Lemony Roasted Tahini Cauliflower is an easy and delicious vegetable side dish. Roast a whole cauliflower or break it down into florets, then serve on a puddle of tahini sauce. Simple, elegant, and healthy, Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini is where it's at.
The humble cauliflower sure has had a good run lately, don't you think? It's gone from being a bland, boring over-cooked vegetable to the vegetable of the moment.
And is there anything it can't do? From making a veggie-based pizza crust to standing in for wings, to a bright and fresh Healthy Cauliflower Soup to bringing the heat in these Curried Cauliflower Chickpea Wraps, it really is a miraculous vegetable.
But today we're celebrating cauliflower in its purest form with this simple Lemony Roasted Tahini Cauliflower dish.
Picture this: Cauliflower florets tossed in lemon juice and olive oil, roasted on a blistering hot pan, then served on a puddle of tahini sauce and topped with capers and a judicious amount of parsley. It is perfectly simple, and it is simply perfect.
Let's get at it.
What's in this Tahini Cauliflower Recipe?
This recipe is a combination of two of my favourite things: perfectly roasted cauliflower that's crisp on the outside and tender in the middle, and a zippy tahini sauce. Here's what you'll need to pull it together:
- Cauliflower --> A nice medium-sized cauliflower will do.
- Tahini --> I prefer a runny tahini rather than a thick paste.
- Lemon --> This is for both the cauli and the sauce.
- Olive oil --> Same as above.
- Garlic --> To give the sauce some punch.
- Salt and pep --> As one does.
- Capers --> For a little briney kick.
- Parsley --> Bringing it home.
You don't really need any special equipment for this recipe, other than a couple of big sheet pans to spread the cauliflower out on for roasting.
The tahini sauce comes together easily in a small bowl. I do love using a garlic press or microplane to get my garlic finely minced, but that is optional.
How to make Tahini Cauliflower:
This one is super easy, my friends. Let me talk you through it step-by-step.
Step 1: Pre-heat your oven to 450°F / 225°C. Pop a couple of roasting sheets into the oven to pre-heat along with it.
Step 2: Break down your cauliflower into florets with as uniform a size as possible to even roasting.
Step 3: Place the cauliflower into a bowl and toss with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and lemon juice (from half a lemon). Season well with salt and pepper.
Step 4: Pull the hot sheet pans out of the oven (use oven mitts!) and add half of the cauliflower onto each pan. Give the pans a shake to distribute the cauli, and make sure it's spread out so it has room to crisp up.
Step 5: While the cauliflower is roasting, make your tahini sauce. Simply whisk together the garlic, remaining lemon juice, tahini, olive oil, salt, pepper, and a bit of water until the sauce has reached the right consistency.
Step 6: Remove the cauliflower from the oven when it is browned and crisp on the outside, as pictured. You want to get it while it's still got a bit of bite to it, not mushy or overcooked.
Step 7: Pour the tahini sauce onto a serving platter, and spread it out. Arrange the roasted cauliflower over top off the sauce, and scatter with capers and parsley.
That's it! Tahini cauliflower done did.
Pro tips / recipe notes:
As with any roasted vegetable recipe, roasted cauliflower is prone to shrinkage. You'll want to start with slightly more cauliflower than you think you need.
Ensuring that the pan is hot when the cauliflower is added to it, and that the cauli has plenty of space, is the secret to crisp roasted cauliflower. Note that the cauliflower will lose its crispness as it cools down, although is still every bit as delicious.
My friend Sarah makes roasted frozen cauliflower, which is a great tip for saving both time and money!
Can this recipe be made in advance?
It can, although I think that roasted vegetables are one of those dishes best served directly out of the oven.
Having said that, I think this dish is also delicious at room temperature, or even cold, much like my Roasted Cauliflower Hummus Bowls.
Since tahini cauliflower cooks up pretty quickly, an alternate is to chop the cauliflower and make the tahini sauce in advance, and then just roast the cauliflower and throw everything together at the last minute.
Is cauliflower healthy?
Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable, in the same family as broccoli, kale, and cabbage, with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory health benefits. Cauliflower is an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate. It is a great source of vitamin B5, potassium, dietary fiber, and a good source of protein, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamins B1-3, and iron.
Other recipes you might enjoy:
Lemony Roasted Tahini Cauliflower
- 1 medium cauliflower about 2 pounds / 900g
- 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- salt and pepper
- ¼ cup tahini prefer runny tahini
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic crushed
- 3 Tablespoons water
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 Tablespoons capers
- ½ bunch parsley
- Preheat the oven to 225°C/450°F. Place a couple of rimmed baking sheets into the oven to heat up as well.
- Break the cauliflower into florets. Place in a bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper.
- Remove the hot pans from the oven. Add the cauliflower to the hot pans, shaking to spread it out.
- Return the pans with the cauliflower to the oven and roast for about 20 minutes, until brown and crisped on the outside.
- While the cauliflower is roasting, whisk together the ¼ cup tahini, garlic, 2 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and 3 tablespoon water (or more if your tahini is thick). Season with salt and pepper.
- Pour the tahini sauce onto a serving platter.
- Remove the cauliflower from the oven and transfer from the sheet pans to the serving dish, on top of the tahini sauce.
- Scatter capers and parsley over the cauliflower.
- Nutrition values are an estimate only
- As with any roasted vegetable recipe, roasted cauliflower is prone to shrinkage. You'll want to start with slightly more cauliflower than you think you need.
- Ensuring that the pan is hot when the cauliflower is added to it, and that the cauli has plenty of space, is the secret to crisp roasted cauliflower. Note that the cauliflower will lose its crispness as it cools down, although is still every bit as delicious.
- This dish can be made in advance, although I think that roasted vegetables are one of those dishes best served directly out of the oven. Having said that, I think this dish is also delicious at room temperature, or even cold. Since tahini cauliflower cooks up pretty quickly, an alternate is to chop the cauliflower and make the tahini sauce in advance, and then just roast the cauliflower and throw everything together at the last minute.
This recipe was originally published November 27, 2013. It was retested, rephotographed, and updated on November 19, 2020.