Umami Veggies


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Umami Carrots & Parsnips

Time: 45 mins Serves: 4

-6 small carrots, peeled and diced into chunks

-4 parsnips, peeled and diced into chunks

-2 tbls olive oil

-2 tbls low-sodium soy sauce

-2 tbls honey

-1 tsp sriracha

-1/2 tsp ground ginger

-1/2 tsp sesame oil

-salt & pepper

-toasted sesame seeds for garnish


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Begin my mixing the olive oil, soy sauce, honey, sriracha, ginger, sesame oil, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper together in a small bowl. Mix well.


Toss in the diced carrots and parsnips. Make sure all of the veggies get coated in the sauce.

Put all of the veggies, along with the sauce in a small glass-baking dish.


Roast the veggies at 375 for 30-40 minutes until they are tender. Stir once about halfway through the baking process.


When the veggies are done roasting, sprinkle with the sesame seeds and serve.


****Veggies are from Johnson’s Backyard Garden, in Austin, Texas.


Faux Shepherds Pie


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This recipe is Shepherd’s Pie lightened up! No guilty feeling about going back for seconds on this one! Crowd pleaser! 

This is one of my absolute favorite recipes that really confuse people! They say, “There is no way this dish can be light!” oh but it is my friends… it is! By simply swapping the traditional heavy mashed potato topping for a light puree, you are taking huge strides towards healthy. I take it one more step by swapping the rich lamb meat for a very light and healthy 99% fat free ground turkey. These are easy, easy swaps that you can make not only in this dish, but many of your other favorites!

When I saw celery root at my favorite farmers market stand, Johnson’s Backyard Garden, I knew I had to try a faux mashed potato recipe with them! My go to is always a cauliflower puree, but I love the sharpness the celery root adds. The combination of the two is actually the closest I’ve gotten to the puree really tasting like actual potatoes! I don’t know the scientific chemistry behind it, but somehow these two come together with a little bit of garlic, to completely fool the biggest potato lovers out there! Use this celery root/cauliflower puree as a swap for a mashed potato side dish any time. It’s awesome!

Faux Shepherd’s Pie

Time: 1.5 hrs Serves: 4

-1 lb ground turkey

-1 onion, diced

-6 small (or 3 large) carrots, peeled and diced

-3 celery ribs, diced

-salt & pepper

-1/2 tbls red pepper flakes

-1/2 tbls garlic powder

-2 tbls unsalted butter

-4 tbls olive oil

-2 tbls all purpose flour

-2 cups of low-sodium chicken stock

-3 celery roots, peeled and diced into ½ in pieces

-1/2 cauliflower head, cut into florets

-3 garlic cloves, smashed

-1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded


Melt the butter with 2 tbls of the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat.

Add the onions, a sprinkle of salt & pepper, red pepper flakes, and garlic powder. Cook until the onions are softened and translucent.

Add the carrots, cook for 3 minutes.

Add the celery, cook for another 2 minutes.

Remove the veggies, and set aside.


Meanwhile, in a medium saucepot, cover the cauliflower, celery root, and garlic cloves with ½ in of water.


Bring to a boil. Cook until the veggies are very soft. Drain. Return the veggies to pot, and blend with a hand blender. You can do this step in a stand blender as well. Blend until smooth. Add salt & pepper to taste.


Up the heat on the Dutch oven to medium-high, add 2 tbls of olive oil. Add the ground turkey, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Cook until the meat is browned.

Add the veggies back into the pot with the meat. Stir well to combine. Cook for another 5 minutes.


Add the flour, stir well to coat the veggies. Cook for 3 minutes to cook out the raw flour taste.

Slowly, add the chicken stock while stirring. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, stir often. Allow the “gravy” to thicken slightly.   About 7-8 minutes.


Add the mixture to a greased 9×9 baking dish. Level it out.

One spoonful at a time, gently layer the celery root/cauliflower puree on top of the turkey & veggie mixture. Make sure to do this evenly, so the puree will cover all of the mixture, and gently, so you can keep the layers separate.


