In Portland, Oregon, there is no shortage of very, very good vegan food. Wait five minutes and another restaurant, natural foods store or food truck opens to the public. And one of my favorite things is tasting everything vegan!
After a recent trip to Aviv, a plant based Israeli restaurant in town, I was really impressed. A lot of Israeli food is already plant based, but not all of it. It was inspiring to try their versions of shawarma and labneh. But what stuck with me the most was the simple combination of fried cauliflower, lemon tahini sauce, and za’atar. I got home, and thought, I need to make something like that!
While I love fried foods, I very, very rarely fry food at home. So, in this version, you can either roast the cauliflower florets in the oven or use an air fryer. Directions are provided for each approach. While this recipe uses kalamata olives, you could add a medley of any of your favorite olives.
In the end, this is an easy vegan roasted cauliflower recipe. Great as a side dish or incorporated into a grain bowl. And once you taste it, you’ll wonder why you weren’t always smothering your cauliflower with lemon tahini dressing and sprinkling it with za’atar!
Roasted Cauliflower with Lemon Tahini and Za’atar
4 cups cauliflower florets, chopped into bite-size pieces
2 Tbsp olive oil
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp salt
1 batch lemon tahini dressing
Kalamata olives, to taste
Salt-free za’atar (store bought or make your own!), to taste
1 Tbsp parsley, finely chopped
1. Add the cauliflower florets to a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, and then, add garlic powder and salt. Stir around until the cauliflower is coated.
2a. OVEN DIRECTIONS: Preheat the oven to 400º F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Spread the cauliflower over the cookie sheet in an even layer. Bake at 400º F for 30 minutes or until the cauliflower looks crisp enough to you. Flip it at the halfway point (~15 minutes into roasting). Move on to step 3.
2b. AIR FRYER DIRECTIONS: Add the cauliflower to the air fryer basket. Air fry at 400º F for 14 minutes (turning the food when the air fryer tells you to or after 8 minutes have passed). Remove when the cauliflower looks crispy enough to you.
3. While the cauliflower is roasting in the oven or in the air fryer, make the lemon tahini dressing. Follow the directions for making it by clicking here.
4. Either drizzle the roasted or air fried cauliflower with the dressing and top with za’atar and olives, OR add the cauliflower to the dressing and completely coat it. And then, sprinkle with za’atar and top with olives. Serve as a side dish or as part of a grain bowl.