Roasted cauliflower with tahini dressing

We’ve got a vegetarian staying with us at the moment. I love vegetables, but it’s always more of a challenge to think up meals when my fallback supper position is to reach for a packet of sausages to transform in some way: pasta, patties, casseroles, even toad in the hole – I’m so grateful for their versatility – there are always good quality free-range bangers in my fridge.

I came across this Lebanese recipe in a recent issue of Saveur magazine (part of an article by Carolyn Forché of a dinner party in Beirut) and it was so successful with meat eaters and vegetarians alike it’s now one of my ‘always to be relied on’ recipes.

1 large or 2 small cauliflowers, broken into golf ball sized florets

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon cumin seeds, crushed

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Tahini dressing:

1 plump garlic clove, peeled

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon salt

1 heaped tablespoon tahini

juice of half lemon

water to slacken the paste

Preheat the oven to 220C. Put the cauliflower and carrots into a roasting pan, drizzle the oil and then dust the cumin and cayenne pepper evenly over the vegetables. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes so that the edges of the cauliflower florets have turned colour, and cooked through but not turned soggy.

While the vegetables are cooking make the dressing. Crush the garlic with the cumin seeds and salt in a pestle and mortar to make a paste. Mash the tahini with the lemon juice and then add the garlic paste. Stir in enough water to slacken the mixture to the consistency of pouring double cream.

Toss the vegetables in the dressing and serve warm or at room temperature.


Scatter a handful of chopped, toasted hazelnuts over the salad just before serving

Use a mixture of cauliflower and carrot