Sprinkle the top with cheese.

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

Then crank the oven up to broil, and cook for another 5-7 minutes until the cheese layer is bubbly and beginning to brown.


Allow the “pie” to cool for 10 minutes, then enjoy! It’s SO good!


Chicken & Sweet Potato Risotto


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Chicken and Sweet Potato Risotto

Time: 1 hour Serves: 4

-2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into ½ in pieces

-1 chicken breast, diced into 1/2 in pieces

-1/3 cup of flour

-1/2 onion, diced

-4 garlic cloves, minced

-1/2 cup white wine

-1 cup of Arborio rice

-3 cups of chicken stock

-1 cup of parmesan

-3 tbls olive oil

-3 tbls unsalted butter

-salt & pepper

-1 tbls fresh parsley, finely chopped


-Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

-Toss the diced sweet potato with 1 tbls of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Roast at 375 until soft on the inside with some crisp, caramelized edges. About 12-15 minutes.


-In a medium saucepot, over medium-low, warm the chicken stock.

-Heat 2 remaining tbls of olive oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat.

-Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Toss the chicken in the flour until it is lightly coated. Just dusted.

-Add the chicken to the dutch oven. Cook until it is cooked through and lightly browned on the outside. When it is done, remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.


-Turn the heat down to medium, add the onions, and cook until they are translucent and soft. 5-7 minutes.

-Add the garlic, and cook for another 2 minutes.


-Add the rice to the onions and garlic. Toast the rice until it gives off a nutty smell. About 5 minutes.


-Add the wine. Allow the rice to completely absorb the wine.

-Slowly, only a few ladles at a time, add the chicken stock. Allow the rice to absorb all of the liquid before adding more. It will take about 20-25 minutes before the rice is done. This is a labor of love, but it is worth it!


-When the rice is cooked, gently fold in the chicken and sweet potato. Cook for a few minutes to allow everything to get warm and come together.


-To finish off the risotto, add the butter and ½ cup of parmesan cheese. Mix well.

-Garnish each plate with more parmesan. Enjoy!


***Sweet potatoes and parsley are from Johnson’s Backyard Garden in Austin, Texas.

Stuffed Collard Greens


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Do you dread Meatless Monday? Well not anymore! My stuffed collard greens will leave you filling so satisfied you would forget all about the meat… well until Tuesday 🙂

This is a great weeknight meal that can be put together in about an hour and is full of healthy nutrients for your family! It is perfect for a Meatless Monday meal! I am a southern girl and was raised on spicy southern collard greens, so I added plenty of spice to this stuffing mixture, but feel free to adjust the spice to fit your family’s needs. Quinoa and cannellini beans add plenty of protein so you won’t notice that it is vegetarian.

The collard greens, and carrots are from my CSA box from Johnson’s Backyard Garden in Austin, Texas.

Stuffed Collard Greens

Time: 1 hour   Serves: 4

-4 large collard green leaves

-1/2 cup quinoa

-1 cup water

-1/2 onion, diced

-2 small carrots, peeled and diced

-4 garlic cloves, minced

-3 tbls unsalted butter

-2 tbls olive oil

-salt & pepper

-1 tbls red pepper flakes

-1 tsp paprika

-1/2 tsp dried parsley

-1 can of cannellini beans, rinsed & drained

-1/4 cup sunflower seeds

-1/2 cup parmesan

-1 jar of marinara sauce (or your favorite homemade sauce)


Bring quinoa and water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. Allow the quinoa to rest for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork. Set aside.

Bring a pot of salted water to a low boil. Immerse the collard greens, one at a time, in the water for about 20-30 seconds until they are bright green and softened. Set aside on paper towels to drain. Repeat this same step with all four collard greens.


Over medium heat, melt the butter and olive oil together. Add the onion, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, red pepper flakes, and paprika. Cook until the onion is softened and translucent.

Add the garlic and parsley to the onions. Cook for another 5 minutes.

