A delicious, flavor-packed vegetarian dish that works as a meal on it’s own or as a star side dish.
Happy meatless Monday friends!
I am a huge proponent of meatless Mondays. I believe vegetables are delicious, nutritious, and extremely versatile and can stand on their own as a complete meal. I’m not a vegetarian, but don’t need meat at every meal (despite my Midwestern roots). Meatless Monday also forces me to be more creative with my meals and use vegetables in unique ways.
My husband still doesn’t quit understand the meatless Monday movement. Every time I serve a meatless meal, he inquisitively looks at his plate and asks, “is this it?” My latest creation really had him confused. I told him I was making cauliflower steaks for dinner and he appeared more excited than I expected. He didn’t realize that the cauliflower itself was serving as the “steak.” The look of disappointment on his face when I did not serve a filet with the meal was palpable.
BUT, he was pleasantly surprised at the amount of flavor in the dish: my Mediterranean roasted cauliflower with tahini sauce. The cauliflower is seasoned with zaatar, roasted so its crispy and golden brown, slathered with the rich, bold tahini sauce, and garnished with dried cranberries, pistachios, and green onions. The combination of flavors and textures make it a completely satisfying meal. My husband didn’t even miss the meat (although he wouldn’t have objected if I also served the filet).
Let’s get to cooking!
First, you need to cut the cauliflower into large chunks that resemble steaks. To do so, keep part of the bottom root in place so the cauliflower stays together and cut it into 1 inch slices. Some of the “steaks” may fall apart, but do not despair, they will still roast and taste delicious.
Drizzle the cauliflower with olive oil, salt, pepper, and zaatar. Zaatar is a middle eastern spice blend containing dried thyme, oregano, marjoram, sumac, toasted sesame seeds and salt. You can find it at most grocery store or on amazon (you can even make your own). It’s a delightful spice blend with intense aromatics that adds a lot of flavor to the otherwise bland cauliflower.
Roast the cauliflower in a 400 degree oven until golden brown. The key to achieve the golden brown crust is to allow the cauliflower to cook for 15 minutes on one side, flip, and then cook another fifteen minutes on the other sides. If you flip the cauliflower too often while cooking, it will never have the chance to develop the golden brown crust.
While the cauliflower roasts, you can make the tahini sauce. Tahini is ground sesame seeds, with a rich, bold, slightly bitter taste. For the sauce, add the tahini and lemon juice in a bowl. The tahini sauce will almost seize and become lumpy. To smooth it out, add 3 tablespoons coconut aminos (or 1 tablespoon maple and 2 tablespoon soy if not on Whole30) and ¼ cup water. You can add more water if you prefer a thinner consistency. The coconut aminos helps tame the tahini’s bitter bite to create a well-balanced, bright sauce.
Time to assemble the dish. Place the roasted cauliflower on a serving platter, drizzle with the tahini sauce, and garnish with fresh green onions, chopped pistachios, and dried cranberries. The pistachios provide a needed crunch to the dish and the dried cranberries add a pop of tart sweetness.
This dish totally works as a complete meal. It has a variety of wonderful flavors: salty, savory, bitter, sweet, rich, and tangy. It also has great textures, crunchy from the pistachios and roasted cauliflower, creamy from the sauce, and chewy from the dried cranberries. It left my husband and I full and happy. If meatless Monday is not your thing, you can also serve this as a side dish. It would pair well with chicken or fish.
Hope you enjoy!
Mediterranean Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini Sauce
A delicious, flavor packed vegetarian dish.
- 1 cauliflower head
- 1 tablespoon zataar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup crushes pistachios
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries if Whole30, no added sugar
- 1 tablespoon green onions
- 1/2 cup tahini
- juice of half of a lemon.
- 3 tablespoons coconut aminos
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut cauliflower into 1 in slices, chunks, or a combination of slices and chunks. Drizzle with olive oil, zataar, salt, and pepper. Cook for about 30 minutes, flipping halfway through.
Meanwhile, make the tahini sauce. Combine tahini and lemon juice, the mix will somewhat seize and become lumpy. Smooth it out with the water and coconut aminos. Add in garlic powder and salt and pepper to taste.
Time to assemble. Place the roasted cauliflower on a serving platter. Drizzle with desired about of tahini sauce. Garnish with dried cranberries, green onions, and crushed pistachios.
Serve and enjoy!
If you are not on the Whole30 program, you can substitute 1 tablespoon maple and 2 tablespoons soy sauce for the coconut aminos.
You can store extra tahini sauce in the fridge in an airtight container for up to two weeks.