Roasted Cauliflower Shawarma with Tahini Sauce

This is an amazing vegetarian version of one of my favorite dishes. It was absolutely packed with flavor. I served it with Turkish bulgur and vegetable pilaf on the side- perfect.

This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I modified the method and proportions. I roasted one large red onion but would consider using two next time.

We ate the filling served on warm mini naan. As it was completely overstuffed, we had to use utensils to eat it. :/ The filling could also be stuffed in a pita or served on a larger flatbread.

Yield: 4 servings

For the Filling:

  • 1/2 cup (8 T) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 2 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp fine sea salt, plus more as needed
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 large heads cauliflower (about 2 1/2 pounds each), trimmed and cut into bite-size florets
  • 1 or 2 large red onions, cut into 1/4-inch wedges

For the Tahini Sauce:

  • 2 T fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste (I used Meyer lemon juice)
  • 1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper or 2 tsp harissa paste or other hot sauce, plus more to taste
  • 2 fat garlic cloves, finely grated, passed through a press or minced
  • 1/2 tsp Diamond Crystal kosher salt or fine sea salt
  • 2/3 cup tahini
  • 2/3 cup ice water, plus more as needed

For Serving:

  • warm naan, pita, or other flatbread
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped parsley, or more to taste
  • chopped tomato, cucumber and olives (I omitted the olives)
  • bulgur and vegetable pilaf, optional
  1. Arrange racks in the upper and lower thirds of your oven. Heat oven to 425 degrees. (I set my oven to convection roast.)
  2. Line two rimmed sheet pans with parchment paper.
  3. Prepare the cauliflower: In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, cumin, paprika, salt, coriander, turmeric, black pepper and cayenne. Add cauliflower and onion, and toss until well coated.
  4. Divide the mixture and spread in a single layer on the prepared sheet pans.
  5. Roast vegetables until they are golden brown, slightly crisp and tender, 30 to 40 minutes, stirring once or twice, and rotating the pans halfway through the roasting time. If the vegetables look dry as they roast, drizzle with a little more olive oil. (I roasted the vegetables for 35 minutes on convection.)
  6. As the vegetables cook, prepare the tahini sauce: Whisk together lemon juice, Aleppo pepper or harissa, garlic and salt in a small bowl, and let sit for a minute or two to mellow the garlic.
  7. Whisk in tahini.
  8. Whisk in ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the sauce is smooth and thin enough to drizzle. You may not need all of the water or you may need to add a little more: Tahini brands vary a lot.
  9. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more Aleppo pepper or harissa, lemon juice and salt if you like. The sauce should taste zippy and creamy.
  10. Warm the flatbread by placing them directly on the bottom oven rack during the last 5 minutes as the vegetables roast. (Or you can warm the bread on another baking pan.)
  11. Scatter parsley on top of the roasted vegetables and serve with warm naan or pita, tahini sauce, chopped tomato, cucumber and olives, as desired.

Creamy Roasted Tomato-Garlic Soup

I usually need grilled cheese as a bribe for my family to enjoy tomato soup for dinner. My daughter loved this soup even more than the grilled cheese! 🙂

This recipe was adapted from Food 52.com, contributed by Carolina Gelen. I modified the method and proportions. It was a quick dinner packed with flavor. Perfect with our grilled cheese sandwiches and giant green salad.

We swirled pesto into the soup just before serving. Additional cream or crème fraîche could also be added.

Yield: Serves 4 to 5

  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1300 grams grape or cherry tomatoes (about 4 cups)
  • 2 yellow onions, roughly chopped
  • 2 heads of garlic, halved crosswise
  • 2 to 4 sprigs of basil
  • 2 large sprigs of thyme
  • 1 or 2 red chiles, optional (I omitted it)
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk or heavy cream (I used one 13.5 oz can of coconut milk), plus more for serving, as desired
  • 1 cup vegetable or chicken stock, plus more as needed
  • homemade or store-bought pesto, for serving, optional
  • grilled cheese sandwiches or fresh bread, for serving, optional
  1. Heat the oven to 450°F (230°C). (I set my oven to convection roast.)
  2. Drizzle some oil into a deep baking dish. (I used a large enameled cast iron baking dish.)
  3. Add in the tomatoes, onion, basil and thyme, and chile (if using). Drizzle more olive oil on top, plus a big sprinkle of salt and pepper. Mix to coat. Add the garlic cloves, cut side down, nestled into the other ingredients.
  4. Roast for 25 to 40 minutes, until the tomatoes are slightly charred. (I roasted mine for 38 minutes.)
  5. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 to 7 minutes. Remove and discard the thyme. Remove garlic cloves from the papery skin.
  6. Add the rest of the ingredients to a blender, along with the coconut milk and stock. (I used a Vitamix on the hot soup setting.) Remove the little plug from the blender lid, then cover the lid with a kitchen towel and blend until smooth.
  7. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper if needed. Adjust consistency with additional stock, as needed.
  8. Serve drizzled with pesto and/or cream with a grilled cheese sandwich and green salad, as desired.

