If you're looking for a unique and flavorful way to prepare cauliflower, this za'atar roasted cauliflower recipe with dates and pine nuts is a must-try. Za'atar is a Middle Eastern spice blend that typically includes thyme, sumac, sesame seeds, and other herbs, and it brings a warm and aromatic flavor to this dish. Roasting the cauliflower in the oven with za'atar, olive oil, and salt creates a crispy and caramelized exterior with a tender and flavorful interior.
The addition of sweet dates and crunchy pine nuts adds a delightful texture and a contrasting flavor to the dish. This recipe is perfect for anyone who wants to enjoy a healthy and delicious side dish that is packed with nutrients and bursting with flavors. It's easy to make and can be served as a side dish or a light vegetarian meal. Brightness is added by using fresh lemon juice and zest. You can add preserved lemon for a little extra flavor. This one is complete.
THE SECRET TO ROASTED CAULIFLOWER – ZA’ATAR SPICE!
Using fresh herbs and spices will elevate simple roasted veggies, if there is one piece of advice I can offer you. Za'atar spice and fresh thyme give this vegetarian dish layers of earthy, herby, acidic, and nutty taste because cauliflower has a much milder flavor than other vegetables.
This is one of the finest roasted cauliflower meals ever, not to mention the sweet Medjool dates and toasted pine nuts. Therefore, if you're in a hurry and need some flavorful vegetables to complete a meal, this side dish will not disappoint.
WHAT’S IN THIS ROASTED CAULIFLOWER RECIPE
- Cauliflower: For 4 servings, just one head is required. Thus, add another head and double the rest of the ingredients if you're serving a larger group.
- Za'atar Spice: Za'atar Spice is available online and in some health stores. But if you enjoy making your own spices, my za'atar spice recipe makes it quite simple to do so at home.
- The pine nuts. Because of their smooth texture and mildly nutty flavor, pine nuts are my favorite. Particularly in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine.
- Dates for Medjool: The gritty za'atar is balanced by the sticky sweetness that the soft dates offer.
- Thyme: Fresh thyme is essential; it will make all the difference
How to roast the cauliflower
- Actually, one of my favorite methods of cooking vegetables is roasting. They develop a crisp, golden-brown outside and a delicate, expertly cooked interior as a result. In addition, once they are in the oven, it is mostly hands-off. Who could not adore that mixture? So let's start by preheating your oven to 425°F (220°C).
- Prepare the cauli. Cauliflower florets should be mixed with some olive oil, za'atar spice, salt, and pepper on a baking sheet.
- Time to roast. Golden browning the cauliflower requires 20 to 25 minutes of cooking. To ensure that the cauliflower is cooked evenly, toss it halfway through.
- Prepare the dates and pine nuts. Toast the pine nuts for one to two minutes while the cauliflower is heating. The dates and thyme are then chopped.
STORING CAULIFLOWER RAISED IN AN OVEN
If you do have leftovers, roasted cauliflower can keep in the fridge for up to 3 to 4 days in a sealed container.
- To achieve golden results, be patient and let the steam from the freshly boiled cauliflower evaporate.
- If your cauliflower still has attached fresh leaves, keep them. They cook well and add texture to the dish.
- If za'atar is not available, you can use any amount of oregano, thyme, sumac, and/or sesame seeds.
- Boiling the cauliflower in buttermilk or a mixture of buttermilk and water is one alternative. I enjoy adding half of a preserved lemon to this boiling mixture. The flavor is enhanced subtly, and the cauliflower becomes even more tender. It's okay if the buttermilk appears to be curdling a little.
- From time to time, I'll mix some spicy honey or a dash of (Calabrian) chile flakes into the tahini dressing to make it more flavorful.
- The whole head of cauliflower, fresh leaves intact
- Olive oil, for coating and tahini dressing
- 1-2 pinches Za’atar
- ⅓ cup tahini
- ¼+ cup water
- Zest and Juice of one Lemon
- ½ bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 1 teaspoon (Mike’s) hot honey or a pinch of chili flakes (optional)
- 1 teaspoon preserved lemon, peel finely chopped (optional)
- 3-4 medjool dates, pitted and chopped.
- ¼ cup pignolis (pine nuts), lightly pan toasted
- Kosher salt
- Fresh ground pepper
- Flaky sea salt
ZA’ATAR ROASTED CAULIFLOWER WITH DATES AND PINE NUTS
- 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoons za’atar spice
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- 6 Medjool dates, pitted and diced
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, plus extra sprigs for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Place the cauliflower florets on a baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil. Sprinkle with za'atar spice, salt and pepper and toss to combine. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown, stirring halfway through.
- While the cauliflower is cooking, heat a small pan on medium heat. Toast the pine nuts in a dry pan over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes.
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together the roasted cauliflower, pine nuts, dates, and thyme.
- Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with extra sprigs of thyme, if you'd like.