Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini and Fresh Mint
A delicious and easy twist on roasted cauliflower! Deeply caramelized and slightly spicy roasted cauliflower florets are served on lemon tahini sauce and garnished with fresh mint and flaky sea salt.
Meet one of my new favorite side dishes! We live in a world that is obsessed with transforming cauliflower into every possible item under the sun (pizza, oatmeal, pasta, crackers, rice, etc.). This isn’t that kind of recipe.
This recipe is all about the cauliflower! We’re going old school and roasting it today. Deeply caramelized roasted cauliflower florets served on a lemon tahini sauce and garnished with lots of torn mint leaves and flaky finishing salt.
The combination of the deeply caramelized, slightly sweet and spicy cauliflower (I have a few tricks up my sleeve on how to roast cauliflower, which I share below!) with the creamy tahini sauce and bright mint work so harmoniously together.
I’m all for elevating simple recipes, and this roasted cauliflower recipe is exactly that. An elegant and fun way to mix up your basic roasted cauliflower recipe and serve something a little different!
So, here’s the deal. When steamed, riced, or eaten raw, or prepared in these new popular ways, cauliflower remains plain Jane.
I love cauliflower, but (call me crazy!) I would much rather cook and serve it in a way that coaxes out its best flavor. This is where pan-roasting and roasting at high temperatures comes into play, and this is when cauliflower truly shines.
How to Roast Cauliflower:
First, let’s brush up on our basic knife skills. Here’s a quick guide on how to cut cauliflower (and cauliflower florets).
To roast cauliflower, you’ll need a standard half sheet pan and a few basic ingredients. You won’t need aluminum foil or parchment paper for this roasted cauliflower recipe. Clean up only takes seconds!
I’m a firm believer in cranking up the oven heat (450°F / 230°C) for roasting vegetables, particularly those that cook quickly.
A hot oven jump starts the caramelization process and ensures that your cauliflower florets gain color (color equals flavor) while also retaining some texture and bite.
Proper caramelization is especially important for cauliflower because it is naturally bland in flavor.
Cold Vegetables = Slower, Stalled Caramelization
Another factor to consider? Many of us use vegetables cold from the fridge.
Cold ingredients will stall the caramelization process, as they will reduce the oven temperature, regardless of whether it is preheated properly. Using a hotter oven, as well as a few other tips (described below) helps mitigate this.
Try to keep these factors in mind whenever determining oven temperature!
My Favorite Tips for Roasted Cauliflower Success:
- Use a Hot Oven – similarly to my favorite roasted broccoli recipe, we’ll be using a hot oven! Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit (230 degrees Celsius). If your oven runs hot, feel free to reduce the temperature slightly.
- Preheat the Empty, Un-Greased Half Sheet Pan – preheating the empty half sheet pan for just 5 minutes jump starts the caramelization process and ensures deep, even caramelization. You can skip this step, but it is one of my favorite roasting tips.
- Toss Your Ingredients Together in a Bowl – the cauliflower florets are tossed with the oil, kosher salt, freshly cracked black pepper, and seasoning in a large bowl. This ensures that the fat and seasoning is equally distributed among the cauliflower florets.
- Don’t Overcrowd The Vegetables – using oven mitts, we’ll transfer the seasoned cauliflower florets onto the hot sheet pan. Make sure that your cauliflower florets are even in size (check out this post on how to cut cauliflower for an easy guide!) and spread out evenly on the pan. If the vegetables are crowded, they will not cook or caramelize evenly.
How to Serve This Roasted Cauliflower Recipe:
Spoon the tahini sauce onto a large serving plate or platter and spread it into a thin (but not too thin) layer. Gently place the roasted cauliflower florets on top, and garnish with lots of mint and a crunchy flaky finishing salt, such as Maldon (affiliate link).
Don’t let the tahini sauce and fresh mint scare you! This roasted cauliflower recipe goes well with so many dishes. Serve as a side dish to accompany grilled fish, meat (this Middle Eastern chicken would be great!), or other vegetarian main courses or salads.