Add the carrots. Cook for another 5 minutes.


Add the cannellini beans, mix gently. Warm the beans through, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Add the mixture to a medium mixing bowl. Gently fold in the quinoa, sunflower seeds, and parmesan, until everything is well combined.


Working with one collard green at a time, lay the collard green on a flat surface and add ¼ of the mixture to the center of the leaf. Fold in the sides, and then starting at the bottom, roll the leaf over the mixture until you get a rolled leaf that resembles an eggroll.

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Repeat this step with each collard green.

Place the stuffed collard greens, seam side down, in a baking dish that is coated with olive oil on the bottom.


Pour the marinara over the top of the wraps.

Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Cover with foil, and bake at 375 for 25 minutes.

Remove the foil and bake for an additional 5 minutes.

Allow the dish to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Garnish each stuffed collard green with a spoon of the marinara and an extra sprinkle of parmesan.



Butternut Squash & Brussels Sprouts Wrap


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Missing the decadent dishes of the holidays? Need a break from your strict diet plan? Look no further. This Thanksgiving wrap is decadent, delicious, and will have you seeing pumpkin pie and Santa again, but won’t set you back a week from your new years resolutions.

I don’t know about you, but this is about the time when I start missing the holiday grub. Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners seem like a distant memory and a far, far future, I’m just about over my “dieting” New Years Resolutions, and I start to daydream about turkey and all the fixin’s!! Those day dreams is how this “Thanksgiving Wrap” came into existence. Lucky for me, my local grocery store always has some pre-made containers of chicken salad, but also… wait for it… Cranberry Turkey Salad!!! Yes, it is a little bit of heaven when you cannot look at another carrot stick and are ready for a big cheat! 🙂 You can also make this wrap using your holiday dinner leftovers! I know we are always looking for new ways to re-invent the Thanksgiving left-over sandwhich. This is it! The butternut squash puree, rather than mustard or mayo, and roasted brussel sprouts, rather than lettuce, give this wrap the holiday kick you are looking for! And it’s delicous! YUM! Enjoy!

Thanksgiving Wrap

Time: 40 mins Makes: 6 servings

-1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced into 1 inch pieces

-1 bunch of brussel sprouts, halved

-2 tblsp olive oil

-salt & pepper

-2 tbls chicken stock

-cranberry & turkey salad (my local grocery store always has this, but feel free to use leftover turkey and cranberry sauce if you have it)

-1/2 stalk of celery, thinly sliced

-tortilla wraps

-sliced swiss cheese


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Toss the butternut squash and brussel sprouts with the olive oil, and place on a sheet tray. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Roast the veggies for 30 minutes, and the squash is tender and the brussel sprouts are slightly charred.

Place the butternut sqash in a small bowl with the chicken stock. Using an immersion blender, blend the squash until it is a smooth puree. (If you do not have an immersion blender, you can use a food processor or standard blender.)

Allow the squash puree to cool to room temperature and then refridgerate.

To assemble the wrap:

Slather a good amount of butternut squash puree onto the center of your tortilla wrap.

Next, make a layer of celery slices.

Next, add one slice of swiss cheese. I cut my slice in half to make it the length of the tortilla.

Next, add your cranberry/turkey salad.

Lastly, top it off with some of your roasted brussel sprouts!

Now just roll it up! Enjoy! A little bit of the holidays in a easy, tasty wrap!

*****Butternut squash, and brussels sprouts are from Johnson’s Backyard Garden in Austin, Texas.

Roasted Beet & Goat Cheese Pizza on a Quinoa Crust


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Beet and goat cheese salad, and warm spinach salads are a staple on any upscale restaurant menu. This recipe adds a little playfulness to an otherwise stuffy luncheon dish.

Two salads you can always bet to see at restaurants are the beet and goat cheese salad, and the warm spinach salad. This pizza combines the two on a protein rich quinoa crust.

