Turning a head of cauliflower into a tray of roasted, golden, gently spiced florets happens often in my kitchen during the cooler months. I use the caramelised flavour and interesting texture as a base for warm salads, pastas, soups, or just for eating directly from the tray, preferably with a beer in hand.
Like many vegetables, cauliflower done badly is, well, bad. Soft, grey lumps hiding under a blanket of packet-mix cheese sauce that has developed its own skin is not appetising. It’s how I was introduced to cauliflower, and is why it spent many years in my food wilderness. But when a small dish of roasted cauliflower, generously spiced with zatar and served with yoghurt was placed on my table at a Middle Eastern restaurant, things changed. Its smokey flavour and slightly crunchy texture was not the cauliflower I knew as a kid. It was interesting and delightful, and very simple to achieve at home.
I’ve experimented with a several versions of this warm salad, but the mix of cumin and coriander on the cauliflower alongside the crunch of almonds and freshness of parsley is something I always return to. Cranberries, golden raisins or sultanas add a pleasing sweetness that offsets the zesty lemon-spiked yoghurt that acts as a dressing. If you can get your hands on a pomegranate, use its jewel-like seeds to bedazzle this dish instead of dried fruit. Pomegranate seeds provide a burst of sourness and texture that really lift this dish.
This salad is robust enough to eat on its own as a simple lunch, or mix it through cooked quinoa or cous cous to make it go a bit farther. This week I served it alongside a slow-roasted pork belly. (I mostly followed this pork belly recipe, though swapped out the cumin and chilli for two tablespoons of fennel seeds and a teaspoon of black peppercorns. Delicious.) Lamb cutlets would also be a great partner to this salad.
Roasted Cauliflower With Almonds, Cranberries and Yoghurt
- 1 whole cauliflower
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp dry roasted almonds
- 2 tbsp dried cranberries or the seeds of a pomegranate
- Handful of parsley
- 3 tbsp greek yoghurt
- 2 tsp lemon juice
Preheat your oven to 210C/425F.
Chop the cauliflower into roughly even florets (no need to be too precise, the smaller pieces will get a bit crispy, and that’s lovely). Pound the cumin and coriander seeds in a mortar and pestle. In a large bowl, toss the cauliflower with the spices and olive oil, then season.
Spread the cauliflower onto a large, lined baking sheet, ensuring the florets are in one layer with no overlapping pieces. Place in the oven for 20-30 minutes, until the cauliflower is soft and the edges golden.
While the cauliflower is cooking, roughly chop the almonds, cranberries and parsley.
Prepare the yoghurt sauce by combining the yoghurt with lemon juice and add salt to taste.
When the cauliflower is done, transfer onto a serving plate and sprinkle the almonds, cranberries and parsley over the top. Drizzle the yoghurt sauce evenly over everything and serve.
Inspired by Smitten Kitchen’s Cumin Seed Roasted Cauliflower with Yoghurt