Roasted Rutabaga & Pears with Browned Butter, Honey & Rosemary

I considered making this side dish as part of our Thanksgiving feast but was unsure if the bag of root vegetables I received in my CSA share contained rutabagas or turnips! I didn’t want to take the risk. 😉

The interior of a rutabaga is a creamy yellowish-orange versus a turnip which is very white inside. Rutabagas are also much more mild and sweet in flavor compared to a turnip which can be spicy like a radish.

This recipe was adapted from 177MilkStreet.com, contributed by Rose Hattabaugh. I modified the method and proportions. I loved the combination of the starchy caramelized roasted rutabagas with the sweet pears and browned butter. Very nice.

Yield: Serves 8

  • 6 T salted butter, divided
  • 1 1/2 T minced fresh rosemary, divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 1/4 pounds rutabaga, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 ripe but firm Bosc pears (about 1 pound), unpeeled, quartered, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 T honey
  • 2 tsp sherry vinegar OR cider vinegar OR white wine vinegar
  1. Heat the oven to 450°F with a rack in the middle position. (I set my oven to convection roast.) Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium, melt the butter; remove from the heat and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together 1 tablespoon of rosemary, 3/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper and 3 tablespoons of melted butter.
  4. Add the rutabaga and toss to coat, then distribute in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet; reserve the bowl.
  5. Roast the rutabaga for 15 minutes on convection or up to 20 minutes in a standard oven.
  6. Meanwhile, in the same bowl, toss the pears with 1 tablespoon of the remaining melted butter; set aside.
  7. Set the pan with the remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter over medium and cook the butter, occasionally swirling the pan, until the milk solids at the bottom are golden brown and the butter has a nutty aroma, about 1 minute.
  8. Off heat, whisk in the remaining 1/2 tablespoon chopped rosemary, the honey, vinegar and generous 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper; transfer to a heat proof bowl, cover and set aside.
  9. When the rutabaga has roasted for 20 minutes, add the pears to the baking sheet and toss to combine with the rutabaga. Roast until a skewer inserted into the rutabaga and pears meets no resistance and the rutabaga is well browned, 10 to 12 minutes; stir once about halfway through.
  10. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, immediately drizzle the rutabaga and pears with the browned butter mixture and toss to coat.
  11. Taste and season with salt and pepper, then transfer to a serving dish. (I sprinkled fine sea salt over the top of the dish.)

Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Maple-Gochujang Brown Butter

I need to have guests present to serve Brussels sprouts in my house because there are not many fans in my immediate family. They are always part of my Thanksgiving meal! I served them with roasted rainbow carrots and roasted cauliflower and chickpeas with mustard viniagrette.

This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Peter Som. I modified the method and proportions. The sauce was amazing!

The original recipe notes that if you can’t find gochujang, Sriracha can be substituted, to taste.

Yield: 4 to 6 Servings

  • 1 1/2 lbs Brussels sprouts (from 1 stalk), trimmed, halved if large
  • 1 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (optional) (I omitted them)
  • 3 T unsalted butter
  • 2 T gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste)
  • 1 T pure maple syrup
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced, divided
  • zest of half a lemon
  • Flaky sea salt
  1. Set a rimmed baking sheet in the center of the oven; preheat oven to 500°. I set my oven to convection roast.
  2. Toss brussels sprouts with oil in a large bowl to coat; season with kosher salt and pepper. Carefully (baking sheet will be hot!) spread out in a single layer; reserve bowl.
  3. Roast until brussels sprouts are charred in spots and tender, 12 minutes in a convection oven or up to 16–18 minutes in a standard oven.
  4. Meanwhile, if using walnuts, toast in a dry medium skillet over medium heat, tossing often, until fragrant and slightly darkened, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and let cool.
  5. Cook butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, swirling occasionally, until milk solids are a deep amber color and butter smells very nutty, 5–8 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in gochujang and maple syrup. Season with kosher salt and pepper.
  6. Combine Brussels sprouts, half of walnuts (if using), and half of scallions in reserved bowl; add brown butter mixture and toss to coat.
  7. Transfer to a platter or serving bowl and scatter (remaining walnuts) and scallions over the top.
  8. Finely grate lemon zest on top; sprinkle with sea salt. (I used Fleur de Sel.)

