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Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini-Lemon sauce


Perhaps it’s the paint fumes, but the Australian Man and I remain suspended in a smiley, dreamlike state over the quirky “us”-ness of our new home. After months of renovation frustrations and victories, it’s a joy to witness this now bright, beautiful space slowly come together as the boxes dwindle and little trinkets settle into their spots.

As the dust settles (literally – construction creates unimaginable amounts of dust), we find ourselves gathering at our island stools to share share simple, healthy meals as a break from unpacking.

A recent favorite were these golden, caramelized cauliflower morsels slathered with citrusy tahini sauce. It is an embarrassingly easy dish to make, and can be eaten hot or cold, served with any array of things like salad, oil-packed tuna, or stuffed into a hot pita pocket. Simply brush the cauliflower with olive oil, salt, pepper and cumin and roast until practically singed. The result is an amazingly sweet, crunchy cauli you’ll hardly recognize from the mushy boiled stuff of school cafeterias.

A note on tahini: I’ve found that different brands yield different consistencies when mixed with other elements (like lemon juice or water). Some brands split and go oily, while others morph into a stodgy, unspreadable mess.

In the event you find yourself in either of the aforementioned scenarios, fear not. Do a test run with a small scoop of tahini (say 1 tbsp, mixed with a drop of lemon juice or water). If   the consistency changes for the worst, simply deconstruct the sauce instead of mixing it together. Mix the lemon juice and garlic and drizzle over the baked cauliflower, followed by a generous spoon of tahini.

Serves 2

1 head cauliflower, sliced into 1″ discs or broken into florets
Cumin powder, to taste (about 2 generous teaspoons)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Olive oil, for brushing
1/2 cup tahini
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 big spoonful plain yogurt (if mixing the tahini sauce)
Pre-heat oven to 200C / 400F. 
Slice the cauliflower into 1″-thick discs (all the way across), or separate into large florets. Arrange on a nonstick baking sheet. Brush each piece lightly with olive oil (coating both sides) and sprinkle with the cumin, salt and pepper. Place in the oven to roast for 20 minutes or until golden brown, carefully flipping once halfway through.
In a small bowl, combine the tahini, lemon juice, minced garlic and yogurt. Add a pinch of salt to taste, if desired. Drizzle or spread atop each crispy piece of cauliflower. 
If tahini becomes oily or too thick when mixed with other ingredients, mix the crushed garlic with the lemon juice and drizzle over the cauliflower, followed by the plain tahini.

Audio pairing: Blackalicious, “Make You Feel That Way”

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  • Reply Ingrid 07/05/2013 at 12:03 am

    Must try this! When preparing tahini, I use a heaped tablespoon of tahini paste and slowly add water, stirring all the time, until it has reached a creamy pale consistency. I then add lemon juice, salt, a sprinkle of cumin to taste, and top with a sprinkle of finely chopped parsley. Goes well with any barbecued meat and of course falafel.

  • Reply Julia // A Cedar Spoon 23/03/2013 at 3:25 am

    I saw this on pinterest and had to stop over! I love this idea. The sauce looks amazing.

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  • Reply sarah da jay jay 21/02/2013 at 4:34 pm

    what is tahini

  • Reply GreenBrevity 12/02/2013 at 12:02 pm

    Made this tonight, without the sauce, and it was so good I had to control myself from eating it all in one sitting. Thank you! Will be a new staple in my house.

  • Reply Shilpa Sharma 10/02/2013 at 10:01 pm

    Amazing recipe..made this today and turned out gorgeous. Thanks for sharing..saw this on pinterest. ..totally brilliant…

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  • Reply Rihamah Omar 19/11/2012 at 6:49 pm

    great recipe, just a note about tahini (Tahina) don’t mix it with lemon until you have mixed it with the rest of spices, also use a small amount of vinegar for mixing (1-2 small spoons for the half cup) you can also use 3 big table spoons of water for mixing, then when you finish all the mixing and reach the desired texture, add the lemon juice. try it and tell me what you think.

  • Reply Heidi - Apples Under My Bed 09/10/2012 at 6:09 am

    Looks so delicious, lady!!
    Heidi xo

  • Reply Marisol Jensen 02/10/2012 at 11:32 am

    Hi, any advice… the cauliflower didn’t really get crunchy… Is the trick Olive oil? Should I use more?

    and I did not have any yoghurt handy so I used creme fraiche and it worked great. I got the sauce down (which I used with carrot sticks instead.). Let me know how you get your cauliflower crunchy. I’m so jealous! 😛

    • Reply Yasmeen 03/10/2012 at 4:45 am

      Try a bit of extra olive oil should help. Brush each piece liberally – it’ll help them crisp up in the hot oven. Was your oven preheated to 200C / 400F? If at the end of 20 minutes they’re not browned, keep cooking until they are. Or, if you fear they’ll get too mushy, try cranking up the broiler (keeping a very close eye as they’ll burn quickly) until they get nice and golden.

      Still not working? Let me know and I’ll try to help further.

