Last week I read two recipes that caught my eye and I decided to experiment with them. One was the BBQ Aubergine with Jewelled Rice Salad from Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich of Honey and Co on the Financial Times – recipe here (paywall). The other was Cauliflower and Chickpea Salad from Nigella’s new book Simply Nigella. You can see the original recipe here, as it is no longer available on this feature piece from the Guardian. Nigella’s book is stunning by the way, I would highly recommend it.
I am trying to increase my veg intake and this is the perfect way to do it. Cauliflower is one of the much hyped vegetables of the day but I have always liked it. It’s great in soup to add a creamy texture, delicious in curries where it soaks up all of the flavours of the sauce and I just love cauliflower in a mustard cheese sauce. I have yet to try cauliflower rice but kale chips disappointed me so much I have to wait before I jump on another fad!
I added rice to Nigella’s salad purely to bulk it up a bit but leave it out if you want a lighter dish. The tahini BBQ sauce is used as a creamy dressing here and it is absolutely delicious. It can also be used to dress veg and used on meat. This sauce will become a regular for me as it really packs a punch. With the harissa it means the salad has layers of warming spice without being too hot. Perfect.
It looks like a lot of ingredients and effort but it really is not. You can have it on the table in 30 minutes if you want to break up the cauliflower into smaller pieces. You can also make the cauliflower and chickpeas in advance and simply reheat or serve cold. It will keep in the fridge for a few days, just prep the rice and pomegranates when serving. I made this and ate it for two evening meals and one lunch in work. Three days in a row – that’s how much I liked it!
Serves 2 as main meal – more as a light lunch or side dish
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 head of cauliflower, leaves removed and broken into florets
- Salt and pepper
- 250g chickpeas, either home-cooked or the drained weight from a tin or jar
- 2 tsp harissa paste, or to taste
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 100g jasmine or basmati rice cooked as per packet instructions and allowed to cool
- 2 spring onions, chopped
- Juice of half a lime
- A bunch of flat leaf parsley
- Seeds of one pomegranate
For the tahini sauce
- 1 small clove of garlic, peeled
- 2 spring onions
- ¼ fresh green chilli
- 100g tahini paste
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp red wine or sherry vinegar
- 1tbsp pomegranate molasses or use honey or date molasses
- Start by roasting the cauliflower as this takes the longest time to cook. Preheat the oven to 220c/200c fan/gas mark 7.
- Mix the olive oil and cumin seeds together in a bowl and add the cauliflower florets. Mix everything well together and season with salt and pepper. Tip it into a large roasting dish and pop in the oven to roast, it will take about 30 minutes altogether.
- Next prep the chickpeas. In the bowl that you used to oil the cauliflower mix together the chickpeas, harissa and tomatoes. Season with a little more salt and pepper.
- When the cauliflower has been in the oven for 15 minutes add the chickpea mixture. I used a separate small roasting dish just to keep the colours clean but you can tip them in with the cauliflower if you want to save on washing up! Give the cauliflower a stir to make sure it isn’t sticking and roast for another 15 minutes.
- Make the tahini BBQ sauce. Put the garlic, spring onions and chilli into a food processor. Give it a whizz to make a paste from the ingredients. Then add the tahini, soy sauce, vinegar and molasses and blitz it until it all comes together to make a thick sauce. Taste to see if it needs balancing or any seasoning.
- Add the sauce to the cauliflower 5 minutes from the end of the cooking time and roast again.
- While the veg is finishing in the oven, mix the rice with the lime juice and spring onions. Top with the parsley leaves used like a salad leaf.
- Divide the cauliflower and chickpeas between the 2 plates. Top with the pomegranate seeds and serve immediately.