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Crispy, Cheesy, Tahini-Roasted Cauliflower

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Every so often, we scour the site for cool recipes from our community that we then test, photograph, and feature. This crunchy, savory cauliflower recipe comes from community all-star and very smart recipe writer EmilyC, and it's worth adding to your (no doubt crowded) cauliflower repertoire.

You most likely have an arsenal of cauliflower recipes that you know and love. You have a recipe (or three) for cauliflower soup, cauliflower patties, cauliflower couscous, and fried cauliflower. And roasted cauliflower? Yeah, you've got recipes for that, too—in spades.

Photo by Julia Gartland

Still, I argue that you need at least one more roasted cauliflower recipe in your brassica repertoire: one that is crispy, cheesy, and tahini-roasted.

User EmilyC created this recipe "on a whim": She intended to dunk her cauliflower in buttermilk, then dredge it in panko crumbs. However, when she opened her fridge and spied a jar of tahini, she realized that it could "serve as the 'glue' for the panko crumbs, and add a ton of flavor in the process." Luckily for her, "it worked like a charm." The appeal of this recipe comes from both steps in the breading process; by using tahini in lieu of eggwash or buttermilk, you get all of its nutty, creamy flavor, while the pecorino and thyme in the panko crust add extra zip and earthy, umami notes. It may be slightly more labor-intensive than other roasted cauliflower recipes, but the payoff is generous.

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This recipe deserves attention because it is also endlessly adaptable; EmilyC suggests changing up the herbs and spices, adding a bit of lemon zest or juice to the tahini, or incorporating finely-crushed pistachios (or any other nut) into the breading.

A slightly heartier roasted cauliflower than we're used to, thanks to the cheese, tahini, and breadcrumbs, this dish can stand on its own next to a green salad, or serve as a versatile side dish—though I like it topped with a poached egg and an extra flurry of Pecorino. In the words of EmilyC: "No matter which way you go, you'll be happy."

Crispy, Cheesy, Tahini-Roasted Cauliflower

Crispy, Cheesy, Tahini-Roasted Cauliflower

EmilyC EmilyC
Serves 2 to 4
  • 1 large head of cauliflower, trimmed
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • 1/2 cup tahini, well-stirred
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup panko
  • 1/2 cup finely grated pecorino romano
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)
  • sumac, optional for serving (if you have it, great, but no need to buy it if you don't)
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What do you think: Can you incorporate another take on roasted cauliflower? Or do you usually just toss it in olive oil, salt, and pepper and call it a day? Tell us below!

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Tags: Vegetable, Weeknight Cooking, Roast, Vegetarian