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Roasted cauliflower with tahini sauce recipe

Roasted cauliflower with tahini sauce recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Side dish
  • Vegetable side dishes
  • Roasted vegetables

Roasting cauliflower intensifies its flavour. It's also great as part of a meze spread.

Île-de-France, France

12 people made this

IngredientsServes: 4

  • For the cauliflower
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 2 teaspoons za'atar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • For the tahini sauce
  • 2 tablespoons plain yoghurt
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • salt to taste
  • To garnish
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon sumac (optional)

MethodPrep:10min ›Cook:40min ›Ready in:50min

  1. Preheat oven to 200 C / Gas 6 and lightly grease a baking tray with a tablespoon of olive oil.
  2. Rinse cauliflower and divide into equally sized florets. Place into a bowl and coat with the remaining olive oil and the za'atar and salt. Toss well. Place cauliflower in a single layer onto the prepared baking tray.
  3. Roast for 35 to 45 minutes in the preheated oven. After 20 minutes turn once.
  4. While the cauliflower is roasting, prepare the tahini sauce: mix together yoghurt, tahini and lemon juice until smooth and well incorporated. Begin stirring in warm water, about a tablespoon at a time, until a drizzling consistency is achieved. Taste and add more salt or lemon juice, if desired.
  5. Also toast the sesame seeds: place a small frying pan over medium heat. Add sesame seeds and toast until golden, about 3 minutes. Remove seeds from pan and set aside.
  6. Remove cauliflower from the oven when tender and golden brown. To serve, place cauliflower in an even layer in a shallow dish or bowl. Drizzle with the tahini dressing, then sprinkle with the sesame seeds and sumac.


Sumac has a lemony flavour that contrasts well with the creamy tahini sauce. If you don't have sumac, you can sprinkle additional za'atar over the finished dish instead.
You can serve the cauliflower hot or at room temperature.

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Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini Sauce

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Recipe courtesy of member Justin Couvillion.

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Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini Sauce

Nutrition Information


Roasted Cauliflower

  • 2 tablespoon(s) olive oil
  • 2 teaspoon(s) cumin
  • 1 head(s) cauliflower cored and cut into 1.5 inch florets
  • 1 /4 teaspoon(s) sea salt (optional)
  • 1 /8 teaspoon(s) black pepper

Tahini Sauce

  • 1 /2 cup(s) tahini (may be found in many middle eastern markets or at Whole Foods)
  • 3 medium garlic clove(s) smashed and minced into a paste
  • 1 medium lemon(s) juiced
  • 1 /2 cup(s) water
  • 1 /4 teaspoon(s) sea salt (optional)
  • 1 /8 teaspoon(s) paprika


  1. Preheat oven to 500 F.
  2. Toss cauliflower, olive oil, cumin, sea salt (if desired) and black pepper together in a large bowl.
  3. Transfer mixture to rimmed baking sheet and spread out evenly.
  4. Bake until cauliflower is browned and tender, 25 - 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  5. Meanwhile, combine tahini, garlic, lemon juice, and water in a small bowl. Season with sea salt if desired and sprinkle paprika on top.
  6. Serve cauliflower hot or at room temperature with tahini sauce.
  7. To make a paleo-friendly hummus, add roasted cauliflower and tahini sauce to a food processor and blend until a paste forms. Add additional olive oil if desired and serve with vegetables.

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Whole Roasted Cauliflower Vegan Recipe

In fact, I really love how easy this dinner recipe is. To prepare cauliflower, first, wash it and pat dry with a paper towel, and trim the outer leaves. That’s it and it’s soo easy. You don’t need a food processor or almost no knife to make this recipe.

Trim off the bottom of the cauliflower, so it can gently sit on the baking dish.

What you need to do next is steaming the head of cauliflower, which will make it easier to absorb the spices. If you don’t have a steamer, just put the head of the cauliflower upside down in a big pot with boiling water and after 5-10 minutes (depending on the size of the vegetable) remove it from the pot with a tong.

