I love popcorn — in fact, anything corn from tortilla chips, to polenta, to corn on and off the cobb (when I was a little girl I used to call them “up corn” and “down corn”, respectively). Because of the potentially serious health hazards of the genetically engineered strains that dominate most of our US marketplace, I would only buy organic brands, but last year it became apparent that this yummy grain and I are not compatible.
Shopping at a local health food store the other day, one of the employees who shares my love of raw foods told me about this recipe: Just clean the cauliflower, break into bite-sized piece, put in a plastic bag or bin, pour over nutritional yeast, shake and dehydrate for 5 hours for a popcorn-like treat.
I decided to try this in the “drier” version (yeast only) and one with some oil (I used sunflower seed oil) and the yeast for a fattier version. Sprinkled some Himalayan Sea Salt on both of these, too.
Cauliflower is becoming the new anti-grain ingredient, appearing on Paleo-influenced dishes, from “mashed potatoes” substitutes to pizza crusts. As a matter of fact, I am currently working to perfect a cauliflower pizza crust. Nutritional yeast is one of my favorite pantry items; You can find it usually in the bulk section at your local health food store. It is a non-active yeast that is grown on molasses and contains many of the B profile (including B12) and other micronutrients. Best of all, it has a very cheesy taste and makes a superb replacement for Parmesan cheese.
A lot of people ask me if having a dehydrator is really important to the Raw Fusion Lifestyle; This is one of those treats that make we want to encourage you to get one. Another question I get at my workshops and classes is “which one?” Undoubtedly the Excalibur is the most efficient as you can make all of those great crackers and wraps with the large square trays and teflex-coated sheets, but even one of the less expensive brands, like the American Harvest, will make these “popcorn” treats along with kale chips, nutty scones (like these Brazilian Bliss Bites) and dehydrated fruits. You can buy the non-stick sheets for the economy models, circular in shape like elongated donuts. I’ve never worked with those, but next week I’ll be experimenting with one of the American Harvester when I’m facilitating a Heart Healthy Living program in West Virginia.
You will want to polish these off even before the 5 hours is up! I sprinkled on one of my favorite spices — a Middle Eastern gem called sumac, which has a very tangy, lemony flavor (and one I used to use on air-popped corn along with flaxseed oil). This is also great with sour plum (umebyoshi) vinegar, which combines perfectly with cauliflower.
Cheezy Cauliflower Popcorn
1/2 head of cauliflower
4 TB. nutritional yeast
Himalayan or Celtic sea salt
2 tsp. oil of your choice (olive, coconut, grapeseed, macadamia — I used sunflower seed oil)
Optional toppings: Umebyoshi vinegar, powdered suma (a Middle Eastern Spice)
Directions: Clean the cauliflower with veggie wash and rinse well but do not dry. Divide the half cauliflower into two pieces. Chop into bite-sized pieces. In a plastic bag put half of the cauliflower in and 2 TB. of the nutritional yeast. Seal and shake well. Pour onto dehydrator tray (best on a piece of parchment paper) and add a little salt. For the second batch repeat, but first add the oil and then the yeast. Dehydrate about 5 hours at 115 degrees.
If you do not have a dehydrator, try putting these on a parchment paper covered cookie sheet and bake at a very low temperature (you can leave the door cracked open)
NOTE: The oil-coated pieces will not be dry but it’ s a nice combination to mix both of them in a bowl. Enjoy!