This Roasted Cauliflower with Chickpeas and Creamy Garlic Tahini Dressing recipe will change the way you think of cauliflower. The spiced roasted cauliflower is super tasty, with that crunchy exterior and the nuttiness of having roasted it. The spices add both flavour and colour making it even more appealing. And for an even more wholesome dish packed with nutrients, I love to add chickpeas and serve this combo as a warm salad. The dressing is incredibly versatile and addictive, creamy thanks to the tahini and with a subtle garlicky flavour balanced with the freshness of lemon. Oh! And did I say that it’s vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free? Honestly, a winner veggie loaded dish.
During the holidays we spent New Year’s Eve in the mountains with friends and this was one of the starters (or side dish) that I cooked for them one day. My friend Anna, who is celiac and lactose intolerant, told me in an “angry” tone: “Paula, you don’t have these recipes on the website! Why don’t you share them?”. And my answer was because I don’t know if you guys like these recipes, to which she told me to stop bullsh**** and to please go ahead with them!
They found this Roasted Cauliflower with Chickpeas and Creamy Garlic Tahini Dressing so good, different from what they usually cook, but they realised that it was made with things they have at home and they especially loved that :). Perfect for a change! As hummus fans that we are in that group, we all have tahini on hand, which may be the most special ingredient here, but nowadays I can assure you that you can find it in most if not all supermarkets.
And talking about tahini, what is it? Tahini is basically a seed butter, made by grinding sesame seeds into a smooth paste. Sometimes the sesame seeds are hulled, sometimes they’re left unhulled; sometimes roasted, sometimes raw. My favourite tahini is made out of hulled and not roasted sesame seeds, which makes it runnier and lighter in taste respectively.
Some Notes on the Roasted Cauliflower with Chickpeas Ingredients
- Cauliflower. It’s, together with the chickpeas the heart of the recipe. You can swap it out for another variety of brassica such as Brussels sprouts, broccoli, green cauliflower, or Romanesco.
- Spices. I have used a combination of garlic powder, sweet paprika, and turmeric. In addition to providing flavour (and nutritional value), paprika and turmeric also provide colour. These spices not only work great on cauliflower but also pair perfectly with the chickpeas and the tahini dressing.
- Chickpeas. They bring (vegetable) protein to the dish, making it more complete so if you want you can enjoy it as a main course. You can replace them with lentils or other beans if you want.
- Pomegranate. It’s optional but it adds a crunchy touch that contrasts really well with the chickpeas and cauliflower, I personally love it. In addition, its sweetness goes great with the roasted garlic and tahini dressing.
Creamy Roasted Garlic Tahini Dressing
In my Crispy Chicken and Bacon Salad with Basil Tahini Dressing I already shared that one of my favourite dressings of all times is this roasted garlic, tahini and lemon dressing but I hadn’t shared the recipe on the blog yet. I like it a lot both for the flavour it has and for the texture. It is creamy without calling for any type of dairy product, which makes it perfect for those who are lactose intolerant. Oh, and it’s vegan, which makes it perfect too in case you have vegan friends over and want to make something with a creamy sauce.
- Tahini. It is really important that to use a good tahini, otherwise your dressing might be a bit bitter. If this was the case, you can always add honey or maple syrup to the dressing to balance it out, and the same is true if you use toasted sesame tahini, which is quite strong.
- Garlic. Since we turn on the oven to roast the cauliflower, in this dressing recipe I use roasted garlic, but you can perfectly substitute it for my garlic confit.
- Lemon. It brings freshness and flavour to both the dressing and the roasted spiced cauliflower and chickpeas. You can add more or less to taste (sometimes, depending on the lemon, the intensity of flavour changes).
Tips and Tricks for the Perfect Roasted Cauliflower with Chickpeas and Creamy Garlic Tahini Dressing Recipe
- Dressing: you can double, triple or quadruple the quantities. It lasts very well for weeks, stored in a jar or airtight container in the fridge. Keep in mind that it will thicken over time, so when you want to use it, remember to dilute it with a little water.
