One-Pot Wonders

Crispy, Cheesy, Tahini-Roasted Cauliflower

June  5, 2017
4 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland
  • Serves 2 to 4
Author Notes

I created this recipe on a whim, fully intending to dunk the cauliflower in buttermilk, then dredge in panko crumbs. But when I opened my fridge, it occurred to me that the tahini right in front of me could serve as the ‘glue’ for the panko crumbs, and add a ton of flavor in the process. It worked a charm, and the result is one of my new favorite ways to roast cauliflower. This is the type of thing that's easily adaptable--change up the herbs and spices, add lemon zest and a little juice to the tahini, or add finely crushed pistachios to the breading. Serve it as a side dish, incorporate it into a salad, or let it be the main dish and serve a salad on the side. No matter which way you go, you'll be happy. —EmilyC

Test Kitchen Notes

In the very crowded field of cauliflower recipes, this one deserves your attention. EmilyC very cleverly introduces flavor into the breading process by using tahini as the "glue," and adding pecorino and thyme in the breading. It's crunchy, cheesy, and an excellent new way to enjoy cauliflower. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 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)
  1. Heat oven to 475 degrees F. Place a parchment-lined sheet pan or casserole dish (one that’s large enough to hold the cauliflower in a single, even layer) in the oven while it heats. The hot pan will help the cauliflower to get nicely browned and crispy.
  2. Cut the cauliflower into quarters. Slice each quarter into 1/4-inch flat pieces. You’re looking for large pieces – but smaller ones are fine, too, as long as they’re the same thickness. Season the cauliflower with kosher salt, to taste.
  3. Set up a dredging station. In one pie plate or shallow dish, mix together tahini and olive oil. In a second dish, mix together panko, pecorino, thyme, and a generous amount of black pepper, to taste.
  4. Working with a few slices of cauliflower at a time, coat both sides in the tahini-olive oil mixture (letting any excess drip back into the pan), then coat both sides generously with the panko mixture. Dredge the remaining cauliflower in the same way. If needed, mix together just enough additional tahini or panko mixtures to coat all of the cauliflower slices.
  5. Working quickly, carefully transfer the cauliflower pieces to the preheated sheet pan. (Careful, the pan will be hot!) Roast until golden and crispy (about 20 minutes or so) on both sides, flipping the cauliflower about halfway through the roasting time.
  6. Lightly sprinkle sumac (if using) over the cauliflower. Serve warm.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Valerie Gutchen Arnade
    Valerie Gutchen Arnade
  • Rosemary Fritz Foster
    Rosemary Fritz Foster
  • EmilyC
  • mikermeals

Recipe by: EmilyC

I'm a home cook. I love salads. Two things you'll always find in my refrigerator are lemons and butter, and in my pantry good quality chocolate and the makings for chocolate chip cookies.

4 Reviews

mikermeals September 7, 2020
Valerie G. December 21, 2019
I had high hopes. It came out crispy, the texture was good, but I think overall the flavors were kind of weird. Tahini and cheese don't really go together for me. It also needed something else to complete the flavor, maybe a good dipping sauce, but I'm not sure what would so with the other flavors.
Rosemary F. October 30, 2017
How about preheating the pan, then placing the prepared cauliflower on the parchment on a rimless cookie sheet. Slide the parchment onto the sheet pan.
EmilyC October 30, 2017
Sure, that should work as well!