This dish also happens to be gluten free, vegetarian, vegan, and dairy free, which makes it a great option if you’re serving friends and family with dietary restrictions.
Don’t be tempted to leave out the fresh mint leaves, as they add a lovely fresh bright and herbaceous element that really pulls the entire dish together. Hope you enjoy this dish as much as we do!
Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini and Mint
- 1 (2 to 2½ lb) head of cauliflower
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- 2 pinches dried red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup tahini paste *I strongly recommend Soom brand
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small garlic clove grated with a microplane or pressed
- ¼ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- fresh mint leaves torn into small pieces
- flaky finishing salt such as Maldon
- Prepare the Cauliflower: Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C) with a rack in the center position. Set a clean and unlined half sheet pan aside.
- Using a large chef's knife, cut off the stalk of the cauliflower so it lays flat on your cutting board. Set the stem and any leaves aside (these are edible, see 'tips for success' box below on ways to use them!).
- Starting from the top of the cauliflower crown down to the core, slice the cauliflower in half. Holding each cauliflower half with one hand, use your knife at an angle to cut alongside the core in an upside-down V shape. Use your knife to halve or quarter any remaining large florets (top of the crown down through the stem) so that all the florets are medium-large in size. For more tips and step by step photos, check out my how to cut cauliflower guide.
- Place the florets in a large mixing bowl. Add the extra virgin olive oil, salt, and red pepper flakes to the bowl and toss gently until the florets are evenly coated with the oil and seasoning.
- Place the clean, unlined half sheet pan in the oven and allow it to preheat at 450°F (230°C) for 5 minutes (set a timer!). Cooking Note: You can skip this step, but I find that it helps jump start and produce great caramelization, particularly for cauliflower! Once the sheet pan has preheated, use oven mitts to carefully remove it and carefully dump out the florets on the sheet pan. They should sizzle a bit. Use your fingers (be careful, because the pan is hot!) or tongs to spread them out into an even, thin layer, so they are not touching one another. Place any trimmed florets cut-side down against the sheet pan.
- Roast for 25 minutes, gently flipping the florets halfway through the roasting process, or until they are deeply caramelized and just fork tender.
- Make the Tahini Sauce: As the cauliflower is roasting, prepare the tahini sauce. Combine the tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, microplaned (or pressed) garlic clove, and salt in a small mixing bowl. It will be thick. Add a tablespoon of water and whisk until it has loosened (*you want it to be the consistency of a thin hummus) - adding an additional teaspoon or more of water as necessary. Season to taste with pepper and more salt, as necessary.
- Assemble: Spoon the tahini sauce onto a small serving platter or use the back of your spoon to spread it slightly. Gently place the roasted cauliflowers on top of the tahini sauce. Garnish generously with torn mint pieces and a sprinkling of flaky fishing such, such as Maldon. Serve immediately.
Tips for Success:
- Look for whole heads of cauliflower whose florets are firm and tightly closed, with little to no blemishes!
- Can you eat cauliflower stems and leaves? Yes! They are completely edible. Remember to clean them thoroughly. I also recommend peeling the stalk as it can be tough and fibrous. You can sauté the chopped stem and leaves, but my favorite way to use them is to set them aside (freeze or refrigerate) for cauliflower soup, stir fries, or other pureed applications.
57 Comments on “Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini and Fresh Mint”
A local Lebanese restaurant that we frequent serves this & I wanted to try to duplicate it. Your recipe comes the closest. My husband took a bite & told me, “You nailed it.” Actually You nailed it, Laura! Thank you.
Thank you so much Lisa! So glad you enjoyed the recipe and appreciate you taking the time to leave your feedback!
I’ve been looking for an easy delicious way to make cauliflower and this was the winner. My 6 year old who hates almost all vegetables couldn’t stop asking for more!!
