This roasted cauliflower and tahini dish hits all the right notes, as anyone who's been to True Food Kitchen knows. Spicy, sweet, savory and tangy. What makes this copycat dish incredibly special is adding a little harissa and dill weed to the tahini sauce, and finishing the dish with dates, fresh dill and fresh mint.
Make the tahini sauce and prep the dates and herbs while the cauliflower roasts.Jump to Recipe
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A friend recently came to dinner, and we were talking about healthy restaurants with great food that we like. This cauliflower and tahini dish is served at one of her favorite healthy restaurants in Arizona, True Food Kitchen, as a starter called Charred Cauliflower.
When she described it, it sounded right up my alley, since I love cauliflower and tahini together, as in this whole roasted cauliflower in a tahini sauce that I posted shortly after I returned from a recent trip to Israel.
I had to make it.
And it's now one of my very favorite dinners. I've made it 4 times in the last week now!
❤️ Why you'll love this recipe
- This roasted cauliflower with tahini explodes with flavor, thanks to the harissa tahini, dates, mint and fresh dill that brings everyone back for seconds.
- If you roast the cauliflower in the air fryer, this dish is ready to eat in 20 minutes or less.
- Perfect for weeknight dinners, and special enough for dinner parties all year round.
- This is a great vegan entree or side dish.
🧅 Main Ingredients + Notes
The secret to faster and easier meals often lies in the ingredients. For example, store-bought items and ingredients you make ahead and store in the refrigerator (or freezer) can turn a 60-minute recipe into a 30-minutes meal or less.
For the all of the ingredients, measurements and directions, go to the Recipe Card at the bottom of this post.
- Cauliflower florets - you can use the stalk too, but this is a dish that's about presentation as much as flavor.
- Za'atar -this is a spice mix popular in Middle Eastern cuisine. The recipe varies from region to region, similar to curries in India, or BBQ sauce in the US. The primary ingredients are sumac, sesame seeds, oregano, marjoram and thyme. As this list of ingredients suggest, this is a very earthy spice mix with a little tang.
- Medjool dates
- Pine nuts - or pistachios, which is how it's served at True Food Kitchen
- Fresh and dried dill weed - The fresh dill is used at the very end before serving the dish, and the dried dill is used in the tahini sauce.
- Fresh mint
- Harissa - you can find this Moroccan condiment in the international aisle in your grocery store, or you can make your own harissa. There's a range of spiciness to this condiment, and I like Mina Spicy Harissa best. They also make a mild version.
- Lemon juice
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🔪 Recommended Equipment
Having the right equipment for recipes makes prepping soooo much easier. If you want more fuss-free prepping and cooking, check out my updated list of favorite kitchen tools and equipment.
🎯 Why This Recipe Works
- The tahini sauce pulls this dish together makes it a star. What makes the difference, IMO, is adding a little harissa and dried dill weed to the tahini, along with the more traditional lemon juice. It balances the tahini beautifully.
- The dates provide a perfect contrast of adding a little sweetness.
- The pine nuts add crunch. I've made this with and without the pine nuts, and while they don't change the flavor, the added crunch is a really nice contrast. If you don't have nut allergies, True Food Kitchen makes theirs with pistachios.
⏰ Tips to Simplify and Save Time
- Purchase cauliflower already broken into florets. You'll need approximately 16 ounce of florets.
- Roast the cauliflower ahead of time and store in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Warm before tossing with the tahini and dates.
- Make the tahini sauce ahead of time, and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
💡Ideas for Possible Variations
This roasted cauliflower with tahini dish is fantastic, but here are some ideas for variations.
- Add broccoli florets to the mix with the cauliflower.
- If you can't find dates, use dark raisins. It won't be the same, I promise you, but it's the best substitution I can think of that will still give you the texture and sweetness of a dried fruit.
- In place of harissa, use a couple dashes of sriracha in the tahini. Be careful though, sriracha is very spicy. Another option is to add ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika plus ¼ teaspoon of chili powder
- Keep the cauliflower simple and just roast with olive, salt and pepper.
- The original version at True Food Kitchen has pistachios in it, but my husband is allergic, so I left them out. I substituted pine nuts for the crunch.
🍽 Ways to Serve This Dish
- Toss with roasted chickpeas for more protein.
- Serve over quinoa.
- Toss with frisee for a larger salad.
Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini and Dates
Tahini - Harissa Sauce
- 3 Medjool dates finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons pine nuts
- 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped divided
- 2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped divided
- If using an air fryer. Preheat the air fryer to 400˚F. Toss the cauliflower florets in the olive oil, salt and za'atar. Roast for 12 minutes, turning them half-way through the roasting. They should be tender when ready, and crisped around the edges. Smaller florets will only take 9 minutes.If using a conventional oven. Preheat the oven to 425˚F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the cauliflower florets in the olive oil, salt and za'atar. Roast for 20 minutes, turning them half-way through the roasting. They should be tender when ready, and crisped around the edges. Smaller florets will only take 15 minutes.
- Whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, harissa, salt and dried dill weed. Add 2 - 3 tablespoons of water, whisking them in only 1 tablespoon at a time to get the consistency you prefer for the sauce. The sauce will be thick but able to be poured over the cauliflower.
- Toss the warm cauliflower with half of the tahini sauce, all of the diced dates and pine nuts, and half of the fresh dill and mint. Place in a serving bowl, and spoon the remaining tahini sauce over the top, along with the remaining fresh herbs.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.