Johnson’s Backyard Garden offers a selection of beets for their CSA boxes, including red, golden, and candy-cane varieties. When roasted, these gems add a royal flair to a salad, or this case a pizza. You can even replace the roasted beets with thinly shredded and pickled beets. Yum.

I happen to love warm beet salads with the tangy goat cheese. I also love fresh greenery on top of my pizzas. And who doesn’t agree that bacon makes everything better? This recipe offers the best of both worlds! Enjoy!

Roasted Beet & Goat Cheese Pizza on a Quinoa Crust

Time: 1.5 hrs Serves: 4

-2 beets, peeled and diced into ½ in pieces (I used 1 gold, and 1 red for color)

-6 slices of thinly sliced pancetta

-3 scallions, thinly sliced

-1/2 cup of quinoa, toasted and then cooked according to package directions, allow to cool

-4 tbls olive oil

-2 eggs

-1tsp baking powder

-1tbls dried Italian seasoning

-1tsp dried garlic powder

-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

-1 cup of shredded “pizza” blend cheese

-1/3 cup of alfreado sauce

-salt & pepper

-2 tbls goat cheese

-2 cups fresh spinach

-1/2 cup parmesan, freshly grated


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Toss the beets with 1 tbls of olive oil, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Roast the beets for 20-25 minutes until the beets are soften and slightly caramelized.


At the same time, roast the pancetta slices until crisp. 10-15 minutes.


Raise the oven to 425 degrees.

Mix in ½ cup of shredded cheese into the cooled, cooked quinoa.


In a small separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, 1 tbls olive oil, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, baking powder, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper.


Combine the egg mixture with the quinoa. This is your “dough”.

Line a sheet tray with parchment paper, and spray liberally with non-stick spray.

Press out the “dough” onto the sheet tray until the crust is about ½ in thick.


Bake the crust for 15-20 minutes until it is golden brown.


Top the pizza crust with the alfreado sauce, then sprinkle with remaining shredded cheese.

Next, add the crispy pancetta and roasted beets.

Crumble the goat cheese on top.


Bake the pizza for another 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, toss the spinach with 1 tbls of olive oil and a good sprinkling of salt and pepper.

Allow the pizza to cool for 5 minutes.

Top the pizza with the fresh spinach and a sprinkling of freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Slice the pizza and enjoy!


Parsnip & Turnip Puree with Dino Kale


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Hide the veggies and the salad on the dinner plate without your kids every knowing it’s there!

This puree is perfect for upping the nutrient levels for our kid’s dinner. They will assume the puree is extra creamy mashed potatoes and will gobble them right up! Also, by combining the puree with thinly sliced kale, they won’t be able to fight you on eating salad! I learned this trick when I was living in The Netherlands, where they cut up and mix everything on the children’s plates together so they can’t pick anything out that they “don’t like”; it’s genius. This is a real winner. Enjoy!

Parsnip & Turnip Puree w/ Dino Kale

Time: 30 mins Serves: 4 

-1lb parsnips, peeled and diced

-2 medium turnips, peeled and diced

-1/2 cup of heavy cream

-4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

-1 rosemary sprig, whole

-2 tbls unsalted butter

-salt & pepper

-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

-1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

-1 cup of dino kale, thinly sliced

-1 tbls chives, thinly sliced

-1/2 tbls olive oil


Place diced parsnips and turnips into a medium saucepot, cover with water, salt generously, and bring to a boil. Simmer the veggies until they are very tender when pricked with a fork. About 10-15 minutes.


Meanwhile, in a small saucepot, combine the heavy cream, butter, garlic, red pepper flakes, rosemary sprig, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Bring the cream mixture to heat over medium-low.


Drain the veggies, and then return them to the saucepot immediately. Allow some of the excess water to evaporate.

With a hand blender, or you can transfer the veggies to a stand blender or food processor, begin to puree the veggies.   Slowly adding the cream mixture as needed. Puree until the mixture is completely smooth.


Add in the parmesan cheese and dino kale. Mix over low heat until everything is well combined, and the kale has gotten a chance to wilt slightly. About 5 minutes.


