Mediterranean Cauliflower with Tahini Sauce
In this Mediterranean cauliflower recipe with tahini sauce, spiced cauliflower florets are roasted to perfection and served with a creamy nutty tahini sauce.
Another Favorite Cookbook
The tahini sauce in this recipe is special as it includes chard stems. The chard stem tahini sauce recipe comes from the classic cookbook, Mediterranean Grains and Greens: A Book of Savory, Sun-Drenched Recipes by Paula Wolfert. A classic cookbook, published in 1998, it is full of gems of recipes directly from the author’s travels in the Mediterranean. I was absolutely skeptical about adding chard stems to a tahini sauce when I read this recipe, but it works, incredibly well in fact!
The ingredients included in this recipe are standard pantry ingredients. If you find yourself missing a few, feel free to make substitutions. Don’t have ground ginger, use fresh! Leave out the cayenne if you are not a spice person (it adds a tiny kick in my opinion). Tahini is a paste made from sesame seeds, and an essential pantry item in my opinion, kept in the refrigerator. The steamed chard adds a slight crunch to the sauce, and with the garlic and lemon, is out of this world.
Meal Prep for Mediterranean Cauliflower
There are many portions of this meal that can be prepared ahead of time, so that a busy weeknight, dinner is only a few steps away. The spice rub can be made in advance and refrigerated. The oil in it will solidify, so just be sure to pull it ahead of time. Cut and wash the chard in advance, as well as the cauliflower. The chard stems could even be steamed in advance too, I would wait until serving to combine with the tahini sauce, as the stems will lose their crunch if kept in the tahini sauce.
Recipes for Dinner
This dish is a terrific vegetarian main or side dish, and made together with Braised Chard with Feta and Pinenuts creates a magnificent centerpiece. The cinnamon in the braised chard recipe pairs wonderfully with all the spices coating the cauliflower, and the creamy crunchy tahini sauce.
Mediterranean Cauliflower Recipe with Tahini Sauce
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 Tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 Tablespoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 cup avocado or olive oil
- 1 medium cauliflower
- 1 14.5 oz. can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
- 1/2 onion, cut into chunks
- 2 Tablespoons spice rub (recipe above)
Chard Stem Tahini Sauce
- 8 swiss chard stalks, preferably white, from 1 bunch swiss chard
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 3 Tablespoons tahini
- 2 1/2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 1/2 Tablespoons cold water
- 2 Tablespoons pine nuts
- fresh cilantro leaves
- 1 lemon
- Toast fennel and cumin seeds in a dry skillet over high heat. Grind almost to a fine powder in a mortar and pestle or dedicated spice grinder. (some larger bits are ok).
- Combine toasted fennel/cumin powder with coriander, turmeric, ginger, cayenne pepper, and salt in a small bowl. Add oil and stir to combine, making sure to get rid of all clumps.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Cut cauliflower into florets and place in a large bowl. Add drained chickpeas, onion chunks, and 2 Tablespoons of spice rub. Mix with your hands to coat ingredients completely.
- Place cauliflower mixture on a large baking sheet and spread contents evenly. Roast for 25 minutes, until cauliflower is soft, and a bit browned at the tips.
Chard Stem Tahini Sauce
- While cauliflower is roasting, remove the chard stems from the chard leaves. Reserve the chard leaves for this recipe, and finely dice the chard stems. If they appear stringy, peel them with a peeler. Steam diced chard stems until just tender, for 5 minutes.
- Peel and crush garlic with 1/4 teaspoon salt in a mortar and pestle or with the back of a knife on a cutting board.
- Mix crushed garlic with tahini, lemon juice, and water in a medium sized bowl. When chard is tender, add to the tahini mixture and stir to combine. Set aside.
- Cut lemon into wedges. Place roasted cauliflower and chickpeas on a platter, and garnish with chard stem tahini sauce, pine nuts, cilantro leaves, and lemon wedges. You may opt to serve the tahini sauce on the side as well.