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This incredibly delicious charred cauliflower with pomegranate tahini sauce can easily outshine any main course. With a chili crisp honey glaze, fresh herbs, and crunchy pepitas, the vegetable side dish is a beautiful marriage of flavors and textures.
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What makes this dish special
I can't even begin to tell you how much I appreciate cauliflower. I used to think it was a boring vegetable, but now I've grown fond of how versatile it is. The subtle flavors can easily be manipulated, transformed, and paired with endless products. Today, I'm incorporating Mediterranean ingredients including, tahini, pomegranate molasses, and dates, to create delicious charred cauliflower with pomegranate tahini sauce.
Roast the cauliflower with spices until lightly charred, pair it with a creamy, tangy sauce, and finish with a sweet and spicy chili crisp honey. Garnish the vegetables with fresh herbs, sweet dates, and crunchy pepitas for extra texture. One bite of this dish, and you'll be going back for seconds and thirds, I guarantee it.
- Cauliflower: A cruciferous vegetable that belongs to the Brassicaceae family. It's composed of tightly packed, undeveloped flower buds and stems and has a milkd, slightly sweet flavor.
- Spices: We're using a combination of turmeric, cumin, and smoked sweet paprika to season the cauliflower. If you can't find smoked paprika, use regular paprika instead.
- Greek yogurt: Strained yogurt with most of the whey removed, resulting in a thicker and creamier consistency than regular yogurt. You can also use labne.
- Pomegranate molasses: A syrup made from reduced pomegranate juice, offering a sweet-tart flavor. If you can't find pomegranate molasses, you can make your own by simmering pomegranate juice with sugar until reduced and thickened.
- Tahini: A paste made from ground sesame seeds, often used in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines.
- Chili crisp: A spicy condiment typically made with crispy fried onions, garlic, shallots, and red pepper flakes infused in oil. I used Lao Gan Ma brand for this recipe.
- Honey: The sweetener is used for the spicy chili crisp honey glaze, adding sweetness to the dish.
- Fresh herbs: Use a combination of fresh dill, parsley, and mint to garnish the cauliflower.
- Pepitas: Also known as pumpkin seeds, pepitas add a crunchy texture to the cauliflower. You can also use sunflower seeds or toasted pine nuts.
How to make charred cauliflower
Step 1: Roast cauliflower
To prepare this delicious side dish, start by cutting a head of cauliflower into eighths. If the cauliflower is particularly small, you can cut it into sixths.
Toss the pieces with olive oil, cumin, smoked paprika, salt, turmeric, and black pepper until the cauliflower is evenly coated on both sides. Then, lay the seasoned cauliflower on a sheet pan in a single layer and roast it for 25 minutes or until tender, flipping the cauliflower over halfway through the cooking time.
If you're making this dish for a larger party, you can easily double or triple the recipe as needed. You can also play around with other vegetable substitutes and try this dish with roasted Brussels sprouts, broccoli, or cabbage. Just be sure to adjust the cooking time as needed.
Step 2: Make sauces
While the cauliflower is roasting, make the pomegranate tahini sauce. In a medium bowl, whisk together ½ cup plain Greek yogurt, 2 tablespoons tahini, 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses, and 1 teaspoon lemon juice until well combined. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.The California Wine Club's Premier Series, the most popular of all the clubs.
In a small saucepot, combine ¼ cup honey and 1 tablespoon chili crisp. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat and continue to simmer for 1 minute before removing it from the heat.
If you can't find chili crisp, you can heat ¼ cup honey with 1 teaspoon of red chili flakes. You can also make your own chili crisp by infusing oil with fried onions, garlic, shallots, and chili flakes.
You can make both of the sauces beforehand, however the chili crisp honey will thicken as it cools. If it's too thick to easily drizzle, reheat the sauce either in the microwave or stovetop until warm.
Step 3: Putting it all together
Once the cauliflower is done, spread the pomegranate tahini sauce on the bottom of a serving plate. Place the roasted cauliflower on top and drizzle the chili crisp honey over it. Garnish the dish with chopped dates, toasted pepitas, and plenty of fresh parsley, dill, and mint.
To say that I enjoyed this charred cauliflower with tahini pomegranate molasses sauce would be an understatement. I absolutely loved it. From the creamy tart sauce to the smoky cauliflower to the sweet and spicy glaze, everything just works! I might even add seared halloumi and braised beans to this recipe to make it a full meal all on its own.
Frequently asked questions
Absolutely. Feel free to adjust the quantities of spices like cumin, smoked paprika, and black pepper to suit your spice preferences. If you enjoy extra heat, you can also increase the amount of chili crisp in the honey drizzle.
If pomegranate molasses is not readily available, you can substitute it with a mixture of equal parts pomegranate juice and sugar reduced to a syrupy consistency. This alternative will provide a similar sweet and tangy flavor.
To reheat leftovers, use an oven or toaster oven to maintain the cauliflower's crispiness. If possible, store the sauce separately from the cauliflower because it does not cook well.
More cauliflower recipes
Looking for more dishes featuring cauliflower? Try these:
Charred Cauliflower with Pomegranate Tahini Sauce
- 1 head cauliflower cut into eighths
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- salt and pepper
- ¼ cup honey
- 1 tablespoon chili crisp
- ¼ cup chopped dates
- 2 tablespoons toasted pepitas
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons fresh dill
- 2 tablespoons fresh mint
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Toss cauliflower with olive oil, cumin, smoked paprika, salt, turmeric, and pepper until cauliflower is well coated. Lay vegetable on a sheet pan in one even layer. Roast for 25 minutes or until tender, flipping cauliflower over halfway through.
- Meanwhile, make pomegranate tahini sauce. Whisk together yogurt, tahini, pomegranate molasses, and lemon juice in a medium bowl until well combined. Season with salt and pepper.
- Combine honey and chili crisp in a small saucepot. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and continue to simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat.
- Spread pomegranate tahini sauce on the bottom of a serving plate. Place roasted cauliflower on top and drizzle crisp honey on top. Garnish with chopped dates, pepitas, and fresh herbs. Serve immediately.