Cauliflower is one of those vegetables that I only fully started to appreciate later in my life when I was introduced to its incredible versatility. I’m sure for many of you, just like me, cauliflower was an overcooked, tasteless, mushy vegetable that we were made to eat as kids because, you know, we had to eat our vegetables. Had you told me at the age of 10 that it would become one of my favourites some 20 years later, I would have vehemently denied it.
Roasting of course if one of the best ways to cook cauliflower. The dry heat gives it the beautifully crisp outside, while keeping it slightly crunchy, plus it releases all its delicate flavours. And it’s such a good base to experiment with a variety of spices. I will have to go down the Asian route one day, but for this recipe, I stuck to my favourite cuisine: Mediterranean. I recently rediscovered sumac spice and was looking for a reason to use it. It has such a nice tangy note that compliments the cauliflower very well, plus it adds a beautiful colour to the dish.
This salad is best served warm, but I have also enjoyed it cold on a warmer day. With a hearty salad like this, I always like to add a bit of lightness. In this case, I’ve added lots of mint, and my absolute favourite fruit: pomegranate. Don’t the red little dots just pop on the plate?
Roasted cauliflower salad
- 1 large cauliflower
- 40 ml olive oil
- 1 1/2 tsp sumac spice
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/2 tsp ground chili
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 can chickpeas drained
- 100 g edamame beans shelled, frozen
- 80 g hazelnuts
- seeds of 1/2 pomegranate
- 15 g mint leaves coarsely chopped
- 50 g plain yoghurt
- 10 g tahini
- 1 clove garlic roasted
- lemon juice to taste
- salt and white pepper for seasoning
- Preheat the oven to 180C.
- Break a large cauliflower head into bite size florets and place into a large bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil. Set aside.
- In a fry pan, roast the coriander and cumin seeds for a minute or two, until you can spell their aroma. Grind the spices to a coarse powder, either with a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder.
- Mix the coriander, cumin, sumac, turmeric, chili and salt. Add the spice mix to the cauliflower and toss to evenly cover all florets.
- Place the cauliflower on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and roast for 20 minutes or until tender but still with a bit of a bite. After 10 minutes, add the unpeeled garlic clove.
- On a separate tray, roast the whole hazelnuts in the oven until golden (approx 5 – 10 minutes). Be careful not to burn them, they turn bitter if they are too dark.
- Let the hazelnuts cool down, then rub the skin off with a clean paper towel. Roughly chop the nuts into halves or quarters.
- Defrost the edamame beans in the microwave or stove with a bit of water. Drain the chickpeas.
- Finely mash the roasted garlic clove. Mix with the yoghurt, tahini, and some lemon juice to the desired acidity level. Season with salt and white pepper.
- Finely chop the mint leaves and deseed the pomegranate.
- In a large bowl, mix the roasted cauliflower with the edamame, chick peas, mint, pomegranate seeds, and the chopped hazelnuts. Drizzle with the yoghurt dressing and serve warm or cold.
- Bon appetit!