Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini and Tomato Salsa Recipe

This delicious vegetarian dish is almost too beautiful to eat.

Cauliflower is probably my favorite vegetable and I could eat it cooked like this every day. One of my chefs, Matthew Wihongi, created this recipe for our catering business and it really wows. If you don’t have time to slow roast the cauliflower, parboil it until it is soft enough to pierce with a fork. Then put it in the oven with the saffron liquid and baste until golden.

Recipes excerpted with permission from “Feasting: A New Take On Jewish Cooking” by Amanda Ruben, published by Hardie Grant Books March 2018. 

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Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini and Tomato Salsa

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A stunning centrepiece.

  • Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4-6


  • 1 large cauliflower head
  • 1 Tbsp saffron threads
  • 1 Tbsp sumac
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp ground chili powder
  • cup olive oil, plus extra if needed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups tahini
  • ½ cup slivered pistachios, to garnish (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp pomegranate seeds, to garnish (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp chili threads (optional)

For the tomato salsa:

  • ¼ red onion, finely diced
  • 5 tomatoes, deseeded and finely diced
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • sea salt, to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Place the cauliflower head on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
  2. Combine the saffron threads with 2 cups boiling water and set aside to steep for 15–20 minutes.
  3. In a bowl, combine the saffron liquid with the sumac, ground spices, oil and salt. Pour the mixture over the cauliflower, making sure it is evenly coated.
  4. Cover the tray with foil and roast the cauliflower in the oven for 2 hours, basting every 30 minutes with the saffron liquid. Add more oil if needed to keep the cauliflower moist.
  5. Remove the foil and roast for a further 10 minutes to brown the cauliflower a little.
  6. While the cauliflower is browning, make the tomato salsa. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Season to taste with salt.
  7. To serve, spread the tahini dip on a large platter and place the cauliflower on top. Cut out a generous wedge of cauliflower and pile the tomato salsa inside and around the edge of the cauliflower. Garnish with slivered pistachios, pomegranate seeds and chili threads if desired.
  • Author: Amanda Ruben
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Roasting
  • Cuisine: Middle Eastern

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