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Roasted Cauliflower With Tahini Sauce & Pomegranate

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Autumn is a fabulous time for seasonal eating. And for this recipe for roasted cauliflower with tahini sauce and pomegranate, we’re using two favourites: the cauliflower and the pomegranate.

Roasted cauliflower florets on a bed of tahini sauce with pomegranate arils. The photo is a half shot.
Two favourite seasonal ingredients together

There are lots of Turkish recipes that celebrate the cauliflower – this simple but very tasty karnabahar yemeği (Turkish cauliflower stew) is a regular for us in winter.

But we do love the flavour of roasted vegetables.

And this easy recipe for roasted cauliflower with tahini sauce and pomegranate (tahin soslu karnabahar) has quickly become one of our favourite side dishes.

It’s just a great way to celebrate cauliflower season.

In fact, most recently, we enjoyed it not as an accompaniment but as a main dish! Lovely just to share between us for lunch.

Even if you’re not a massive cauliflower lover, those lovely roasted, golden brown florets and the vibrant colours have got to tempt, haven’t they?

When I first put the plate out on the table, Barry said it looked like a Christmas plate.

Roasted cauliflower florets topped with fresh green herbs and pomegranate arils and served on a bed of tahini sauce.
Such a colourful, perfect side dish or main

Yes, it does! Great idea! So now, this cauliflower dish is part of our Turkish-inspired Christmas recipes.

With that combination of colour, it’s certainly not going to look out of place, is it?

But let’s not consign this delicious roasted cauliflower salad to the only-eat-at-Christmas list.

This is a meze plate or a main to be enjoyed throughout the whole of autumn and winter!

How To Make Roasted Cauliflower With Tahini Sauce & Pomegranate

And the great news about this dish is that it uses ingredients that are widely used in Turkish cooking. And it’s a really simple recipe, too.

Happy days.

The Cauliflower

We’re going to be using a whole head of cauliflower.

Peel away any leaves and hard stems and keep those to one side. They’re great for stocks and soups.

We cut the cauliflower in half and then break off the florets into bite-sized chunks before adding them to a large mixing bowl with a drizzle of olive oil, sea salt, black pepper and a sprinkling of paprika or red pepper flakes.

The florets are tossed around until they’re nicely coated and then we empty them onto a large baking sheet or tray.

You might need two trays for this because you don’t want the florets to be too crowded.

We’re looking for crisp, golden brown florets.

Drizzle a little more olive oil if necessary.

30-40 minutes in a hot oven (220 degrees C / 425 degrees F), turning once, and then you’re good to go.

For The Tahini Sauce

These days, there is never not a jar of tahini in our cupboard.

We use it for making Antalya-style piyaz, homemade hummus, baba ganoush and more.

And it’s lovely mixed with honey or pekmez as one of your Turkish breakfast dishes.

Dip your simit into the mix and you’ll see why!

A circular bed of tahini sauce in the centre of a light blue plate.
Use the back of a spoon to make a circular bed of tahini sauce

Made from hulled sesame seeds, tahini has a lovely nutty flavour.

And for a more creamy tahini sauce, we’re going to be adding a bit of natural süzme yoghurt.

Zingy flavour will come from fresh lemon juice and crushed garlic.

Whenever you mix tahini into other liquids, your mixture will thicken, the more you stir. We just add a splash of water to make it more of an emulsion rather than a thick paste.

We give all of that a good stir in a small bowl until we have a smooth emulsion. And then we spoon it into the centre of a large plate.

Use the back of a spoon to make a circular bed for your roast cauliflower.

Time To Build

It’s completely up to you how you present your finished roasted cauliflower with tahini sauce and pomegranate.

Some people use a large bowl, but as you can see, we prefer a serving plate.

When your small pieces of cauliflower are at room temperature, place them in the centre of your bed of sauce.

An overhead shot of roasted cauliflower florets topped with pomegranate and chopped fresh coriander. This is sitting on a bed of tahini sauce.
Autumn and winter on a plate

Then you can add your crunchy, juicy, crimson pomegranate arils.

