Roasted Cauliflower, Freekeh and Garlicky Tahini Sauce

Healthy Middle Eastern-inspired meal featuring roasted cauliflower, cracked freekeh, garlicky tahini sauce, fresh parsley, and raisins. Easily made vegan. Recipe yields two large servings or up to four smaller servings.


Roasted cauliflower

  • 1 large, tightly packed head of cauliflower, sliced into bite-sized florets
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Freekeh pilaf
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup slivered or sliced almonds
  • 1¼ cups cracked freekeh*
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon coriander
  • 3 cups plus 2 tablespoons (25 ounces) vegetable stock and/or water
Garlicky tahini sauce
  • ⅓ cup tahini
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • Generous pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Scant ⅓ cup water
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Handful fresh parsley and/or cilantro leaves, chopped
  • Crumbled feta (optional, omit for a vegan dish)
  • Small handful raisins
  • Sprinkling of sesame seeds


  1. To roast the cauliflower: Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss cauliflower florets with enough olive oil to cover them in a light, even layer of oil. Season with salt and pepper and arrange the florets in a single layer on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 30 to 35 minutes, tossing halfway until the florets are deeply golden on the edges.
  2. To cook the freekeh: Warm 1 tablespoon olive oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the almonds and cook, stirring occasionally, until they’re fragrant and turning golden on the edges, about 3 minutes. Add the freekeh and sauté for 2 minutes, then add the garlic, cumin, coriander, and salt, and sauté for 1 more minute. Add vegetable broth, raise the heat and bring the mixture a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally and reducing heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer until freekeh is tender to the bite, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain off any excess liquid, cover and set aside for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. To make the dressing: In a bowl, stir together the tahini, lemon juice, garlic and red pepper flakes. Whisk in the water until you have a smooth, blended tahini sauce. Season generously with salt (I added about ¼ teaspoon) and black pepper, to taste.
  4. To assemble the individual dishes: Start with a bed of cooked freekeh and top with roasted cauliflower. Drizzle tahini sauce generously over the dish and then top with a sprinkling of chopped fresh herbs, crumbled feta (optional), raisins and sesame seeds. Serve immediately. Leftovers are best stored as individual components and assembled after reheating the freekeh and cauliflower.

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