Last weekend I celebrated a friend’s almost 40th birthday at a restaurant here in DC called Proof. Although the food was decent, the best thing we ate that night was a fun cauliflower side dish. It was a crispy cauliflower tossed in a delicious Tahini sauce. I could have just eaten a few bowls of that dish and nothing else. I think we all could have. It was that good.
This restaurant has been around a while and after a quick internet search, I discovered it is known for this popular lebanese-inspired cauliflower side. My girlfriends and I were clueless; we had no idea we had stumbled upon the restaurant’s signature dish. I decided to try and recreate the deliciousness for our next supper club dinner and I got busy testing.
The original recipe is fried but I wasn’t about to fry mine. Not for anything, but I really didn’t want to spatter oil all over my freshly-cleaned stove top. I went for the roast. I tossed the chopped cauliflower pieces in olive oil, spices, and panko bread crumbs, hoping to get that “fried” feeling. Once roasted, I poured on the tahini dressing and gave it a gentle stir. I finished it off with a sprinkle of fresh chopped mint. Do not skip this step, the mint is really what gives this dish a punch of flavor. It was pretty simple to make and so tasty. It was so good that after I took these lovely photographs I ate the whole bowl. Yes, I ate an entire cauliflower myself. For lunch. It happens.
Here’s how you can make it happen, too.
Crispy Cauliflower with Lemon, Tahini, Garlic & Mint
- 1 large head cauliflower chopped into florets
- 2-3 Tbsp Olive oil
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
For the Tahini Sauce:
- 2 Tbsp Tahini
- 2 Tbsp water
- juice from 1/2 a lemon
- 1 small garlic clove minced (I use Gourmet Garden)
- pinch salt
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 cup fresh mint
Heat your oven to 425. In a large bowl, toss cauliflower with olive oil, garlic and onion powder and salt. Shake the bowl or stir well. Then add panko bread crumbs and stir or shake again. Pour cauliflower into sheet pan and roast for about 25 minutes, stirring 2-3 times while cooking.
In a small bowl, whisk together the tahini sauce ingredients. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add more water if too thick. When cauliflower is done, gently toss with the dressing and sprinkle with chopped mint before serving.