Next, preheat the oven. Let the cauliflower cool down just a little that you can be able to hold it. Drizzle with olive oil and rub with the spice mix. For the spice rub, you can use dried ground garlic, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, turmeric, cumin, and lemon pepper. This spice mix will additionally deliver the beautiful taste and color of the whole baked cauliflower.

Personally, I prefer to rub it with my hands, but you can also use kitchen gloves if you prefer not to use your hands. By the way, when you rub it, don’t forget to gently push the cauliflower florets to get the flavor in between. Then put the cauliflower into the baking dish. Remember, you don’t need to wrap the cauliflower head in aluminum foil.

Bake in the preheated oven for half an hour until golden brown and florets are softened. You can check if the cauliflower is ready, by inserting the tip of a knife – it should come in with no resistance.

Baking time depends on the size of the cauliflower head, just wait until it’s brown on the outside.

My tip: You can place baby potatoes (cut in half), baby carrots, and garlic cloves in the pan around the cauliflower. Bake them together with cauliflower, then leave vegetables in the pan longer, if necessary. Having some extra roasted vegetables on the hand is an advantage for you!

While cauliflower head is baking, prepare tahini sauce, de-seed the pomegranate, and chop parsley.

You can then serve whole roasted cauliflower, drizzled with tahini sauce, sprinkled with chopped parsley, pomegranate seeds, and pine nuts.

Tip: If you wish you can add sliced almonds instead. I also like to arrange rocket leaves around the whole roasted cauliflower.

Roasted Cauliflower with Lemon Garlic Tahini Sauce

My mom was in town visiting this past weekend, which was a total treat. We ate our way through the city and hit up some of my favorite restaurants, including Flour Bakery and Tatte for breakfasts, the Butcher Shop and Coppa for dinner and drinks. Every time my mom visits me or my siblings, we eat out most of the time, but she taps into her Lebanese mama role and insists on cooking us a meal – to which I happily oblige, always. This time she cooked kibbeh, and I watched and tried to take notes as she expertly tossed it together without measuring. It totally re-inspired my mission to document those Lebanese comfort food recipes so everyone can make and enjoy them.

This recipe is one of those side dishes that my mom has adapted over the years. Traditionally, in Lebanon, the cauliflower is fried, but 1. frying anything is a pain. I tried making my own traditional falafel once, and it was a nightmare. Let’s just say I ended up with oil everywhere and a couple minor burns. and 2. fried food obviously isn’t the healthiest option as an everyday side. So, I grew up primarily eating this dish with the cauliflower roasted, and to be honest, I kind of prefer it that way.

I pretty much drown the cauliflower in this tahini sauce. And it goes great on other things. You’ll have some leftover tahini sauce so here are a couple of other ideas for ways to use it: on roasted veggies (like sweet potatoes!) throughout the week, as a dressing on a buddha bowl (aka a bowl with grains, roasted veggies, chickpeas, etc) or salad, the list goes on.

Tahini Roasted Cauliflower

This tahini roasted cauliflower is my absolute favorite! It’s the perfect crispy, slightly spicy side dish.

You know you’re really a grown-up when you get excited that your whole family is leaving the house so you can stay behind and clean. I recall the first time I shooed my family out of the house to go do something legitimately fun–roller skating, maybe?–to let me scrub counters and mop floors in peace.

In a similar way, the other night when two of my kids were eating dinner at a friend’s and my husband took my other son out for dinner, I kinda couldn’t contain my excitement. It meant I got to stay home and make myself an entire freaking head of tahini roasted cauliflower.

And this is how I know I’m a grown-up…or how I know I’m a nutritionist…or maybe just how I know I love really good food. Because, friends, this cauliflower is ahhhh-mazing. Over the next two days, I proceeded to eat the entire head myself.

If you’ve ever thought cauliflower was bland, this is the recipe for you. It starts with an Amazing All-Purpose Tahini Sauce–a flavorful blend of tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and spices. For a vegan sauce, this recipe is delightfully, surprisingly creamy. (It gets its silky texture from ground sesame seeds.) Once you’ve whipped up a batch, simply slather it atop perfectly crisped roasted florets…and voila, uber-flavorful veggies!

