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"I'm going to show you one of the dishes I'm serving as a side dish for Thanksgiving, but it's also a really hearty, delicious vegetarian meal that you could serve any night of the winter," says Rach. "It's cauliflower studded with semi-dried tomatoes and slathered with kale and pistachio pesto. It is so good, it's kinda crazy!" 

Pro Tip from Rach: Try to use as much of an ingredient as possible when you're cooking. Here, instead of throwing away the greens and trimmings from the cauliflower, she thinly slices them and adds them to the dish. They're delicious and there's no point in wasting them! 

For more Thanksgiving side dishes, check out Rach's Polenta with Rosemary and Black Pepper and Marc Murphy's Brussels Sprouts with Bacon


For the Cauliflower:
  • Salt
  • 3 medium heads cauliflower or 2 large, trimmed and cored a bit, and the greens and trim from cauliflower, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons EVOO
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 onions, quartered and thinly sliced
  • Pepper
  • Bone broth or vegetable stock (about 1 ½ cups)
  • 24 to 30 semi-dried tomatoes
For the Pesto:
  • 1 large or 2 medium bunches flat Tuscan kale, stemmed and coarsely chopped
  • Salt
  • About ¾ cup toasted pistachios
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup grated pecorino cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • Freshly grated nutmeg (about 1/8 teaspoon)
  • About ½ cup EVOO, plus finishing oil
  • Red pepper flakes or crispy chili oil (optional)


Serves: 4 to 8


For the cauliflower, bring a large pot of water to boil, salt it and cook the cauliflower to just tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove and let cool enough to handle at room temp.   

Meanwhile, heat EVOO and butter in a very large cast-iron skillet over medium-low to medium heat.

12-Inch Cast Iron Frying Pan

12-Inch Cast Iron Frying Pan

Rachael Ray
$70 $56

Add onions and stems and core of cauliflower to pan, season with salt and pepper and cook until lightly caramelized, 20 minutes. Add stock, bring to bubble and remove from heat.   

Arrange the cauliflower over the bed of onions to fit the shape of the pan.     

Stud the cauliflower with tomatoes, nesting them in between every quadrant of the heads of cauliflower.    

Preheat oven to 425°F.   

For the pesto, in 4 inches of boiling water, blanch the kale in salted water, then cold shock, pat dry and coarsely chop.    

Add the kale to food processor with about ½ cup pistachios, lemon juice and garlic. Add the cheeses and nutmeg and pulse to combine. Stream the EVOO into the sauce and form a thick pesto.    

Slather the cauliflower with the pesto and pack it down a bit. Cover the pan with heavy foil and heat through when ready to serve. When hot, uncover and crisp a bit, 3 to 5 minutes. Chop remaining pistachios and sprinkle pesto over the cauliflower, followed by pepper flakes or chili oil (if using). Drizzle with oil and serve—half a cauliflower for entree, wedges for snacks or apps.