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Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Lemon-Tahini Sauce

Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes
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Why we love it:

Whole roast cauliflower. Have you ever tried this? My grandmother says that her mother used to make this when she was a kid in the 1930s. She coated it with a cheese sauce, which also sounds incredible, but we're keeping it pantry friendly and dairy free here. This is very simple but really a showstopper!


  • 1 head Cauliflower (look for a large one)
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher Salt (divided)
  • 12 teaspoon Black Pepper (to taste)
  • -25 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil (divided)
  • 1 head Garlic (skins remain on)
  • 2 Lemons (or just 1 is ok too)
  • 1 pound Red Skinned Potatoes
  • 1 bunch Asparagus
  • 3 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • 1 bunch Radish (optional)
  • 3 Tablespoons Tahini

Cooking Instructions


    Move a rack to the lower third of the oven.


    Cut the onion in half. (Reserve one of the halves for the another recipe if making one, otherwise use the whole thing here!) Cut one half into 4 or 5 wedges.

    Cut the garlic head in half through the cloves, so you get a cross-section of each clove and it remains in a cluster.


    Get a large dutch oven or casserole dish to roast the cauliflower. A sheet pan works in a pinch or a roasting pan.

    Place the cauliflower on your cutting board. Trim off any yellowed leaves or long leaves that cover the top - leave most attached but trim them down. Also trim off a thin slice of the bottom of the stalk to it lays flat.

    Liberally coat the cauliflower with 1 teaspoons of salt, and up to 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper (to taste). Drizzle about ½ teaspoon of olive oil over top and down the side rub it in.

    Add the wedged onion to the pan or casserole dish. Nestle the cauliflower on top. Add half of the garlic to the pan. (If you don’t have another use for the other half of the garlic, you can roast it all here).

    Dot the top of the cauliflower with the butter in large chunks. Cover with foil loosely.

    Place in the middle of the oven for 15 minutes.


    While the cauliflower starts cooking, wash the potatoes and cut into 2” pieces.

    Wash one lemon and slice it into rounds. Pluck out any seeds with the tip of your knife. (Slice the other in half and set aside).

    After 15 minutes of cooking, slide out the cauliflower and scatter the potatoes and lemon slices around. Use tongs to carefully life the chicken a bit so some of the potatoes fall underneath. Return to the oven for another 15 minutes.

  • 5. SAUCE

    Stir together the remaining olive oil, tahini, and juice of the 2nd lemon (not the one roasting currently). Add about 1 teaspoon of water and a pinch of salt. Whisk.


    Trim the woody ends off the bunch, then slice each spear in half. Set aside for now.

    After 30 total minutes of roasting have passed, slide out the cauliflower out and scatter the asparagus around. Coat the cauliflower with all of the tahini sauce. Return to the oven for a final 5-15 minutes. It's done when a knife slides in very easily. It will be completely soft.

  • 7. RADISH

    Wash about half of the radishes and slice into thin rounds.

  • 8. SERVING

    Serve family style or on plates, scoop the soft cauliflower out with a spoon. Garnish with radish slices.

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    you can chop up the cauliflower and do more of a sheet pan roast if you prefer - it will cook more quickly
    use any green veg - quartered cabbage, broccoli, green beans, peas, leafy greens
    if you have a whole bunch, use the greens too, add the to the pan to wilt during the last 3 minutes of cooking. Omit if you don't have them, they're just a nice watery crunch
    peanut butter is an option. Miso is another. Or use your favorite cheese sauce, or pesto, bbq sauce, hoisin sauce, balsamic glaze to coat the cauliflower
    omit from the dish and serve over a cooked grain of choice including pasta. Or use yams or sweet potatoes
  • LEMON:
    use limes, an orange, or omit and splash 1 teaspoon of vinegar into the veggies for the sauce
    sear some fish on the side if you like, anything goes
    if your kids do cauliflower, you should be ok here. I'd serve with rice for my kids and keep everything separate on their plate, they'd probably prefer the cauliflower with extra butter, no tahini
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