Not only will you get healthy fats from tahini’s sesame seed base, you’ll add even more of them by roasting cauliflower in olive oil. Meanwhile, cauliflower’s status as a cruciferous veggie makes it a nutrient-dense choice that even may have cancer-fighting properties.

So there you have it–roasted tahini cauliflower, a deliciously creamy, healthy veggie to add to your repertoire. Try it as a side dish with meat, in a grain bowl, or, like me, eat it straight off the pan as a main dish in its own right.

Recipe Summary

  • 1 medium head cauliflower
  • ⅓ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • ½ cup fresh parsley, packed
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro, packed
  • ½ cup tahini
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup chopped dates
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts

Remove stems from cauliflower. Cut head into ½-inch thick slices. Arrange on rimmed baking sheet and brush with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle evenly with cumin, paprika, cayenne, and 1 teaspoon salt. Bake at 425° for 35-45 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy.

In the bowl of food processor, combine parsley, cilantro, tahini, remaining ⅓ cup olive oil, water, lemon juice, and ½ teaspoon salt process until smooth.

Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add dates, walnuts, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt cook until dates are caramelized and nuts are toasted, about 5-7 minutes.

Drizzle cauliflower with green tahini sauce and caramelized date mixture. Serve immediately.

Recipe Summary

  • 1 pound cauliflower florets
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • 1 pinch ground cumin
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce
  • 2 teaspoons water, or as needed
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Place a rimmed baking sheet inside to preheat for 5 minutes.

Toss cauliflower with oil, cumin, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Spread cauliflower carefully on the hot baking sheet. Set the bowl aside.

Roast in the preheated oven until tender and starting to brown, about 15 minutes. Stir and continue roasting until evenly browned, about 5 minutes longer.

Meanwhile, stir tahini and Sriracha sauce together in the bowl. Thin with a little water. Add hot cauliflower and stir gently to coat.

Why you will love this whole roasted cauliflower

This dish is comfort food at its best – you won’t be able to believe that a vegetable like cauliflower can be so yummy. Furthermore, it’s …

  • Crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.
  • Made with simple ingredients.
  • Great either as a main course or a side dish.
  • Easy to make.
  • Gluten-free.
  • Slightly spicy.
  • Earthy, hearty and wholesome.
  • Great for the holiday season.

Yep, if you haven’t tried making a whole roasted cauliflower yet, you really need to give it a go!

Ingredients you will need

  • Cauliflower. I’d recommend using a small or a medium head to make sure it cooks all the way through.
  • Olive oil. I find that olive oil achieves the best earthy flavour.
  • Tamari. You can use soy sauce if not avoiding gluten, or coconut aminos for a soy-free version.
  • Fresh garlic. This will make your kitchen smell amazing!
  • Garlic powder.
  • Garam masala.
  • Cumin.
  • Dried basil.
  • Red chilli. This will add a slight hint of spice, but you can leave it out if you want.
  • Lemon juice.
  • Fresh thyme to sprinkle on top.

How to roast cauliflower

Firstly, preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (350 F) and line a baking tray with a sheet of parchment paper.

Prepare the cauliflower by trimming the leaves and the base of the stalk of the cauliflower, but make sure not to accidentally trim away any of the florets.

Next, mix together the the olive oil, tamari, garlic, garlic powder, garam masala, cumin, dried basil, chilli pepper, and lemon juice.

In order to achieve more flavour, turn the cauliflower upside down and pour in around 1/4 of the sauce, shaking it a few times to distribute it throughout the florets. Place it on the baking tray and brush the rest of the sauce all over the cauliflower. You can also use your hands to do this.

Sprinkle some fresh thyme on top and place in the oven and roast for around 50 minutes, until golden brown on the outside and tender on the inside (you can test for readiness using a toothpick). After around 45 minutes, keep a close eye on it to make sure that it doesn’t start to burn.

Remove the whole roasted cauliflower from the oven and serve immediately with the lemon tahini sauce.

Lemon tahini sauce

You can, of course, serve this whole roasted cauliflower with any sauce of your choice. But I think that this lemon tahini sauce goes so well with the rest of the flavours. Its light, tangy and fresh flavour perfectly contrasts the depth of the cauliflower.