Taste for any additional salt and pepper needed.

Lastly, drizzle in the small bit of olive oil.

Enjoy with chicken, steak, or pork! Just substitute for mashed potatoes! The kids won’t even know 😉


*****Parsnips, Turnips, and Kale are all from my CSA box from Johnson’s Backyard Garden.

Roasted Carrot & Beet Soup


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Looking for a festive and healthy option for Valentine’s Day dinner? Check out my Roasted Carrot & Beet Soup!

Valentine’s Day equals chocolate to most of us, but it also means the first big step in surrendering to those New Years weight loss resolutions. Chocolate upon chocolate treats seem to stare you down wherever you go at this time of year, but you don’t have to give in! You can still be festive and celebrate love this year.

My Roasted Carrot & Beet Soup can be the star dish and decoration at your Valentine’s Day dinner party…. It’s pink!! The beets in the soup turn it the most shockingly gorgeous pink; it’s hard to believe it is natural!

Carrots and beets are well stocked in my CSA box this time of year from Johnson’s Backyard Garden, but I have been saving this delightful soup for the Valentine’s Day celebrations. Most of us aren’t used to sitting down to dinner and seeing something bright pink on the plate, but trust me; the delicious flavors are there. The addition of some spices gives a little kick to the sweet roasted beets and carrots.

Have fun with your guests this Valentine’s Day! Pink soup! YUM!

Roasted Carrot & Beet Soup

Time: 45 mins Serves: 4

-5 beets, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces

-5 medium carrots, peeled and cut in half lengthwise and across

-1 medium onion, diced

-1 head of garlic, tail end (opposite from the “hair”) cut off exposing all of the cloves

-4 scallions, white parts only, thinly sliced

-olive oil

-3 tbls butter

-1 tsp red pepper flakes

-1/2 tsp cayenne

-1/8 tsp chili powder

-1/8 tsp paprika

-1/2 tsp dried parsley

-salt & pepper

-1 cup of heavy cream

-3 cups of low-sodium chicken stock

-1/2 cup of water


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Place the carrots and beets on a sheet tray. Toss with 1 tbls of olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Wrap the garlic clove in aluminum foil. Drizzle with ½ tbls of olive oil before sealing the packet. Place the packet on the tray with the beets and carrots.


Roast the veggies in the oven for 30 minute until everything is very fork tender. (you want the veggies to be super soft so the puree will be fairly smooth.)

Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, melt the butter into 1 tbls of olive oil over medium heat.

Add the onions, red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, paprika, chili powder, parsley, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Cook over medium until the onions until they are softened, then reduce the heat to medium-low so they can caramelize. This will take about 30 minutes.


When the roasted veggies are done, add them to the onions. Toss to coat the veggies in the butter.


Remove the garlic from the foil, and squeeze out the roasted garlic cloves.

Add all of the vegetables, and the roasted garlic to a blender or food processor. Pulse until the mixture is smooth.

Slowly add the chicken stock until the soup is your desired consistency. I like this type of soup to be a little bit thick, so I used about 2 cups. The amount of stock will depend on how thick your carrot and beet puree is.

Next add the heavy cream, and stir manually. (This will turn the soup a bright pink color! I just love that beets are so naturally colorful!)

Taste the soup for salt and pepper, add more if necessary.

Sprinkle each serving with roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds) if desired!


Green Vegetable Stir-Fry


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Bright green, fresh veggies can brighten up your winter season as well as your kitchen!

My CSA box from Johnson’s Backyard Garden, was bursting with fresh green veggies this week, which is why they are being showcased in this recipe to remind us that color does still exist, even in these dreary winter months.

This dish takes no time to prepare, and will feed a hungry crowd. It is vegetarian and loaded with protein from the edamame, but you could always add sautéed shrimp or chunks of chicken if you prefer. The addition of the Sriracha is welcomed in my house, especially when the temperatures outside are dipping below freezing… I like to kick up the heat in the food! I hope you enjoy!

