Roasted cauliflower over sautéed kale & fennel over farro is a bit of a mouthful (albeit a tasty one) but it’s the kind of meal that I make often around here. Usually, I just sauté some vegetables and serve it over a grain and calling it a day. This time, as I was chopping up my vegetables I really wanted to roast the head of cauliflower that I had before me. Everybody knows that roasted cauliflower is THE BEST way to eat cauliflower ever. So I decided to put aside the kale, red onions and fennel and move along to the star attraction.
Instead of breaking the cauliflower into florets, I sliced them into 1/2 inch pieces. This gives cauliflower more opportunities to get that lovely caramelization when in the oven. The slices then get lightly tossed with lemon juice, spices and garlic, then spread onto a baking sheet and banged into the oven until toasty. And because I couldn’t leave a good thing alone, I sprinkled a little grated Parmesan cheese over top to get crisp. Hubba hubba.
I cooked up a little farro (but any grain will do) to provide a base for this meal. The sautéed veg get heaped on top, followed by the roasted cauliflower. A light drizzle of a garlicky, lemony, tahini sauce and dinner is ready. If this is fall, I’ll gladly have seconds.
And if you’re looking for a little autumn treat, head over to Poppytalk where I make one mean applesauce cake filled with nuts, dried fruit and a little drizzle of bourbon. Oh yeah.
roasted cauliflower over kale & fennel with garlicky tahini dressing
Looking at the pictures, I may have over-done it on the um, “caramelization”, but TRUST ME, all those dark, roasty bits on the cauliflower were my favourite.
1 large head of cauliflower
1 lemon, juiced & zested
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
2 T olive oil
1/4 t crushed red chili pepper or aleppo pepper
1/2 t kosher salt
1 head of fennel, fronds and woody green tips removed
1 bunch of kale, tough ribs removed
1 red onion
1 T olive oil
kosher salt & black pepper
1 T tahini
juice of half a lemon
1 clove garlic, minced
1 t agave syrup or honey
2-4 T olive oil
a pinch of ground cumin
salt & pepper, to taste
farro, quinoa or your choice of grain, for serving (farro is not gluten-free if that is a concern)
sumac for sprinkling over top, optional
Preheat oven 425 F
Slice cauliflower into 1/2″ slices and lightly toss with lemon juice + zest, spices and oil. I do this right on the baking sheet with my hands, flipping over the cauliflower to make sure it’s well coated and well-spaced on the sheet. Roast for 15-20 minutes or until lightly caramelized, stirring once & flipping over if needed at the mid-way point. Sprinkle with Parmesan and return to oven for another minute or two. Remove and set aside.
Meanwhile, thinly slice the fennel, onion and kale. Heat a large skillet over med-high heat and add in oil. Stir in the fennel and onion and sauté for a few minutes. Add in kale and toss well, turning down heat if you find things sear too quickly. When vegetables are tender-crisp, set aside.
To make the dressing, whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, garlic, agave, oil, cumin and salt & pepper. I like to stir in a little water too to help thin things down.
To serve, add farro or your choice of grain, top with the sauteed vegetables and then the roasted cauliflower. Drizzle with the tahini dressing and sprinkle with sumac, if using. Makes about 4 servings.
I seriously am going to make this dish tonight. It looks amazing. DROOLING.
This is a total bowl of comfort! Yum!!
I made this and it was fantastic. I think quinoa worked really well as the grain, it has a fairly neutral taste and everything else in the recipe is so nicely roasted and pungent. I used a full teaspoon of Aleppo pepper ’cause it’s less intense than crushed red chili pepper, and hey, I’ll be restocking the Aleppo when I get back to Istanbul in January.
The cauliflower didn’t caramelize for me, probably because the old crop of lemons in my backyard are now so large and I’m guessing that the extra lemon juice diluted the oil in the dressing for the cauliflower. So half a monster lemon next time.
But none of that matters. This is a really excellent flavor combination and it will become another ELS favorite. Thanks for taking the time to document and share this recipe.
This autumnal roasted veg bowl sounds absolutely lovely! Especially the dressing. Tahini-based ones are pretty much always tasty.
I love good caramelization, so I don’t think you went overboard at all. I love the sound of the garlicky tahini dressing, too. Yum!
Thanks Elliott, I hope you gave it a try! I’m curious what you thought 🙂
Hi Robert!! So glad you enjoyed this one. I think I left the cauliflower in for an extra long time but clearly there was no harm done. I’m jealous of your mondo lemons!
Joanne, I love tahini based dressings. A new classic 🙂
Thanks Nicole, it was a great meal.
Hurray for tahini dressings! I’ve always relied on your tahini dressing to make my salads at work (and home) extra special. I have a head of cauliflower and some baby kale in the fridge and everything else on your list except for the fennel bulb. Oh well, it’s still going to be tasty, I just know it!!
This dish looks so comforting and flavourful. My husband makes fun of me for always “burning” cauliflower when I roast it, but it really tastes so good charred like that!
Glad to hear it, JoanneM 🙂 Tahini dressings are the best, IMO! Hope you enjoyed dinner!
Thanks Jennifer – nothing wrong with a little charred cauliflower 🙂 Enjoy!
I made a variation on this for dinner last night! Instead of a tahini dressing, I made a chinese soy sauce/xo sauce dressing thing, I didn’t use fennel, and I added some thinly diced, fried eggplant. It was very different from what you have posted here, but it was very tasty. Next time, I mean to stick to your recipe. 😛
Ryan, sounds good! Recipes are always a good place to start playing, so glad you enjoyed it!
Still a great dish. The directions for the dressing do not include the half lemon. And while I’m being all picky, you might want to say “Meanwhile, thinly slice the onion, kale, and fennel.”
Robert, you are the best editor. Thanks, I’ve made the changes 🙂 Glad you’re still loving this dish.