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Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini and Lemon

4 Servings

40 minutes

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In the Levant, cauliflower often is deep fried and paired with tahini. We ditched the deep-fryer and opted for high-heat roasting. But first we coat the cauliflower with a little cornstarch mixed with oil, tomato paste and tahini. The starch helps the florets develop crisp, nicely browned exteriors. A little hot sauce in the coating adds some piquancy; we preferred brands that aren't too vinegary, such as Cholula and Tapatío. Cilantro and lemon, added just before serving, brighten up the colors and flavors.




Don't forget to line the baking sheet with foil, then coat it liberally with cooking spray. This helps prevent sticking and scorching. Also, don't stir the cauliflower as it roasts; undisturbed cooking allows the florets to crisp well and brown deeply.

40 minutes



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Kelsy B.
June 8, 2023
This recipe takes cauliflower to new heights. The flavors are delicious and balanced, and they reheat well for leftovers the next day. I make this recipe often.
Kelly R.
September 28, 2022
Favorite way to make Cauliflower
This is my new favorite way to prep cauliflower! Will be making again. Delicious!
Paula E.
August 15, 2022
My new favorite cauliflower recipe
I love this on so many levels! I was a cauliflower disdain person, but this has opened my tastebuds and mind to the possibilities cauliflower presents. I have been making this in my Ninja Foodi on airfry and it’s so easy! Like others have said- keep an eye on the florets- easy to burn or make more crunchy than intended.
Joan P.
June 27, 2022
This recipe was easy and so delicious! Served with spiced ground chicken with currants and pistachio. (Milk Street). The only issue is it didn’t get as crispy as expected, was a little mushy, but perhaps may due to using convection oven. Either way will make again!
Jasmine C.
June 7, 2022
Yummy recipe, but caution on the oven temp
Turned out very delicious, but putting my oven on 500 without stirring or turning left my cauliflower burned on the bottom and i had to cut off pieces. In the future I would roast at a lower temp or flip them midway.
Mark M.

I'm about to make this for dinner for the 7th time... I'm a fan.


The picture makes it look like the cauliflower is drizzled with some kind of sauce ...any ideas what that is anyone? Almost looks like Mexican crema...

Janelle C.

Hi Tom,

The cauliflower is drizzled with tahini.

The Milk Street Team

Amy J.

This is the best way to eat cauliflower- the tahini is fabulous.

Tracie A.

We thoroughly enjoyed this, and it was super simple! I significantly cut the salt since I was sharing with my 13 month old son, and it was still great and didn't seem like it needed additional salt. My cauliflower was deceptively small, so I had extra sauce. I had some firm tofu, so I threw that in the extra sauce, and was surprised at well it turned out. I used Texas Pete, since that's what I had on hand, and it worked out great for me.

Brent T.

Easily one of my favorite Milk Street recipes. I really disliked cauliflower before trying this. Now I go back for seconds, and it's become a staple recipe in our home!

Elizabeth B.

Delicious dish. Found the temperature and cooking time to be too high (and therefore too long.) Checked my oven's calibration and it was spot on. I will try this again at 450 and check after 15 minutes.

Heather R.

The recipe doesn't indicate the Kosher salt or pepper amounts as stated in the episode? Can you please add this to the ingredient list. As the host of the episode said when referencing adding the 2 tsp of Kosher salt "this is the only time we're going to season it."

Laura S.

Very good! I also cut back on the salt just a little bit and found that to be a good choice and also will cook at 450 next time to get a little less char. I love the combo of tahini, tomato paste, and hot sauce!

Katherine K.

The salt and pepper amounts are listed in the second paragraph.

Blake S.

What wouldn't you preheat the pan before placing the cauliflower on it? It seems like it would crisp and char better.

Lynn C.

Hi Blake -

We found we didn't need to preheat the sheet and were able to simply roast at a high temperature to achieve the browning we wanted.

The Milk Street Team

Lion M.

Tahini question. Recipe says to add tahini and reserve some for drizzling.
Did you mean to drizzle a tahini “sauce or dressing”, or do you mean to drizzle unflavored plain tahini on top?
Thank you.

Lynn C.

Hi Lion -

The cauliflower is drizzled with plain tahini for serving.

The Milk Street Team

Claudia M.

So easy and so delicious! I will be making this again (and again! )

Lori D.

DELICIOUS!!! I want to make this again, and again, and again!!!

Kelsy B.

I can't stop eating this cauliflower, that's how good of a recipe it is.

Stephanie P.

Hi. I have all your cookbooks, and I am trying to find this recipe. Can you let me know where to look? Thanks :)

Lynn C.

Hi Stephanie -

This recipe appeared in our TV cookbook, The Milk Street Cookbook: The Definitive Guide to the New Home Cooking, Including Every Recipe from Every Episode of the TV Show, 2017-2020. It's the one with the yellow cover with a photo of the TV cast on the front.

The Milk Street Team

Linda V.

I just made it (and we ate most of it already at lunch)! Really delicious. My cauliflower might have been a bit smaller than the 2-2 1/2 lb suggested in the recipe, and I think that might have been one of the causes of the finished cauliflower being a little soft at the end of 25 min. I also had to open the oven door twice because the rimmed cookie sheet made a sudden sound (a bend) and I needed to make sure all was ok. I think the sizzle I could hear before the opening of the door might not have returned...but I will try it again soon to see. I love the cilantro and lemon zest on the top and I will use lemon juice next time also. The flavors are so good. I did wonder if we had put the oil on the cauliflower to begin (alone) and then added the rest, might it not become so soft? Any ideas, other than cooking it on a lower heat for less time? Or is that the best solution? I also cut my florets a little smaller, I realize, than the recipe suggested. Looking forward to making this again! Ideas from others re getting the end product to be crispier? Convection baking? Ok! Thanks! We love it!