Eggplant & Tahini Dip (Mutabal)

This roasted eggplant dip is similar to baba ghanoush. In Jordan it is called mutabal, mutabbal or moutabbal. It was silky, creamy, and delicious.

This recipe was adapted from Milk Street Magazine, contributed by Courtney Hill. I modified the method and proportions and omitted the pomegranate seeds. We ate it with warm naan.

According to Milk Street, restaurants in Jordan often top the dip with a simple tomato-cucumber salad. We ate it without the additional topping but may try that next time. 🙂

Yield: Serves 4

For the Mutabal:

  • 1 large eggplant (about 1 to 1 1/4 pounds)
  • 1 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 1/2 T tahini
  • 2 T boiling water
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, finely grated, or pushed though a garlic press
  • 3/4 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • about 2 T fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped, plus more for garnish
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 T pomegranate seeds, optional
  • 1/2 T pomegranate molasses
  • warm flatbread, such as naan, for serving
  1. Heat the oven to 475°F with a rack in the middle position. (I set my oven to convection roast.)
  2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
  3. Cut the eggplant in half and pierce the skin several times with the tip of a knife.
  4. Coat each half all over with 1/2 tablespoon of the oil.
  5. Set the eggplant cut side down on the prepared baking sheet and roast until collapsed, wrinkled and blistered all over, 20 to 30 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and cool on the baking sheet for about 20 minutes.
  7. With the eggplant still on the baking sheet, trim off and discard the stem.
  8. Using a spoon, scoop the flesh from the skin onto a cutting board; discard the skins.
  9. Finely chop the eggplant but don’t break it down to a puree; it should retain some texture.
  10. In a medium bowl, stir together the tahini and boiling water.
  11. Add the roasted and chopped eggplant, garlic and lemon juice; stir until well combined. Mix in the parsley. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  12. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with pomegranate seeds, if using, pomegranate molasses, and garnish with parsley.
  13. Serve with warm flatbread. Top with tomato-cucumber salad, if desired. (recipe below)

For the Optional Tomato-Cucumber Salad:

Yield: about 3/4 cup

  • 1/2 medium ripe tomato, cored and chopped
  • 1/2 Persian cucumber, chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeño chili, stemmed, seeded and minced
  • 1/2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  1. Combine ingredients while eggplant is roasting.

Citrus Roasted Broccoli & Cauliflower with Queso Cotija Dressing

As soon as I saw Mexican chef Pati Jinich prepare this dish on her PBS show, I had to make it. 🙂 I bought beautiful purple cauliflower and purple broccoli at the farm stand to make it extra special. We ate it with Mexican-Style Chipotle-Lime Pork Cutlets.

The salty, cheesy sauce was absolutely incredible. I loved how the vegetables were sliced into steaks instead of florets as well. I trimmed the tough outer portion of each stem but would remove even more next time to make that portion more tender.

This recipe was adapted from Pati’s Mexican Table and patijinich.com, via kcet.org. It was on an episode featuring dishes inspired by Isla Mujeres. I substituted creme fraiche for the Mexican crema. I also modified the method and proportions. Amazing!

Yield: Serves 6

For the Vegetables:

  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (I used 2 limes)
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (I used 1 large naval orange)
  • 3 chopped chiles de arbol or 1/2 to 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for brushing/drizzling
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds broccoli, cut into 1/4″ vertical slices, including thick part of stem (I used 2 large heads)
  • 2 pounds cauliflower, cut into 1/4″ vertical slices, including thick part of stem (I used 1 large head)

For the Queso Cojita Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup crumbled queso cotija
  • 2/3 cup Mexican crema or creme fraîche
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used Canola oil)
  • 2 tsp sherry vinegar
  • 2 T water
  • 2 medium garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste

To Prepare the Vegetables:

  1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees F. ( I set my oven to convection roast.)
  2. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. In a glass measuring cup with a spout, mix the lime juice, orange juice, olive oil, red pepper flakes (or chile de arbol), 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.
  4. Place the cauliflower and broccoli steaks on the prepared baking sheets in a single layer, making sure that they are not crowded.
  5. Evenly pour the orange juice mixture all over the vegetables.
  6. Place in the oven and roast for 25 to 30 minutes, flipping halfway through, until well roasted and considerably charred. Remove from the oven and set aside.

