In the countries of the Levant, the eastern Mediterranean, cauliflower is often roasted, which brings out its full flavour potential. Here is a vegan preparation from Lebanon that is fantastic as a side dish, part of a menu or even as a main course (in the latter case, simply double the quantities given here).
Preheat your oven to 220 degrees Celsius (fan: 200 degrees). Remove the leaves and stalk from the cauliflower, wash it and divide it into large florets according to its natural structure.
Place these in an ovenproof dish, season delicately with a little salt and black pepper from the mill, drizzle with a little olive oil and then bake for about 30 – 40 minutes. The top of the cauliflower should definitely be browned darkly, even a few black tips won’t hurt. Check with a fork that the stems of the florets have softened.
Cut red onions and red (alternatively: green) bell pepper into strips and sauté with a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.
After about 12 minutes, these vegetables are also sufficiently roasted.
Now mix tahini (a paste made from ground sesame seeds, also called tahin or tahina) and water to make a creamy sauce, which is seasoned to taste with the juice of half a lemon to a whole lemon and some good pinches of salt.
The finished sauce is mixed with the roasted vegetables and forms the creamy base of this preparation.
Like the whole dish, its completion is extremely simple:
Dry roast the pine nuts in a pan until they are delicately browned – be careful, this happens very quickly. Wash fresh coriander and pluck off the leaves.
Cover the bottom of a large, flat dish with your sauce of onion, paprika and tahini. Spread the roasted cauliflower on top, breaking up the now soft florets a little with your hands. Sprinkle with pine nuts and coriander and season with a little sumac (for delicate acidity) and Aleppo pepper (for mild spiciness). As an alternative to Aleppo pepper, use the mildest available chilli flakes.
Always pick up some of the tahini sauce with the cauliflower. Heavenly.
And may the taste be with you.
Ingredients (for 4 people as a side dish):
1 large cauliflower
Best olive oil
2 red onions
1 large bell pepper, red or green
90 g tahini
60 – 70 ml water
20 g pine nuts
1 bunch fresh coriander
1 tsp sumac
1 tsp Aleppo pepper (or mild chilli flakes)
Black pepper from a mill