Happy Holidays! I hope everyone is having an amazing time with family, friends, delicious food and drink and is spending at least 50% of the day in pjs. We are already halfway through the holiday season and 3 days until the new year, which is just insane. 2015 was a crazy year with monumental events like our oldest sister tying the knot and Justin Bieber dropping the most solid comeback album. And then it was gone. Did it even happen? I guess I shouldn’t get ahead of myself. There are still 3 days left in the year. 3 days to accomplish anything left undone (e.g. making this awesome whole roasted cauliflower). Or not. I for one, will be continuing to lounge in my pjs, stuffing my face with chocolate crinkle cookies and mulled wine until 2016.
I got my inspiration for this cauliflower dish after having lunch with a friend at Fat Pasha, a restaurant in Toronto. Their whole roasted cauliflower was definitely the highlight of the meal and was just so visually impressive. A whole cauliflower served with knife sticking out of it. So cool! Here is my version.. I am going to admit there are a lot of parts to this dish and will require some planning. But otherwise, relatively simple to make. So if you’re still impressing guests or trying to wean yourself off a diet of turkey/stuffing and ease into vegetables, make this! Don’t finish of the year with any regrets! Just kidding, feel free to make this whenever you want.. 2016 is acceptable as well.
Moroccan Spiced Whole Roasted Cauliflower
1 head cauliflower, leaves removed
2 tbsp harissa paste*, I used a 1:1 ratio of harissa spice mix and olive oil
¼ cup Maple Tahini sauce*, see recipe below
½ cup parsley pesto*, see recipe below
Mint leaves, roughly chopped for garnish
Pomegranate seeds, for garnish
Fill a large pot with just enough water to cover the cauliflower. Bring the water to a boil and add a generous amount of olive oil and salt. Place the cauliflower top down and boil for 15 minutes. Par-boiling the cauliflower ensures that it is actually cooked through after roasting. You don’t want to overcook the cauliflower however – it should be cooked enough that a knife is easily inserted into it. Carefully remove the cauliflower to a colander to drain.
Preheat your oven to 425°F and prepare the Tahini sauce and Pesto (see below).
Place the cauliflower on a pizza pan and rub the harissa paste evenly on top. Bake for 30 minutes. To make the cauliflower crispier, switch to broil over 1-2 minutes. Remove the cauliflower from the oven and let cool on the pan for 5 minutes before attempting to transfer it to a plate – it will be very hot!
To assemble, spread the pesto on first, then the tahini and garnish with mint leaves and pomegranate seeds. Serve with extra tahini sauce on the side.
Maple Tahini Sauce
½ cup tahini
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup water
2 tbsp lemon juice
Mix all ingredients in a bowl until smooth. Add a splash of water if the sauce is too thick. Extra sauce will keep in an airtight container for ~1 week.
1 ½ cup parsley, roughly chopped
¾ cup pinenuts
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp lemon juice
½ cup olive oil
Pulse the parsley, pinenuts, garlic, salt and lemon juice a few times in a food processor. Add the olive oil and blend until smooth. Keep extra pesto in an airtight container in the refrigerator and add it to everything you cook.
- To save time, make the sauces and par-boil the cauliflower the day before and leave the roasting and final assembly for the day of consumption
- If feeling lazy, use regular store-bought basil pesto
- If you are unable to find harissa, before roasting, drizzle the cauliflower with olive oil and season with salt, pepper and paprika