Looking for a healthy option post-Thanksgiving? Try Kaliflower in Chicago's Loop

CHICAGO (WLS) -- After a big Thanksgiving meal this week - and the attendant leftovers - you might be thinking about eating, well, a bit healthier as we head toward the new year.

Our Hungry Hound says there's a new concept store along Michigan Avenue, where cauliflower and a host of other vegetables are the stars. But it's all served in a very fast-casual environment.

It's not the first time a business school plan has led to a restaurant, but the Kaliflower concept is a bit different.

EXTRA COURSE: Vegan-friendly dessert at Kaliflower
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Shopping in Chicago? Grab a healthy snack at Kaliflower.

"We use some high-tech ovens, technology called 'sous vide,' which is a very precise way of cooking proteins to a very specific temperature, to keep chicken more juicy, to cook eggs to the perfect poach," Kaliflower Founder Ben Arnstein said. "It allows us to be more efficient in how we use the space and more consistent in how we cook the food."

The vegetable cutter gets a major workout here. Not only is raw cauliflower pounded into submission, transformed from bulky florets into tiny pieces of cauliflower "rice," but so are red peppers and fresh cucumbers, for a bright, vibrant salad that will eventually show up in a bowl with other veggies.

The cauliflower rice forms the base of almost every bowl, although you can also sub in rice. For the Umami lentil version, they'll add some chopped kale, sliced carrots and a scoop of lentils, then that pepper-cuke mix, plus a lemony vinaigrette and a creamier avocado sauce. Add a sous-vide egg or two for protein.

The tikka bowls have that same cauliflower and kale base, but then comes a dairy-free tikka sauce, a choice of protein - in this case, tofu - plus minty yogurt and crispy chickpeas. They also have a turmeric-cashew soup, featuring homemade vegetable stock; you can get it solo or on top of cauliflower with a protein, say, sous-vide cooked-and-shredded chicken across the top. The prevalence of Indian spices helps boost the flavor profile of most dishes ... a plus for their vegan options.

So if you find yourself window shopping along Michigan Avenue this holiday season, maybe coming from a play, stop at Kaliflower for something, not only fast and healthy, but also delicious.

333 N. Michigan Ave.
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