- Turmeric: This spice stains a lot. I have one baking tray that I use specially when I am baking with turmeric because it always leaves a mark and I don’t want to stain all of my baking trays. Watch your clothes (avoid white clothes XD) and wash your hands with soap as soon as you finish mixing the cauliflower with the spices and oil.
- Parchment paper, using it vs not using it: since I want the cauliflower to roast well, I don’t usually use parchment paper in this recipe. Unfortunately, this means that turmeric could leave a trace on the tray even after washing it. If you prefer to avoid stains, then use parchment paper.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is my dressing bitter?
It’s probably due to the tahini you’re using:
- Bad quality tahini can be bitter and then transfer the bitterness to the dish. If the brand is from the Middle East, all the better :).
- An expired tahini can go rancid and add bitterness.
- Roasted sesame tahini is usually quite strong and if you aren’t used to it, its taste may be a bit bitter. I personally prefer unroasted sesame tahini.
Looking for More Delicious Vegetable Loaded Recipes?
I got you!
- Roasted Broccoli with Serrano Ham Toasted Breadcrumbs
- Cauliflower Bolognese Pasta
- Easy Courgette Fritters with Lemony Herby Crème Fraîche
- Fluffy Broccoli Pancakes with Avocado Cream
If you make this Roasted Cauliflower with Chickpeas and Creamy Garlic Tahini Dressing recipe, be sure to leave a comment and rate it. Hearing from you is everything! Oh, and don’t forget to tag me on Instagram, I absolutely love seeing your creations. Happy cooking!
Roasted Cauliflower with Chickpeas and Creamy Garlic Tahini Dressing
Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpeas
- 650 g cauliflower - cut into florets and stem sliced (approx. 1/2 large cauliflower or 1 small)
- 50 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tbsp paprika
- 1/2 tbsp turmeric
- 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 400 g chickpeas - cooked, drained and washed (1 jar of cooked chickpeas)
- 1 generous handful of pomegranate seeds - optional
- 5 garlic cloves - skin on, see notes.
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 60 ml tahini - preferably untoasted sesame tahini
- 4-7 tbsp water - more or less to adjust consistency
- Preheat then oven to 220ºC, no fan (210ºC fan assisted).
- On a baking tray, place the cauliflower florets and sliced stems (see notes on using parchment paper). Drizzle with the olive oil and top with the spices (see notes on turmeric) and salt. Mix it all well, as if you were massaging the cauliflower so it gets well coated.
- Make sure that the cauliflower florets do not overlap so that they roast evenly and place the garlic cloves in one corner of the tray.
- Bake for 15 minutes, give the cauliflower a toss, bake for 10 more minutes and if you want, turn on the grill for the last 5 minutes to ensure a nice roasted look.
- Place the pulp of the roasted garlic cloves in a bowl and mash well with a fork. Add the salt, lemon juice and mix until combined. Add 4 tablespoons of water (if you see that the dressing is already quite runny, you can start with less water or even omit it), stir well, and add more water until you get your desired consistency (see notes).
- In a large bowl or serving tray, place the chickpeas and roasted cauliflower. Add half of the dressing and a handful of pomegranate seeds if using it and mix well. To finish, pour some more dressing over the vegetables and springle with more pomegranate seeds to taste. Enjoy!
- It is for 4 people as a side dish or starter, or for 2 as a main.
- I roast a whole head of garlic instead of just 5 cloves so I can use leftovers for sauces, toasts and other dressings.
- Parchment paper, using vs not using: since I want the cauliflower to roast well, I don’t usually use parchment paper in this recipe. Unfortunately, may stain the baking tray. If you prefer to avoid stains, then use parchment paper.
- Turmeric: This spice stains a lot. I have a baking tray that I use when I bake with turmeric because it always leaves traces. Keep an eye on your clothing and wash your hands with soap as soon as you finish mixing the cauliflower with the spices and oil.
- Dressing: you can double, triple or quadruple the amounts. It lasts very well for weeks, stored in a jar or airtight container in the fridge. Keep in mind that it will thicken over time, so when you want to use it, remember to dilute it with a little water.