This roasted cauliflower is topped with a harissa tahini sauce that brings a bit of spice, savory notes, and sweetness. This is a flavor-packed dish that pairs perfectly roasted cauliflower with a bright, delicious sauce. The roasted harissa tahini cauliflower is special enough to be served on its own or as a tasty side dish.
I love dishes that combine sweet, savory, brightness, and spice. And this roasted harissa cauliflower hits all those notes.
The cauliflower gets beautifully caramelized in the oven, and then is topped with a tahini harissa sauce. The tahini harissa sauce really makes the dish! The tahini brings that sesame flavor, the harissa brings the spice, and, a touch of honey for sweetness.
Before you top with the sauce, you add a squeeze of lemon all over the cauliflower to brighten things up! And dates for more texture and sweetness! Or switch out the dates for bacon to add a salty flavor to the dish. Or be daring, and add both.
What is harissa?
Harissa is a spicy condiment from North Africa. It's made with peppers and comes in different spice levels. For this dish, I used spicy, but you could easily swap out a medium level spiced harissa.
It can be used in sauces, stirred into scrambled eggs, used with vegetables, or as a condiment.
You can make your own, or find it ready-made in jarred versions or in a tube. In this recipe, I used a jarred version (Mina brand). Trader Joe's also has a jarred version!
(If you have a tube, note that those tend to be more concentrated).
What is tahini?
Tahini is a Middle Eastern condiment made from sesame seeds. Ever have hummus? Then you've probably had tahini, as it's one of the main ingredients. It can be found at most grocery stores, and Trader Joe's has a version as well.
Customizations and substitutions:
- The dates add a nice sweetness to the harissa cauliflower, but if you don't have dates around there are other options! You could use dried cherries or dried currants. Or skip the sweet flavor and use cooked bacon instead.
- I used a spicy harissa sauce, but if you want a milder flavor, chose a medium-spiced harissa.
- You can swap out the honey in the sauce for maple syrup.
- I topped mine with fresh parsley, but dill and mint would work great as well and add a different flavor.
Make it a meal
If you want to make it a light meal, you can do it as one serving and just eat it all yourself!
First, preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
Take your head of cauliflower and cut out the core and remove any leaves. Then cut into florets. Alternately, you could use pre-cut florets for this recipe.
Place your florets in a bowl, add olive oil, salt, and pepper, and toss to coat.
Arrange the florets on a baking sheet (I lined mine with parchment paper).
Cook in the oven for 20-35 minutes, tossing halfway through. Check for doneness before removing from the oven, as it will depend based on the size of your florets.
White cauliflower is cooking, chop up 2-3 dates into small pieces.
During the last few minutes of cooking the cauliflower, add your harissa, tahini, water, honey, and garlic powder. Stir or whisk together over low heat until warmed through and combined, about 3-5 minutes.
Plate the cauliflower, then squeeze fresh lemon juice over the top. Top with the dates, then drizzle the harissa tahini sauce over the top. Add any fresh herbs you'd like (I chose parsley).
Recipe inspired by Gathered Nutrition.
Roasted Harissa Cauliflower
- 1 head cauliflower
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 3 dates
- ½ lemon
- 1 Tbsp harissa sauce
- 2 Tbsp tahini
- 2 Tbsp water
- 1 tsp honey
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- parsley optional
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cut up the cauliflower, removing the core and leaves. Cut the remaining cauliflower into small florets.
- Place cauliflower in a bowl and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes, stirring halfway through.
- While cauliflower cooks, chop the dates into small pieces.
- When cauliflower is several minutes from being done, make your sauce. Add the harissa, tahini, water, honey, and garlic powder to a small skillet. Heat over low heat and stir or whisk to combine. Heat for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce is warm and ingredients are combined.
- Plate the cauliflower and squeeze fresh lemon juice over the top. Add dates, then drizzle the harissa sauce over the cauliflower. Top with parsley or any other fresh herbs.