I’m sure many of us have tried to get our kids to eat cauliflower, one of those vegetables that resides in that special place—along with brussel sprouts and lima beans—known as: edible things that traumatize children. Now the most obvious ways I know to make cauliflower palatable is to turn it into a creamy soup or bake it with cheese like a potato gratin. But I have now discovered a new, incredibly wonderful way, to get my kids to eat cauliflower that does not include copious amounts of dairy…
Roasted cauliflower with tahini sauce. The recipe comes from my new favorite cookbook: Olives & Oranges by Sara Jenkins and Mindy Fox. My friend Leslie turned me on to this great book with recipes inspired by the cuisine of Italy, Spain, and the Mediterranean region. Not only has Sara Jenkins created dishes that are delicious and can legitimately be made on a hectic weeknight, but she’s also the mastermind behind one the most delicious sandwich spots in NYC: Porchetta, where the main ingredient is slow cooked pork on bread.
Using tahini to make a creamy sauce for the roasted cauliflower is brilliant because when Belle looked at the sesame enveloped veggie, she thought it was coated in cheesy goodness—it wasn’t until she took her first bite, made a strange face when she realized that the tastes in her mouth were completely different than what she expected, and started to chew did she proclaim she loved the stuff. My only tweaks to the Jenkins version is eliminating the parsley (I’ve discussed my children’s issues with green flecks in their food) and adding a bit of honey to the sauce to add some natural sweetness in the same flavor scheme as the other ingredients. I served this alongside rice and meatballs, it’s also great in pita with grilled chicken and cole slaw.
Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini Sauce (adapted from Olives & Oranges)
-1 large cauliflower, broken into florets
-1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
-1 1/2 tsp sea salt
-1/4 tsp ground black pepper
-1/4 cup plus 1 tbl tahini
-1/4 cup plus 1 tbl water
-3 tbl fresh lemon juice
-2 tsp honey
-1 garlic glove, minced
-Heat oven to 400 with rack in the center. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
-Toss cauliflower with oil, 1 1/4 tsp salt and pepper. Spread in single layer on sheet and roast, stirring a couple of times, until florets are softened with some crispy brown spots, about 45 minutes.
-While cauliflower is roasting, puree tahini sauce, water, lemon juice, honey, garlic, remaining salt in a blender until combined. Transfer to a large bowl.
-Remove cauliflower from oven and immediately toss in the bowl with the tahini sauce, giving it all a good toss. Serve warm.