Try our Cauliflower Tahini for our answer to your side dish dilemmas, caramelised-nutty cauliflower florets are tossed in aromatic za’atar spices then placed on a bed of lemony tahini dressing for an unforgettable dinner side that will outshine the main.
There is just something absolutely irresistible about roasting cauliflower it transforms it into a wonderfully caramelised, almost sweet nutty flavour. Perfect with the earthy spiciness in our za’atar blend and the tangy creaminess in our tahini lemon dressing.
This is a great salad to serve with roasted and grilled meats alike as well as tagines, casseroles and stews. Try it with your lamb roast or with pomegranate chicken - absolutely sensational!
Let’s talk ingredients and substitutions
- Cauliflower - we have used a white cauliflower, but you can use any colour that takes your fancy, this recipe will also work well with romanesco cauliflower.
- Za’atar Spices - for earthiness and flavour, you can also try using some fennel or cumin seeds instead. But, this salad works just as well without any spices at all if you are looking for something a bit simpler.
- Lemon Tahini Dressing - I just love the tangy creaminess in this dressing but if you are unable to find it or just plain don’t like it then you can substitute the tahini with any nut butter that takes your fancy such as almond butter or cashew butter. I would also replace the pistachio garnish with roasted crushed almonds or roasted crushed almonds depending on which nut butter you are using.
- Garnish - we have garnished with chopped parsley leaves and crushed pistachio nuts, but any nuts would also work well here, try roasted pine nuts, crushed roasted almonds, crushed roasted pecans or walnuts. You can also substitute aromatic mint for the parsley if you prefer.
You will need
Our top tips for roasting your cauliflower
- Make sure your oven is super hot as this just truly fast tracks the caramelisation process so make sure that you preheat your oven to 230C (450F) before putting in your cauliflower.
- Allow your cauliflower to come to room temperature before handling as cold cauliflower can also slow down the caramelisation process. Then add the roasted ingredients to a bowl with the oil and za’atar before placing in your baking tray.
- Make sure that your cauliflower florets are cut into even florets that they cook evenly and make sure not to overcrowd your baking tray as this will slow down the cooking and caramelisation process.
- Place your baking tray in the middle rack of your oven as this is the hottest part.
- Be patient and wait for at least 15-20 minutes before opening the oven. Check them and if they are golden then turn them and cook for a further 15-20 minutes until they are soft and caramelised.
How to make this salad
1PREPARE THE CAULIFLOWER
Preheat your oven to 230°C (450°F) Wash your cauliflower under cold running water and remove the core.
Cut your cauliflower into medium-sized florets.
Add the cauliflower florets ½ cup olive oil and za’atar to a large mixing bowl, season with sea salt and cracked black pepper. Mix well to combine and arrange on a lined baking tray, making sure that you do not overcrowd them.
Place in the middle of your oven and bake until golden and soft, turning them halfway through the cooking. (Approximately 30-40 minutes in total).
2CHOP PARSLEY & NUTS
Wash parsley, pick leaves from stems and roughly chop. Place your pistachios on your chopping board and roughly chop with a large chefs knife.
3MAKE THE LEMON TAHINI DRESSING
Add all your dressing ingredients to a small mixing bowl, season and mix until well combined. Taste and adjust seasonings according to your liking.
If you prefer a super creamy consistency then blitz in a high-speed blender or small food processor.
Once you add the lemon juice it will thicken the tahini, you can add some more water if you feel that it is too thick.
It needs to be the consistency of sour cream and not too runny.
4ASSEMBLE THE SALAD
Smear the tahini dressing onto a large platter, top with your roasted cauliflower, scatter the parsley leaves and pistachios on top to garnish then serve.
Can I make it ahead?
- The dressing can be made up to a week in advance and kept in a covered container in your fridge. It may thicken and if it does just add some water to loosen it.
- But, if you want to serve this as a hot side then no it really cannot be made ahead. However, if you are going to serve this as a cold side then it can be made several hours in advance or even the day before. Just keep everything separate and assemble just before serving.
How to meal prep this salad for your lunch
- Just follow the recipe instructions and portion it out into individual containers.
- For some added protein you can try some falafel as a vegetarian option or it is great with grilled chicken, kofta and meatballs.
What about the leftovers
- If you are lucky enough to have any leftovers then they will taste even better the following day and this salad will still taste delicious even after a week in the fridge.
- Any leftovers make a great addition for a wrap or sandwich or for something a bit different cut up the salad and add some grated cheese such as parmesan or even a good quality cheddar and use it as a stuffing for chicken breast fillets - just superb!
Looking for more brassica salad recipes to try?
- Baking Tray
- 1 kg cauliflower (1 small cauliflower head)
- ½ cup olive oil
- 2 tbsps za’atar
- 140 ml tahini paste (⅓ cup + 2 tbsps tahini)
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 2 tbsps olive oil
- 1 clove garlic (minced)
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest (grated)
- ¼ cup water to loosen
- ¼ cup chopped pistachios
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- Preheat your oven to 230°C (450°F) Wash your cauliflower under cold running water and remove the core and leaves.
- Cut your cauliflower into medium sized florets.
- Add the cauliflower florets, ½ cup olive oil and za’atar to a large mixing bowl, season with sea salt and cracked black pepper. Mix will to combine and arrange on a lined baking tray.
- Place in the middle of your oven and bake until golden and soft, turning them half way through the cooking process. (Approximately 30 minutes).
- Wash parsley, pick leaves from stems and roughly chop. Place your pistachios on your chopping board and roughly chop with a large chefs knife.
- Add all your dressing ingredients to a small mixing bowl, season and mix until well combined. Taste and adjust seasonings according to your liking.
- Once you add the lemon juice it will thicken the tahini, you can add some more water if you feel that it is too thick.
- It needs to be the consistency of sour cream but not too runny.
- Smear the tahini dressing onto a large platter, top with your roasted cauliflower, scatter the parsley leaves and pistachios on top to garnish then serve.