Green Veggie Stir-Fry

Time: 20 mins Serves: 6

-1 box (8-10 oz) rice noodles

-2 tbls vegetable/canola oil


-1 onion, sliced thin

-1 head of cabbage, thinly sliced

-1 head of broccoli, trimmed into florets

-1 ½ cups sugar snap peas, chopped into ½ in pieces (use snow peas if you prefer)

-2 cups of edamame, shelled


-2 garlic cloves, minced

-1/4 cup low-sodium chicken stock

-1/3 cup of low-sodium soy sauce

-1/2 tbls sesame oil

-1 tsp rice wine vinegar

-1 tsp ground ginger

-salt & pepper


-3 scallions, thinly sliced

-1/4 cup of cilantro, chopped roughly

-2 tbls toasted sesame seeds

-Sriracha (optional)


Cook the noodles to the directions on the box. Drain, and rinse with cold water. Allow to sit.

Combine the “Sauce” ingredients together in a bowl. Set to the side.

In a large skillet, or wok, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Sautee the onions until they begin to soften. About 6-7 minutes.


Add the broccoli and cook for another 3 minutes until the broccoli is bright green.


Add the cabbage and cook for another 2 minutes.


Add the “Sauce”. Combine well. Bring sauce to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the snap peas and edamame. Cook for 3 minutes to warm through.

**** You can now allow the veggies and sauce to cool completely and toss with the noodles and serve as a cold salad. Optional. ***

To serve hot, toss in the noodles, combine well until the sauce coats the noodles.

Turn off heat and top with chopped scallions, cilantro, and sesame seeds.


Top each serving with Sriracha if desired.



Roasted Cauliflower & Garbanzo Bean Pasta


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Protein packed pasta that satisfies both the eye and the tongue.

Getting protein into our diet is vital for us all, but especially for those who opt for a vegetarian lifestyle or limit their consumption of meat. Beans are a great way to add protein into any dish, even pasta. This pasta dish uses beans as both the base for the sauce, and as a texture element. I hope you like it as much as I do! YUM J

This roasted cauliflower and garbanzo bean pasta is warm, hearty, and beautiful thanks to finding purple cauliflower at my local farmers market stand, Johnson’s Backyard Garden. The contrast of purple and white cauliflower livens up the tone of a garbanzo bean sauce. Enjoy!

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Roasted Cauliflower & Garbanzo Bean Pasta

Time: 45 mins Serves: 4

-2 small or 1 large head of cauliflower, trimmed into florets (I used both purple and white cauliflower to add a pop of color)

-1 onion, small diced

-2 tbls unsalted butter

-3 tbls olive oil

-2 tsp red pepper flakes

-salt & pepper

-6 cloves of garlic, finely minced or grated

-2 cans of garbanzo beans, rinsed

-2 cups of low-sodium chicken broth

-1lb pasta, any short cut (I used shells), cooked to al dente and drained

-parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)

-1/4 cup scallions, thinly sliced (optional)


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Toss the cauliflower florets with 1 tbls of olive oil and spread evenly on a large sheet tray. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.

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Roast the cauliflower in the oven for 30 minutes, until tender and lightly browned in some places.

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Meanwhile in a large pan over medium high heat, melt the butter with the remaining 2 tbls of olive oil.

Add the onion, red pepper flakes, and a sprinkle of salt & pepper.   Cook for 5 minutes until the onion begins to soften.

Lower the heat to medium low, and continue to cook the onions until they are caramelized and golden brown.

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Add the garlic, and cook for another 5 minutes.

While the garlic is cooking, blend the chicken stock with half of the garbanzo beans until a smooth puree is formed.

Add the puree to the onions. Bring the mixture up to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and allow the sauce to thicken. About 8 minutes.

Add the remaining garbanzo beans, pasta, and roasted cauliflower. Mix well.

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I like to garnish my pasta with some freshly grated parmesan cheese, and a sprinkle of scallions for additional color.

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