tahini roasted cauliflower

I found this little recipe squirreled away in the latest Bon Appetit.  It’s taken from that section in the front where readers write into the magazine in hopes of getting a hold of a recipe from some far off or forgotten restaurant they’ve visited.  Back in the Canto 6 days, we always secretly (ok, maybe not so secretly) hoped someone would write in for one of our recipes.  Cannele, anyone?

Roasted cauliflower and broccoli are nothing new in my house: broccoli gets showered with soy, sesame oil, lemon or lime, and chili sauce; and cauliflower is tossed with olive oil, parmesan, lemon, and plenty of salt and pepper.  Both simple. Both delicious.  But, both always the same.

And then along came Bon Appetit rocking my roasted cauliflower boat.  The recipe here is requested by a reader from the Galilee Cooking School in Israel.  The original is calls for cauliflower roasted in a hot oven and then drizzled with a curious combination of tahini, date syrup, and lemon juice.  Date syrup is a middle eastern natural sweetener made from, you guessed it, dates.  Short on patience as usual, I couldn’t find the darn date syrup on last weekend’s grocery shop, and so instead of waiting, I went ahead and made this with honey instead.

We munched this room temperature as part of a pretty awesome picnic out at Appleton Farms.  Delicious as it was, I think it’s at its best piping hot from the oven (I snacked on a few spears this way too.)  Make sure you roast your cauliflower until it’s really caramelly-brown – you need this natural sweetness alongside the tahini and honey.

As much as I liked the honey here, the tahini was my favorite part.  If you’re not feeling sweet, I might try a more hummus inspired version by tossing in a few cloves of chopped garlic and upping the olive oil a bit.  I can also imagine a great cauliflower puree with a little tahini stirred in.

Serves 4-6

Tahini Roasted Cauliflower

In the recipe below I included the garlic and the honey – I would recommend an either/or approach here.  If you want more savory-hummus flavors, go with the garlic, and for something more subtly sweet, choose the honey.

  • 1 large head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets (or use two small-medium heads)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus more as needed
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped (optional – see headnote)
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • 2 tbsp dark honey, or date syrup if you can find it (optional – see headnote)
  • 1 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.  Place the cauliflower on a large baking sheet and top with olive oil, salt and pepper, and garlic if using.  Toss well and roast until tender-crisp and beginning to brown – about 20 minutes.

While the cauliflower is roasting, combine the tahini, honey (or date syrup), and lemon juice, and sesame seeds in a small bowl.  If you are skipping the honey, combine the tahini, lemon juice, and sesame seeds with a little extra olive oil instead.  Whisk to combine.

Once roasted, transfer the cauliflower to a mixing bowl and top with the tahini mixture and the parsley.  Toss well to combine and taste for seasoning, adding a little extra olive oil and salt as needed.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

  1. Yum! Good news, date syrup is offered online from organics are for everyone. and it’s thick and yummy. i’ve never thought about putting tahini with cauliflower.

    • Thanks! After searching the grocery store this weekend, I found some sources online – I’ll have to try this again as it was originally written!

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  3. Being born in Israel I was very pleased to read this receipe sometime ago in Bon Appetite and made a note of it. I just got back from 2 weeks visit to Israel and was pleased to find the exact same dish being offered as a starter on the menu of “The Port” restaurant in Cesarea. My vegeterian sister was blown away. it was just so unexpectedly deliciouse I promptly bought a jar of Silan (the name for date honey in Hebrew) and plan to make this one for dinner at home in Fort Lauderdale as soon as I’m over my jet lag. Can’t wait!!

  4. MMMMMM!!!! I’m hoarding all of this. Just pulled it out of the oven. I used Date Lady date syrup (previously Organics Are For Everyone). Tried original without garlic and forgot to get the parsley but it. is. deeeelicious! New fave. Such a perfect middle-eastern flavor! Thanks!

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