whole roasted cauliflower with sabzi khordan

whole roasted cauliflower with sabzi khordan

This summer, I got to spend some time in NY/Philly/NJ catching up with my friends from grad school and even a couple fellow bloggers. It was so much fun seeing everyone again, and (of course!) there was a lot of good food. My friend Anita cooked the most beautiful dinner, including a whole roasted cauliflower appetizer with a wonderful herby tahini dipping sauce. When we got home, I was inspired to put my own spin on it, so I made a vegan sabzi khordan plate, with whole roasted cauliflower in the center instead of the hunk of cheese I usually serve. Sabzi khordan is essentially a big plate of herbs and veggies, so the big wreath of fresh herbs worked wonderfully with an Anita-inspired lemony tahini sauce on the side. The spices I chose for this whole roasted cauliflower were inspired by Persian Mama Blog’s advieh berenj, a seasoning for rice. It adds a lovely warmth and depth to just about anything.

whole roasted cauliflower with sabzi khordan
whole roasted cauliflower with sabzi khordan
whole roasted cauliflower with sabzi khordan
whole roasted cauliflower with sabzi khordan
whole roasted cauliflower with sabzi khordan
whole roasted cauliflower with sabzi khordan

whole roasted cauliflower with sabzi khordan

serves 6 to 8 as an appetizer, 4 to 6 as a side
active time: 15 minutes
total time: 2 hours
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  • 1 medium/small head cauliflower (700g)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric

  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom

  • 1/8 teaspoon rosewater (optional)

  • Salt to taste

  • 1/4 cup tahini (60g)

  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice (45g)

  • 3 tablespoons water (45g), optional

  • 1/4 teaspoon crumbled rose petals (optional)

  • 1 bunch basil

  • 1 bunch cilantro

  • 1 small bunch chives

  • 1 small bunch mint

  • Bread for serving

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

  2. Cut the stem so the cauliflower sits level, and (optionally) discard the leaves. Combine the olive oil, cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, cardamom, rosewater (do not add extra—it should be very subtle), and salt to taste (about 1/2 teaspoon) and brush all over the cauliflower, getting under the leaves. Place in a cast iron skillet or another baking dish with room around it, and place in the oven. Bake for about 1 hour 15 minutes for al dente, or longer for more tender cauliflower (up to 2 hours). Decrease the temperature to 350°F and tent with foil if it starts to brown too much for your liking, and check on it often after the first hour.

  3. While it’s in the oven, make the tahini dipping sauce. Combine the tahini, lemon juice, water, and salt to taste (about 1/4 teaspoon), and whisk together until it thickens. Set aside.

  4. Remove the cauliflower to a plate. Top the cauliflower with the rose petals. Arrange the basil, cilantro, chives, and mint around it. Serve with the dipping sauce on the side, and encourage guests to grab a big handful of their favoirte herbs with every bite of cauliflower/bread/tahini.

To make ahead: The cauliflower can be roasted ahead of time, stored in the refrigerator, and then reheated in the oven before serving (it will soften more as it reheats, so cook it for about 15 minutes less than you’d like earlier on, and let it finish cooking through as it reheats). The tahini sauce can be mixed up ahead of time, and then stored in the refrigerator for a couple days. The herbs can be washed, dried, wrapped up in slightly damp kitchen towels, and stored in a resealable container for several days.

whole roasted cauliflower with sabzi khordan

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peach caprese with pomegranate molasses

peach caprese with pomegranate molasses

As you might expect of a cat-obsessed lady in her thirties with lots of friends in their thirties, my instagram feed is pretty much a running stream of babies and cats, but now that it’s the heart of summertime, it’s become just a nonstop reel of babies, cats, and peaches. Sometimes babies eating peaches, sometimes cats looking at babies (still haven’t seen any cats playing with peaches yet, but we’ve still got a lot of summer left–will report back and let you guys know how things play out in August).

So many friends and food bloggers have been posting some really delicious peachy salads, usually featuring mozzarella or burrata. So I just had to get in on the action and put together a salad of my own to share with you guys. This one is primarily inspired by my food blogger friends Mai and Omayah and their lovely burrata-peach-mint salads, as well as this wonderful peach caprese by Molly Krebs, featuring peaches, mint, mozzarella, and roasted pistachios, a few of my favorite things. Here, I’ve added tomatoes, used pomegranate molasses for a little tang, and went with green raw pistachios for an extra bright summery vibe.

This salad also works wonderfully with basil instead of mint. And if you plan on making a more classic caprese at any point this summer, I highly recommend subbing pomegranate molasses for balsamic reduction if you want to mix things up a little. It’s a game changer! If you’re looking for more fun ideas, these ingredients also work really fabulously with burrata. But that particular cheese is a little hard to find in my neighborhood, so I’ve been appreciating good old fresh mozzarella lately. My friend Julie was out to dinner with some coworkers recently, one of whom tried burrata for the first time, and reported back “I don’t really get the hype… it’s just wet cheese!” which really speaks to me for some reason. So whether you’re opting for wet or dry cheese, hope you’re having a wonderful summer full of lots of bright and sunny eats.

peach caprese with pomegranate molasses
peach caprese with pomegranate molasses
peach caprese with pomegranate molasses
peach caprese with pomegranate molasses

peach caprese with pomegranate molasses

serves: 6
total time: 15 minutes
download a
PDF to print

  • 2 120g balls of mozzarella (240g/8.5oz total)

  • 3 peaches

  • 2 medium tomatoes

  • Salt, to taste

  • A few sprigs of mint

  • Pomegranate molasses

  • Ground pistachios

  1. Slice the mozzarella, peaches, and tomatoes, and arrange on a plate. Season to taste.

  2. Sprinkle with the mint leaves and any small tender attached stems (discard any large woody stems).

  3. Season with a pinch of salt. Drizzle with pomegranate molasses, and top with ground pistachios.

To make ahead: You can slice everything and arrange the mozzarella, peaches, and tomatoes on a plate ahead of time, but hold off on the salt, mint, pomegranate molasses, and pistachios until the last minute. An undressed plate can keep like this for up to 6 hours to serve to guests, but even the dressed leftovers will keep super well for a couple days (just maybe not for guests).

peach caprese with pomegranate molasses