You need just a few ingredients: plant based milk, maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, tahini, lemon juice and salt. Simply whisk them together when the cauliflower is almost ready.

Roasted cauliflower with tahini sauce recipe - Recipes

One of the things I always tell clients about vegan Thanksgiving is that many of the side dishes, including mashed potatoes, green beans, roasted squash and other root veggies, and cranberry sauce, can easily be made vegan. This means that, even if you attend a family gathering that features traditional turkey as a main dish, you’ll probably still have quite a few things to eat–especially if you chat with friends or family about veganizing the sides in advance. Still, it’s nice to have at least one dish that feels like a “main”–something substantial and eye-catching, a centerpiece in its own right.

This whole roasted lemon tahini cauliflower is the best of both worlds. It’s as quick and as easy to prepare as a side dish: really, you just whip up the lemon tahini sauce, baste the cauliflower, and let it roast till tender. But, for a dish that’s so simple to prepare, it’s effortlessly impressive and attention-grabbing. Which means that you can confidently offer it up as a table centerpiece at any gathering.

There are many different approaches to preparing whole roasted cauliflower. Some are as simple as giving the cauliflower head a rub of oil, salt and pepper–even herbs are optional. Other methods are a little more complex I love Jamie Oliver’s whole roasted cauliflower, for instance.

For this dish, I wanted a super streamlined approach, because let’s face it, preparing for the holidays involves enough details! So, I used as a flavor base a lemon tahini sauce that’s similar to many others I’ve shared in the past: a tried-and-true blend of tahini, garlic, lemon, smoked paprika (which complements cauliflower really nicely), and a touch of harissa powder. You make a lot of it–more than you think you need–but then you use just less than half of it to baste the cauliflower, and the rest for serving. No juggling separate gravies or sauces or toppings for this dish!

As you can see, the cauliflower takes on a beautiful, golden hue as it roasts, and the garlic, lemon, and tahini flavors seep right into the vegetable. You can baste it a few times as it cooks if you like, but I just slathered it in the tahini sauce and let it cook. Because you serve the cauliflower with extra sauce at the end, you can take a hands-off approach while it cooks, trusting that the finished product will be very flavorful.

In preparing this dish, I realized that it’s not just suitable for gatherings or holidays, even though the presentation is a little fancy. It’s also a really simple way to prepare cauliflower–easier in a lot of ways than chopping the cauliflower up ahead of time. And it creates such an incredibly tender vegetable: you can see how easily I sliced into the center, to make serving wedges.

To serve, I’d simply pair your cauliflower wedges with the sauce and–if you want to get festive–a sprinkle of pomegranate seeds or fresh herbs. That’s it. With a dish this arresting, you don’t need a lot of fancy garnish.

One note about the cooking process: you’ll want to pick a medium sized head of cauliflower for it (about 6-7 inches in diameter). If you choose a really huge one, it may take too long to cook, in which case the crust could burn before the vegetable is tender. If you’re serving more than 6 folks, I’d simply recommend doubling the recipe. Also note that you’ll probably have a bit of tahini sauce leftover, which you can easily use as a dip or dressing or sandwich condiment in the days after your feast. Better to have a little extra on hand, trust me, than to run out!

Roasted Cauliflower with a Tahini Sauce

Roasted Cauliflower with a Tahini Sauce. I have recently shared some recipes that included Tahini as an ingredient. My family really enjoyed taste testing the recipes as I worked on them, and I have made some of the recipes a few times already for second trials. I was so inspired with my new found love for Tahini that I went a little overboard and stocked my pantry with a few jars. Which lead me to further explore how else I can use this delicious sesame seed butter. I turned to my trusted friend “the internet” for some answers.

I’ll go through some of the ideas I found, and which ones I have tried so far. Through my research I confirmed that tahini can serve as a replacement or alternative to most nut and other seed butters in recipes. Since tahini has a consistency similar to that of peanut butter, it is very versatile. It does not have the sweetness of nut butters and can be more easily used in entrees and soups. So here are a few suggestions, and since we love new ideas and challenges, share yours if you have one to add to this list!