Greek Braised Cauliflower with Tomato – Kounoupidi Kapama

December 2, 2014

Greek braised cauliflowerThis is the classic way Greeks cook cauliflower which we pronounce it kounoupithi. Surprisingly this is a comfort food for many of us. Yes, imagine that, cauliflower a comfort food. But we associate  it with winter, it is a dish traditionally made in the cool months as this is when cauliflower is available. The “tomato” that is used is actually tomato paste. This is because, as tomatoes are not in season in the winter, many “winter” traditional recipes use tomato paste which was a way to preserve tomatoes.

This is basically a lathero, in other words vegetables cooked in olive oil and some form of tomato. It may be called kounoupithi yiahni or kounoupithi kokkinisto or kounoupithi kapama. One thing that is important to note is that as with all lathera, you cook the vegetables until they are only left with their olive oil, it should not be watery.

This recipe is my mom’s, she adds a few spices which really make a difference in this dish. Many traditional recipes use onions, this one does not. My mom also adds potatoes. This is a common practice, because since this is a main course, the homecooks would add potatoes to add some more substance to the meal and stretch it so that it could feed more people.

It really is a humble dish that was consumed regularly during the winter months along with feta cheese and bread. But, when I think about its nutritional value, it offers so much. First of all those cancer fighting antioxidants and fiber in the cauliflower, the lycopene from the tomato and the olive oil providing the good fats and its own antioxidants. And since it is consumed as a main course, you really are able to fulfill a large amount of your daily vegetable needs with this dish. Imagine one large cauliflower head is enough for about 2-3 people.

And this is the beauty of these cooked dishes, the fact that you can actually eat a half cauliflower head in one meal, as opposed to trying to eating 2-3 tiny raw cauliflower florets dipped in ranch dressing…

Traditional Greek Braised Cauliflower Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Category: Entree, Side Dish

Cuisine: Greek, Mediterranean, Vegan

Traditional Greek Braised Cauliflower Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 large cauliflower head washed and separated in medium sized florets
  • ½ - ¾ cup olive oil
  • 1 potato cut into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 allspice berries
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 3 clove buds
  • salt/pepper

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, or deep pan heat the olive oil, add the cauliflower, potatoes, and spices, pepper and sauté, browning the cauliflower a bit.
  2. Add the tomato paste and 1 teaspoon salt, swirl it around heating it as well.
  3. Add some hot water until cauliflower is about half way covered (you can always add more later if needed). Stir gently.
  4. Lower heat, assemble cauliflower so that that stems face down. Cover pot and let it simmer for about 30-50 minutes (check that the cauliflower is very soft, but not falling apart, also the sauce should not be watery).
  5. Serve warm or at room temperature, spoon some sauce on top and some feta cheese.

Photo by Elena Paravantes

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20 Comments

  • Reply Melike Kavala December 5, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    Hi Elena, nice to hear from you after sometime..such a humble and delicious recipe..thank you..

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RD December 5, 2014 at 4:17 pm

      Thank you Melike!

  • Reply Anonymous December 6, 2014 at 2:04 am

    My mother used to make this during lenten season. What a nice reminder! Perfect timing for those of us that observe lent.

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RD December 10, 2014 at 7:13 am

      Yes, definitely! And tasty too.

  • Reply peptides good or bad December 9, 2014 at 6:46 pm

    Good article!

  • Reply Marion December 17, 2014 at 8:03 am

    Eτσι έχει άλλη γεύση το κουνουπίδι Ελενα.
    Πολύ ωραίο. Κάποτε είχα φάει σε ένα χωριό κουνουπίδι στιφάδο. Οτι πιο ωραίο εχω φάει. Η μυρωδιάτου ήταν απίστευα ωραία.
    Πολύ ωραίο συνοδευτικό και έξω από τα συνηθισμένα.

    Καλή σου μερα 🙂

  • Reply Shelah April 26, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    Elena,

    When you say to heat the olive oil, do you use the medium or higher heat setting?

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RD April 26, 2015 at 1:03 pm

      Medium , for sauteing.

      • Reply Shelah April 26, 2015 at 2:15 pm

        Thank you!

        As you can see, I have so many questions. I imagine it would be wonderful to attend a workshop with you!

  • Reply Greek Style Green Beans-Fasolakia Lathera | Olive Tomato May 14, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    […] to make. Lathera are made with seasonal vegetables. For example in the winter a typical dish is cauliflower, in the summer green beans and okra are very common. But lathera are perfect for the summer, […]

  • Reply Luke October 6, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    Hi Im making this recipe right now and can’t wait to try it! Great TED talk btw 🙂 I just have a quick question… When you say at the end “serve with sauce and feta” what do you mean by sauce? Is there a certain sauce recipe that you have on your website that goes with all lathera dishes? Thanks!

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RD October 6, 2015 at 3:44 pm

      Thanks Luke! By sauce I mean what is leftover in the pot.

  • Reply How to Follow the Mediterranean Diet During Fall and Winter in 10 Simple Steps | Olive Tomato January 18, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    […] Cruciferous Vegetables the Greek Way A popular Greek winter dish is cauliflower cooked in the pot with tomato paste and olive oil, we eat it once a week during winter. You can also […]

  • Reply Alita March 3, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    Hi Elena. This is one of my favourite Greek recipes and the only one I make consistently as it’s so easy. I also add lemon juice along with the tomato paste, have you ever tried it this way? (I agree that the cloves and cinnamon make this dish special).

  • Reply Ronnie Lee Ellis October 17, 2016 at 12:18 am

    When serving feta with lathera, how much feta is a typical serving for an adult? I’m sorry, we are just getting adjusted to this way of eating.

    • Reply Elena October 26, 2016 at 8:51 am

      I would stick to about 1 1/2 ounces

  • Reply Greek Cauliflower Rice with Feta | Olive Tomato November 14, 2016 at 1:50 pm

    […] a few spices? Now that sounds good. So here it is. Basically a different version of the traditional Greek braised cauliflower. With a sprinkle of crumbled feta and a drizzle of olive oil, this was exactly how I imagined it: […]

  • Reply Avoid Holiday Weight Gain with this Greek Diet Strategy | Olive Tomato December 1, 2016 at 11:51 am

    […] Soft, tender cauliflower stewed in olive oil and tomato sauce and flavored with spices. GET THE RECIPE […]

  • Reply Roasted Cauliflower with Cheese and Garlic January 26, 2018 at 9:18 am

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  • Reply Mediterranean Diet Against Depression: What to Eat and What to Avoid | Olive Tomato September 30, 2018 at 7:21 pm

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