And then, it’s your choice of chopped fresh herbs.

Different people like different flavours. Tradition is chopped parsley. Some people prefer chopped fresh mint.

But as far as we’re concerned, chopped fresh coriander is our herb of choice.

Just before you serve your roasted cauliflower with tahini sauce, a little drizzle of nar ekşisi (pomegranate molasses) over the top gives an extra dimension to the flavours.

Fresh lemon juice will make a decent substitute if you can’t get pomegranate molasses.

And there you have it! A great side dish – or main – made with seasonal, simple ingredients. And a fabulous blast of colour for any table.

Serve at room temperature. It goes really well with chicken şiş kebab, grilled lamb or grilled köfte.

Or, of course, you can enjoy it as one of your vegetarian main courses or meze plates.

Our Recipe For Roasted Cauliflower With Tahini Sauce & Pomegranate

An above shot of roasted cauliflower florets topped with pomegranate and chopped fresh coriander. This is sitting on a bed of tahini sauace.
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Roasted Cauliflower With Tahini Sauce & Pomegranate

This dish makes a healthy side dish or a meze, or it can be enjoyed as a vegetarian main meal. Simple, seasonal ingredients, the roasted cauliflower and fresh pomegranate contrast beautifully and the tahini sauce brings them together.
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Course Meze
Cuisine Turkish
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Resting Time 10 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 215kcal
Author Turkey’s For Life

Equipment

  • 1 Sharp knife
  • 1 Mixing bowl

Ingredients

  • 1 medium cauliflower leaves & stems removed
  • ¼ pomegranate arils extracted & skin discarded
  • 1 handful fresh coriander finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 dessert spoon pomegranate molasses or lemon juice
  • 1 dessert spoon paprika or hot red pepper flakes
  • salt & pepper to season

For The Tahini Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 tablespoons thick natural yoghurt
  • 1 tablespoon water plus more if necessary
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled & crushed
  • 1 lemon juice of
  • salt & pepper to season

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 220 degrees C (425 degrees F).
  • Meanwhile, break your head of cauliflower into bite-sized florets and add to a large bowl.
  • Now add your oil, paprika, salt and pepper and toss the cauliflower around until they are coated. Add a little more oil if the florets seem dry.
  • Place your coated florets onto an oven tray or baking sheet, making sure they aren't too crowded. Use two trays if necessary.
  • Place the cauliflower in your preheated oven and roast for 30-40 minutes, turning half way through.
  • Meanwhile, you can start to make your tahini sauce. Add your sauce ingredients to a small bowl and mix together.
  • If your tahini sauce thickens too much, add another splash of water. It's up to you if you want a thick or a creamy sauce.
  • When your cauliflower is golden brown, remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature.
  • Take a large serving plate and place your tahini sauce in the centre, using the back of a spoon to spread the sauce out and create a bed for your cauliflower.
  • Now you can arrange your roasted cauliflower florets into the centre of the bed of sauce.
  • Sprinkle the pomegranate arils over the top along with your fresh, chopped coriander.
  • Drizzle the pomegranate molasses (or juice of half a lemon) over the top and serve.

Notes

  • As with all of our recipes, the calories for roasted cauliflower with tahini sauce and pomegranate molasses is approximate and meant as a rough guide.
  • We used a large cauliflower – approximately 800 grams.
  • You can make your sauce either as a thick paste or add more water to make a more creamy tahini sauce.
  • This dish makes a great side dish for grilled meats, will make a perfect meze dish and will look the part on your Christmas table.
  • If you are vegetarian, it also makes a tasty, healthy vegetarian main meal.
  • If you are vegan, you can leave out the yoghurt from the sauce. If you have any Middle Eastern or Turkish supermarkets or grocery stores near you, you can substitute the yoghurt for pekmez (grape molasses).

Nutrition

Calories: 215kcal
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Afiyet olsun!

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