Growing up, I wasn’t fond of cauliflower. I used to have it raw as part of sad veggie platters, alongside even sadder ranch dressing. Years later, cauliflower is my crack. I discovered the versatility of this humble cruciferous vegetable when seasoned with alluring spices, sauces and a whole lot of garlic. Roasted is my favourite way of cooking it, for its crisp, slightly burnt exterior.
This cauliflower toast is inspired by a nearby takeout place that serves up Egyptian street food. Their arnabeet sandwiches pack a mighty punch (arnabeet means “fried cauliflower”): equal parts garlicky and greasy, the cauliflower is stuffed into a fluffy bun that soaks up a gooey tahini sauce.
Here I used a handful of mixed beans and some mushrooms that were left over in the fridge. So feel free to throw in veggies, legumes and lentils for more depth and protein.
At home I have a set of spices that I sprinkle on everything from salads and stews to potatoes and popcorn: berbere (a spicy chili blend originating from Ethiopia and Eritrea); dukkah (a mixture of nuts, sesame seeds, coriander and cumin used in Egyptian cooking); harissa (smoked chili peppers common in North Africa); and ras el hanout (a Moroccan blend of cardamom, nutmeg, anise, mace, cinnamon, ginger, peppers and turmeric). Each would work well on the roasted cauliflower.
Today I used harissa along with turmeric, which gives it a golden hue. You could also spice it up with cayenne pepper, chili flakes, curry powder, cumin, garam masala, paprika or za’atar (a blend of dried thyme, oregano, marjoram, sumac and toasted sesame seeds).
For the sauce, tahini is a sesame seed paste to which I added garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and maple syrup. I scattered some green onion on top but fresh parsley will also make a nice garnish.
Make sure your bread is thick or dense enough to support a hefty topping. I used sourdough here.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Total time: 60 minutes
For the roasted cauliflower
- 1/2 medium-sized head of cauliflower, cut into florets
- 2 slices of thick bread
- avocado oil
- 1-2 tsp of ground turmeric
- 1-2 tsp of harissa or spice of your choice
- 1 tbsp of nutritional yeast
- chopped green onion or fresh parsley for garnish
For the sauce
- 1/2 cup of tahini
- 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp of maple syrup
- juice of 1/4 slice of lemon
- 1/2 clove of garlic, minced
- Spread the cauliflower on a large baking tray or sheet.
- Sprinkle the spices and nutritional yeast. Drizzle the oil. Mix evenly.
- Roast at 450 degrees fahrenheit for 35 minutes. Stir at the halfway point.
- In the meantime, stir the tahini sauce ingredients together. Set aside.
- Remove the cauliflower from the oven. Pour the tahini sauce on top and garnish with green onion or parsley.
- Toast the bread for 10 minutes.
- Spread the roasted cauliflower on top of the bread.