This is insanely delicious— the tahini sauce is so good. I also had some pomegranate seeds on hand and thought that would make a good addition— it was!
Thank you Amy! I love pomegranate seeds with tahini and cauliflower as well. That’s a great addition. I should add that as a seasonal flavor addition, thanks for the idea.
This recipe is AMAZING! Even my picky housemate loved it and came back for seconds. I added some fresh coriander to the sauce and mixed it into the cauliflower in the last 10 minutes of roasting. Delicious. Will definitely be making again!
So happy to hear that! Adding coriander to the tahini sauce is a great idea too. I do that quite a bit!
I figured I should comment as I’ve made this 4 times now in 1 week. I”m obsessed! Now I’m making 2 cauliflower heads at one time to have leftovers!
Yay! So glad to hear this.
So delicious! I had on the top of the salad Zaatar spices. Everyone loves it, even the kids!
I come back to this recipe over and over, and everyone I’ve shared it with does, too. If I don’t have mint on hand sometimes I’ll use parsley or another herb and it’s delicious regardless. Highly recommend!
Cauliflower is one of those veggies that I will eat but not necessarily enjoy. Roasting has been a revelation. This is a wonderful recipe. A couple of teaspoons of caraway seeds while roasting I find gives another dimension to the flavours.
Great idea!! So glad you enjoyed it! One of my favorites for sure, and appreciate you taking the time to leave a review!
This was a last minute addition to a dinner I was cooking for my family and it ended up being the biggest hit of the night despite being the simplest item I made! Definitely going to be a staple in our house from now on. I recommend drizzling with a little olive oil after playing for added shine and deliciousness, but wouldn’t change a thing to the recipe otherwise
So you stole this recipe from the Sussman cookbook without giving them any credit? That’s low.
Before you go about accusing a stranger on the internet of plagiarism, you should get your facts correct. I’m not in the habit of publishing nasty, baseless comments on recipe posts, but want my response to be visible to everyone for full transparency.
1) I re-published this recipe (April 2019) 6 months before the cookbook (published September 2019) you are accusing me of copying was even published, in fact, it was an update on a recipe that I shared over 6 years ago. You can literally see comments on this post from 2013 at the bottom of the post.
2) I actually own the cookbook that you’re referring to, Sababa by Adeena Sussman. It is a great cookbook. Our “recipes” are only similar in that I have combined roasted cauliflower with lemon, aside from that they are very different. This isn’t a novel flavor combination. As shocking as it sounds, two different people are capable of coming up with similar ideas in the kitchen without copying one another.
3) If you were at all familiar with my site or work, you would know I’m a professional and that if I ever do share recipes that were inspired by cookbooks or other fellow chefs/authors, I ALWAYS disclose this information in the recipe card itself, as well as in the recipe post.
Please find something else to do with your time.
go off sis
I usually give every recipe my own spin and this one was great inspiration. On the florets I added 1/2 teaspoon paprika and some fresh ground pepper. Also broiled them 4 3 minutes at the end for more caramelization.
On the sauce I added an extra 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and some sugar because it was a little on the acidic side.
It was an instant hit.
Hi! Love this! How can I keep this hot if I want to serve later?
It’s best to roast the cauliflower just before serving – you could warm the cauliflower alone in a 200 degree oven, but it will lose some of its crispness if that’s the case.
I havr now made this twice during the lockdown and my family just love it!
The step-by-step guide is foolproof (even with my rudimentary skills) and with very little effort I have created restaurant quality food!
Thanks so much for this and also you’re AMAZING red lentil soup which fed us happily for three consecutive lunches!
Can’t speak highly enough about both of these recipes and I am now looking to see “what’s next?”!
So happy to hear that! Thanks so much!!!
I’ve made this several times is a number of variations, ie tossing in other veges to roast. Had it again tonight in basic recipe, tossing in halved shrimp for the last couple of minutes, although would have been just as good without. I make my own tahini, toasting and grinding sesame seeds: simple and cheap. Such a delicious, keeper of a recipe.
