every piece is well covered.
- Distribute the florets into an ever layer into a dehydrator. Sprinkle the salt evenly over the top. Dehydrate at 130 degrees for 12-14 hours. Sprinkle with a little extra salt and dried parsley to taste once dehydration is complete.
*Try to cut the florets as small as possible—the smallest pieces get the chewiest and have the best flavor.