This Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini is the perfect side dish, or, if paired with hearty barley or farro, the perfect healthy dinner. Our tahini sauce is laced with cilantro, jalapeno, and plenty of fresh lime juice. Only six ingredients!
Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini
When it comes to sides, our Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini – green tahini sauce to be exact – is high on my “healthy side” list. We take hearty florets of cauliflower and roast them in a screaming hot oven until irresistibly crispy and brown. We then smother them with a finger-lickin’ green tahini sauce laced with cilantro, spicy jalapeños, and zippy lime juice.
Not only is this roasted cauliflower with tahini seriously delicious, it’s a mere six ingredients, and takes about 20 minutes to throw together, so you can make it right alongside whatever you’re whipping up for dinner.
IF you want to turn this side dish into an entree (and I highly recommend you do), that can easily be done by nestling the cauliflower on a bed of cooked farro or barley, or served alongside a perfectly cooked piece of salmon or chicken.
Whatever you decide to do with this roasted cauliflower with tahini, make a double batch, so you can enjoy it all week long. (Although you don’t need to double the tahini sauce, because it makes an impressive amount, and you’ll want to slather it on EVERYTHING.)
Cauliflower. I like to buy a whole head of cauliflower opposed to florets that have already been portioned out because I like to have varying sizes of cauliflower. The REALLY small pieces get crazy crispy and the larger pieces brown up beautifully on the bottom, but still have nice texture to them.
I also like to make sure each piece of cauliflower has a flat side to lay flush with the baking sheet so it gets super brown and roasted. (A little trick I learned from Cookie and Kate.)
Olive oil. We use olive oil when we roast the cauliflower and when we make the tahini sauce. If you want to cut back on calories and fat (even though it’s good fat!), you can add more water to the tahini instead of the olive oil.
Tahini. Gosh, if you haven’t used tahini yet, you are missing out! It’s a sesame seed paste (also found in hummus!), and can be bitter along, but when paired with acid, it’s quite magical.
Cilantro. For something as innocent as cilantro, it can be quite polarizing. People either love it or hate. I happen to love, but I promise, even if you don’t like it, you WILL like it in roasted cauliflower with tahini.
Jalapeno. I mentioned this in my notes below, but it’s important to take a small taste of your jalapeño before you add it to the food processor. If you’re more sensitive to spice, and it’s a super hot pepper, you may only want to add half of it. Conversely, if it’s a mild pepper, add more.
Lime juice. To me, lime juice and cilantro go hand-in-hand, but you can also lemon juice or even white vinegar as the acid here. A combination of any of those mentioned would also be lovely.
Water. You need a little bit of water to loosen the sauce up without adding any extra olive oil. I used about four tablespoons, but add enough to get to your desired consistency.
Let’s make Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini!
We talked about how to cut the cauliflower above, so once you have all your pieces cut. Evenly divide them between two sheet pans. We use two sheet pans because cauliflower really needs space to roast. Just like anything you cook, if you crowd too many florets into a small space, the cauliflower will steam instead of roast, and we want that cauliflower to be golden brown and beautiful.
Drizzle the cauliflower with olive oil, salt, and garlic pepper. Don’t be shy with that salt!
Roast the cauliflower until very brown and softened, it should only take 12-15 minutes.
While the cauliflower roasts, make the green tahini sauce! It’s as easy as this:
- Add everything to a food processor.
- Add water if needed to loosen the sauce up.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Drizzle the hot cauliflower with the green tahini sauce.
Substitutions and Tips and Tricks for Recipe Success
- Check the cauliflower around minute 11, if it looks like it’s starting to get too brown, use a spatula to flip the florets over.
- For extra zip, add in a clove of garlic to the tahini sauce.
- If you don’t have lime juice, you can also use lemon sauce.
- If you buy pre-cut cauliflower, make sure you still cut the pieces so each floret has a flat surface to roast.
- Taste your jalapeño before adding it the mixer. Mine wasn’t super spicy this time, so I added the whole thing to the sauce. If yours is super spicy, you may only want to add half at a time. Remember, you can always add more, but you can’t take it away.
What to serve with our Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini
- These Easy Salmon Cakes would compliment the roasted cauliflower with tahini perfectly!
- Spinach and Feta Stuffed Chicken is another main that needs a healthy vegetable side.
- Even Crispy Baked Chicken Fingers need a vegetable to round it out, and roasted cauliflower fits the bill.
- 1 head cauliflower
- 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt, divided
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1 cup cilantro leaves
- 3 tbsp lime juice
- 1 jalapeno, seeds and stems removed (Unless you want it really spicy)
- 4-5 tbsp water
- sheet pan
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Use a sharp knife to slice the cauliflower into varying sizes. (I like to have different sizes of florets for different textures.) Make sure each piece of cauliflower has a flat surface so it can brown and roast nicely and lay flush with the pan. i.e. Do not pull off florets, use your knife to cut them so they have a flat surface.
- Add cauliflower evenly to two large baking sheets so it can roast properly. Drizzle each sheet pan of cauliflower with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Toss with your hands. Sprinkle each sheet pan of cauliflower with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder. Toss with hands again to coat. Spread the cauliflower out so each piece has room to roast. Make sure the flat part of the cauliflower is flush with the roasting pan. Roast for 15 minutes until golden brown and crisp on the bottom. Check the cauliflower at minute 10 so see if they need to be flipped over. If they are getting too brown, flip them over and continue to roast.
- While the cauliflower roasts. Add tahini, cilantro, lime juice, jalapeno, water, and remaining olive oil and salt to a food processor. Turn the processor on and blend until smooth. Add a little bit more water if you need to loosen the sauce up, it should drizzle easily. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Drizzle sauce over warm cauliflower. Reserve leftover sauce to serve with cauliflower or save to serve with grilled chicken or salmon.