Love that you make your own tahini! So glad you enjoyed this recipe Margo. Thanks for the feedback!
This totally reminds me the crispy cauliflower from Zahav here in Philly, but totally more weeknight friendly. Can’t wait to try it!
Hi Laura. I could not resist sharing your recipe for roasted cauliflower with tahini and mint. I wrote a short article about it on our own blog site and borrowed your picture from your blog. I know it is after the fact but let me know if I should remove it. Hope you are having a great day. Jim
This is one of the best roasted cauliflower recipes ever! I wasn’t sure that I would like the tahini/lemon/mint flavors. I normally roast vegetables with lemon, garlic and parm. I am so glad I decided to give this a try. I followed the recipe exactly and it didn’t disappoint. Even the leftovers at room temp were good. Served this with chicken/spinach/feta patty. So good. Definitely a keeper!
Roasted cauliflower is one of my favourites, I also love it with tahini sauce!
This is a new favorite… love the mixture of textures, and the combination of hearty roasted cauliflower, with the light and bright flavors of lemon and mint.
I truly love roasted cauliflower! This recipe is genius … as in, I can pretty much not pin it fast enough. Lucky me – I’m making today’s grocery list right now, so I can add cauliflower ASAP! 😀
Thanks so much Shelley!!! You’re so sweet 🙂
Roasting cauliflower is my absolute favorite way to prepare it – SO delicious. I love this take on it!
Me toooo. The best. Thank you Amanda!
I discovered roasted cauliflower last year and I never stopped! I think it’s awesome too, and sometimes call it dinner. Now I just need to top it with some lemon tahini, brilliant! Tahini turned out to be another very versatile ingredient.
Yes!! I love tahini. I need to do more with it! Thanks Paula 🙂
So simple yet so sensuous!
Loved the way you’ve charred the cauliflower florets.
First time on your blog and I’m in love with your freshness 🙂
Thanks so much Nusrat!! So glad you’re here 🙂
My family loves roasted cauliflower! This is a marvelous recipe with a burst of savory flavors. After all we can’t eat “orange” veggies everyday!
So true Deb. Gotta mix it up every now and then! 🙂 Thanks! Just popped over your blog and love it!
This was so good and so easy to prepare!
So happy to hear that!
Can’t get enough roasted cauliflower, your recipe looks delicious!
Me either!!! It’s the best. Thanks!!
Mmm, I love the cauliflower/tahini/lemon combo. So fresh and zesty.
I feel you on the “popular kids” foods. This time of year, you hear so much about pumpkin and butternut squash, but I personally prefer acorn squash; less sweet than the other two, the perfect compliment to savory dishes. I just stir-fried some last night with chicken, shaved brussel sprouts and a little squeeze of lemon. Delish!
Yes, totally agree with you on this. I love pumpkin and squash, but sometimes think other veggies deserve the same amount of attention! 😉 That dinner sounds wonderful!!! YUM!
Roasted cauliflower is 100% my favorite veggie! This looks amazing.
Thanks Ashley!! 🙂
LOVE cauliflower and have oodles of tahini in my fridge right now. Problem solved!
Yayy! Thanks Erin. I still have SO much tahini to use. Hummus and more of this dish are in my future.
I have been on a cauliflower binge lately so I can’t wait to try this recipe! I would have never thought to pair tahini with cauliflower – brilliant idea!
Thanks so much Meghan! Let me know if you try it. It’s my new favorite way to enjoy cauliflower 😉
I am crazy about roasted cauliflower. I can’t wait to try adding this tahini and lemon juice. Looks delicious!!
Definitely let me know if you do! It’s such a great combination. Thanks Andj! 🙂
Mmm! I love any roasted veggies, but cauliflower really does shine when roasted and I am loving the mediterranean flavors going on. So my thing!
Me too, roasted veggies are the best. Thanks Tieghan! 🙂