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Cauliflower with Spiced Tahini and Garlic-Chili Oil

4 to 6 Servings

1 hour 10 minutes 30 minutes, plus cooling

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This recipe melds the best qualities of two Middle Eastern–style cauliflower dishes we tasted at two restaurants in London—Berber & Q Shawarma and The Barbary. We start by steam-roasting a whole head of cauliflower until tender, then slather it with a mixture of tahini and spices that caramelizes under a hot broiler. Grated fresh tomatoes and a pungent garlic-chili oil finish the dish, along with parsley and toasted pine nuts. To serve, cut into wedges as if serving a cake.

4 to 6



Don’t bother opening the foil packet to test the cauliflower for doneness. It’s fine to insert the skewer through the foil. When making the garlic-chili oil, be careful not to overcook the garlic and pepper flakes or the flavors will turn acrid. When the mixture starts to sizzle gently, transfer it to a small bowl; if left in the skillet, the residual heat may cause scorching.

1 hour 10 minutes

30 minutes, plus cooling



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Diana L.

I made this last night. It was pretty good. I did not cut off the bottom as I was afraid it will come apart. I think I will do so next time. The flavor was good and the way it looked was amazing (a red dome with lots of flavors and colors). The only thing that I have added more was salt and pepper. I kept tasting the tahini and it was not salty enough. I will definitely make this again. I have learned from this recipe how to cook cauliflower in the oven. It was simple and no mess. Thank you for the recipe.

Kelly G.

I don't even normally care for cauliflower, but I'm trying to cook/eat more vegetarian dishes and this sounded so good - and it was! I added some fresh chopped cilantro to the chili-garlic-oil and a little drizzle of pomegranate molasses at the end with the parsley and pine nuts. The only ground sumac I could find had salt in it so I left the added salt out of the tahini paste. It was wonderful - full of flavor and beautiful on the plate - and I'm happy to add cauliflower to my recipe repertoire now, thank you!

Jan W.

Although I couldn’t get the tahini paste to stick completely to the cauliflower and it was a bit of a project to make, I will definitely make this again. It’s that delicious.

Jennifer B.

Fabulous presentation and fantastic taste. Dinner party worthy, but we enjoyed it as a family. You can find sumac at most indian/asian/halal stores.

Barbara C.

What are recommended side dishes to serve with the cauliflower?

Lynn C.

Hi Barbara -

We would probably pair this with a hearty grain or bean/legume dish such as our Chickpea and Cucumber Salad (, Tunisian Chickpeas with Swiss Chard (, or Turkish-Style Bulgur with Scallions and Pomegranate Molasses (

The Milk Street Team

Jonathan M.

Is it actually necessary to run the oven at 475 for 45 minutes just to steam the cauliflower? Couldn't I just do that on the stovetop (or pressure cooker) and broil the steamed cauliflower as directed?

Matthew B.

Hiya, I've made this once, and it was fantastic. Now that I'm making it for a second time, I'm wondering if it's okay to skip the cooling 10 minutes. It takes me longer to do each step of a recipe than a professional recipe assumes, so I did all the "next" steps while the cauliflower steams. Can I slather the tahini paste on right after the steaming, or does the wait time allow the cauli time to cool enough so it allows the paste to set and not drip off?

Lynn C.

Hi Matthew -

The 10 minutes of cooling time is so the cauliflower is cool enough for you to be able to spread the tahini mixture on it without burning yourself. I imagine it will also stick better if the cauliflower has had a chance to cool a bit too.

The Milk Street Team