To Make the Dressing & To Serve:

  1. While the vegetables are roasting, combine the queso cotija, Mexican crema (or creme fraîche), vegetable oil, sherry vinegar, water, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in the jar of a blender or mixer. Puree until smooth. (I used a Vitamix.)
  2. Serve the broccoli and cauliflower on a large platter and ladle the queso cotija right on top, or let your guests spoon sauce onto their plates and dip their vegetables in the sauce to their liking. (I served the sauce in a bowl on the side.)

French-Style Roasted Strawberry-Vanilla Ice Cream

This is the most amazing strawberry ice cream I’ve ever experienced. The original recipe states that “the key to French-style ice cream is making a base so good you could eat it without freezing it.” The base was incredibly creamy and rich. The roasted strawberries had concentrated flavor and a perfectly tender texture. Wow.

This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Fany Gerson. I loved that the vanilla bean steeped in the cream for an hour before being removed. My finished ice cream had a bit of a custard swirl because I didn’t fully mix the roasted berries into the custard before churning- still delicious but I would correct this next time.

To celebrate my birthday, my daughter made pizzelle bowls for serving the ice cream. It was a very special celebratory dessert and perfect way to use our freshly picked strawberries this season.

Yield: Serves 8

For the Roasted Strawberries:

  • 1 pound fresh strawberries, stemmed and halved if small or quartered if large (about 3 1/2 cups) 
  • 2 T granulated sugar  
  • 2 T light corn syrup or golden syrup 
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt 

For the Vanilla Ice Cream Base:

  • 2 cups heavy cream 
  • 1 cup whole milk 
  • 1 vanilla bean pod 
  • 6 large egg yolks 
  • 5 T (1/3 cup) granulated sugar  
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt 

To Make the Roasted Strawberries:

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F, preferably on convection roast.
  2. Toss together strawberries, sugar, corn syrup, and salt in a 13×9-inch baking dish. (I used a glass pyrex baking dish.)
  3. Roast in preheated oven, stirring occasionally, until strawberries are soft and darker in color and juice is thickened, 30 to 40 minutes. 
  4. Using a potato masher, lightly crush strawberries in baking dish, making sure you have a chunky mixture.
  5. Let cool completely, about 1 hour. Transfer to a resealable container, and refrigerate until ready to churn or up to 2 days.

To Make the Vanilla Ice Cream Base & To Finish:

  1. Stir together cream and milk in a medium saucepan.
  2. Split vanilla bean pod lengthwise; scrape seeds. Add scraped seeds and vanilla pod halves to mixture in saucepan. Cook over medium-low, undisturbed, until mixture just comes to a simmer.
  3. Remove from heat. Cover and let steep 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  4. Return steeped cream mixture to heat over medium-low; cook, undisturbed, until mixture just comes to a simmer.
  5. Meanwhile, whisk together egg yolks, sugar, and salt in a medium-size heatproof bowl.
  6. Gradually whisk warm cream mixture into yolk mixture in bowl. (It’s important to slowly add the hot cream mixture to the egg mixture, whisking constantly and never bringing to a boil, to ensure the eggs don’t scramble.)
  7. Transfer cream-yolk mixture to saucepan. Cook over medium-low, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon, 6 to 10 minutes, making sure it doesn’t bubble. (I cooked mine for 7 minutes.)
  8. Remove from heat. Pour through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a medium-size heatproof bowl; discard solids.
  9. Place bowl in a large bowl filled with ice water. Let stand, stirring often, until mixture reaches room temperature, about 8 minutes. (I kept mine in the ice bath until the ice melted.) Remove.
  10. Cover bowl with plastic wrap or transfer base to a sealable container; seal and refrigerate until cold, at least 6 hours or up to 12 hours.
  11. Stir together strawberry mixture and ice cream base in a bowl.
  12. Pour mixture into frozen freezer bowl of an ice cream maker; proceed according to manufacturer’s instructions. (I churned mine for 25 minutes.)
  13. Transfer to a shallow container, such as a glass loaf pan, cover, and freeze until firm, at least 2 hours. (I press a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the ice cream and then top the container with an additional sheet of plastic wrap.)
  14. Store in an airtight container in freezer up to 3 weeks.

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