Tahini and Aleppo pepper give this cauliflower dish a distinctly Middle Eastern flavor. Whether you are looking for a tasty side dish or maybe looking for a vegan main like cauliflower steaks, this recipe will suit your needs. If you’re unfamiliar with tahini, we’re happy to welcome you to the club! It’s made of sesame seeds and used as a condiment all over the world. Essentially a paste of sesame seeds, it’s a good source of protein and minerals like calcium. It also provides essential fatty acids because it is high in oil content.
When you are out sourcing your tahini, you may encounter different types. You get different taste profiles of tahini depending on how the seeds are prepared before making them into paste. Roasting the seeds before grinding them results in a more flavorful tahini, but making it with raw seeds preserves its nutritional value. If the outer shells are removed before grinding the seeds, the tahini is said to be hulled. Unhulled tahini is slightly more bitter to the taste but retains more fiber.
You can easily make your own tahini at home by using your food processor to grind sesame seeds into a paste. You should be able to acquire seeds in the bulk section of your grocery store. Otherwise, look for pre-prepared tahini in the ethnic foods section or among condiments or cooking oils.
Aleppo pepper is similar to the red chili flakes popular in many pizzerias. However, it is more flavorful and not as hot. Aleppo pepper is grown mainly in Syria and Turkey. Due to trade issues in these regions, it is currently more difficult to source. Fortunately, you have several different options for substitutions if you cannot find Aleppo pepper or would like a more affordable option. You can use tried and true crushed red pepper. However, if you have the time for slightly more prep, you can also substitute ancho chile powder with a dash of salt or a combination of cayenne pepper and sweet paprika. Add one part of the cayenne for every four parts of the paprika.
Prep Time: 5min
Cook Time: 30min
Serving Size: 4 servings
For the Roasted Cauliflower
For the Sauce
Preheat oven to 375° F. Toss cauliflower in olive oil and season with salt. Lay cauliflower out onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle any remaining oil from the bowl on top. Bake, turning once until caramelized on the edges and tender, 25 to 30 minutes.
While cauliflower is baking, blend the tahini paste, lemon juice and olive oil in a food processor or blender until smooth. Add the yogurt and blend the mixture thoroughly. Scrape the tahini sauce into a bowl; stir in the cumin and Aleppo or freshly ground pepper. Season with sea salt and garnish with the parsley.
Drizzle over the roasted cauliflower to your heart’s desire!
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