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The whole-roasted cauliflower craze can be traced back a few years to when the Israeli chef Eyal Shani began roasting and serving heads of the vegetable at his upscale pita chain Miznon. The Internet is now filled with iterations of Shani’s dish, and we’re happy to add another to the pile.

Because whole-roasted cauliflower reminds us of a hunk of roasted meat, we took inspiration from shawarma and rubbed our cauliflower with a blend of tahini, lemon juice and baharat (an aromatic spice blend often used to flavor shawarma) then finish the oven-burnished vegetable with an drizzle of creamy tahini sauce.

Field Notes:


If you find a head of cauliflower with the leaves intact, leave them on! Not only do they add to the visual appeal, they taste delicious.


Many whole-roasted cauliflower recipes call for boiling the vegetable before roasting. Using a Dutch oven makes this step unnecessary, as covering the pot for the majority of cooking time steams the cauliflower from within.


If you don’t have a Dutch oven, you can cook the cauliflower in a Field skillet or other pan. In Step 3 of the recipe below, cover the cauliflower with foil, crimp the foil around the edges of the skillet, and cook until the cauliflower is tender throughout, then proceed with the recipe.


Save any leftover baharat for flavoring marinades or sauces, or rub it onto roasted meats or fish.


Whole-Roasted Cauliflower Shawarma

Yield: 4 to 6 servings


For the baharat spice blend (makes about ½ cup):

2 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon cardamom seeds
5 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick, broken into small pieces
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon turmeric

For the cauliflower:

3 tablespoons tahini
Juice and finely grated zest of ½ lemon
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon waterv 1 tablespoon baharat spice blend
1 teaspoon kosher salt
One head cauliflower, preferably with leaves
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

For the tahini sauce:

¼ cup stirred tahini
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 to 3 tablespoons cold water
Kosher salt



Make the baharat: In a cast iron skillet, toast the whole spices over medium heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a spice grinder or mortar and pestle and add the remaining spices. Let cool for a few minutes, then grind into a fine powder. The spice blend can be stored in an airtight container; use within a few weeks for optimal flavor.


Preheat the oven to 400°F. In a small bowl, whisk together the tahini, lemon juice and zest, olive oil, and water until smooth. Add the baharat and salt and whisk until combined.


Trim the stem of the cauliflower so it will stand upright. Use your hands to spread a thin, even coating of the tahini mixture all over the cauliflower. Set the cauliflower inside a No.8 Dutch oven. Cover the pot and roast for 45 minutes or until it’s tender throughout when pierced with a fork. Uncover the pot, increase the oven temperature to 450°F and continue roasting for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cauliflower is browned all over.


While the cauliflower is roasting, make the tahini sauce. In a small bowl, stir together the tahini and lemon juice until the tahini thickens. Add the water, a little at a time, until the sauce is thin enough to drizzle. Season to taste with salt. Transfer the cauliflower to a serving platter, drizzle with the tahini sauce, and serve. The cauliflower can be made a few hours ahead of time; rewarm in a 350°F oven.