      Creme fraiche as a substitute is a great idea! It makes it a bit more decadent than yogurt, but who could say no to that?

  • Reply Averie Cooks 28/09/2012 at 9:18 pm

    This looks killer crazy good! Pinning!!!

    • Reply Yasmeen 03/10/2012 at 4:42 am

      Thanks, Averie! So glad you like it.

  • Reply Marisol Jensen 25/09/2012 at 6:29 am

    Bless you, you make me happy! ♥ We are going through moving into our first home and your description on this lovely recipe rings familiar bells over here! 😀

    • Reply Yasmeen 25/09/2012 at 10:21 am

      We packers, movers and renovators are kindred spirits 🙂

  • Reply Tutti Dolci 22/09/2012 at 5:01 pm

    I love roasted cauliflower, this looks scrumptious!

  • Reply Tamzin Pettitt 22/09/2012 at 4:20 pm

    Roasted cauliflower is my favourite!

  • Reply Miranda N Steve Brown 21/09/2012 at 5:34 am

    Do you have the nutrition information or maybe just the calorie info? Thank you I cant wait to try these!

  • Reply Natasha Venzke 12/09/2012 at 4:36 am

    This is delicious. I only made the cauliflower, but we’re going to try it with pitas and the sauce next week.

  • Reply Libby 10/09/2012 at 5:25 am

    I have heaps of tahini at home and mum’s lemon tree is growing beautifully. This is perfect 🙂

  • Reply Bel | Ooh Look 04/09/2012 at 11:15 pm

    So delicious, love the crispy bits on the cauliflower. I’m definitely going to try this wonderful recipe tonight.

    • Reply Yasmeen 04/09/2012 at 11:46 pm

      The crispy brown bits are the best part!

  • Reply MulberryPomegranate 04/09/2012 at 9:38 pm

    Beautiful, simple and healthy! What a great dish – I m going to try this one tonight! Congrats on your new home!!

  • Reply Ambara 04/09/2012 at 9:33 pm

    My dinner tonight, thanks for a great recipe.

    • Reply Yasmeen 04/09/2012 at 11:46 pm

      You’re most welcome 🙂

  • Reply theviewfromGreatIsland 04/09/2012 at 6:21 pm

    These slices of cauliflower look like perfect little trees of life! The embarrassingly easy dishes often turn out to be the best… congrats on getting settled in your new home!

    • Reply Yasmeen 04/09/2012 at 11:47 pm

      Thanks for the congrats and I totally agree, the easiest recipes are most always my favorite.

  • Reply Eileen 04/09/2012 at 5:30 pm

    Roasted cauliflower is the greatest! I love those beautiful wide slices, too–they’d be a great base for so many main dishes. 🙂

    • Reply Yasmeen 04/09/2012 at 11:48 pm

      Agreed – any variety of sauces would go well with these. I’d love to see what you come up with.

  • Reply Candace 04/09/2012 at 5:03 pm

    I’m so excited for you to be happily married in your own beautiful space. I would love for you to share photos if you fell comfortable doing so. Roasted cauliflower is my favorite way to have it. Have you tried it with za’atar on it? Seriously so good. I made some lamb and chicken with your spicy yogurt marinade and planned to serve it with cauli prepared that way and forgot. Thankfully I made enough for leftover pitas tonight and the cauli will definitely be on the menu.

  • Reply Hannah 04/09/2012 at 5:02 pm

    There are no words for how perfect this dish is for my soul.

    • Reply Yasmeen 04/09/2012 at 11:48 pm

      Would a cheesy emoticon satisfy? :*

  • Reply leaf 04/09/2012 at 2:12 pm

    It must be so nice to finally settle in your new home! The cauliflower looks excellent, it can be such a fine line between brown and burnt, but here it looks really perfectly roasted and must go so well with that nutty lemony sauce.

    • Reply Yasmeen 04/09/2012 at 11:51 pm

      It really is nice. I’m trying not to rush myself into furnishing anything, either… I prefer to find things randomly here and there. I need to post some photos…

  • Reply Winston 04/09/2012 at 1:47 pm

    Yummy! I love how there’s so many ways to eat cauliflower, it’s one of the few veggies that I loved eating as a kid (cuz I was so picky then, tsk tsk tsk)… Roasting them with tahini sounds enticing! So trying this. Very happy to hear you and your hub are settling in nicely, comfortably in your new home. Marriage bliss eh? 😉

    • Reply Yasmeen 04/09/2012 at 11:52 pm

      Naughty, picky Winston. I never would have imagined!

  • Reply Sarah at Buttered-Up 04/09/2012 at 1:18 pm

    Definitely trying this out. I’ve got a cauliflower hater in my home and this just might turn him into a believer with that punchy bright sauce.

  • Reply Rosa May 04/09/2012 at 12:48 pm

    Scrumptious! A great idea and wonderful middle Eastern flavors.



    • Reply Yasmeen 04/09/2012 at 11:51 pm

      Thanks, Rosa! The cauliflower itself can follow many cultural paths since it’s so versatile and can really be paired with any sauce. But admittedly this is my favorite.

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