spice roasted cauliflower with black quinoa, feta and almond recipe

In light of current events in London… it now seems quite fitting that today’s recipe was inspired by a true English geezer, the one and only Jamie Oliver. As we don’t own a t.v, the little bits and pieces I’ve glimpsed at via the net today are pretty damn crazy and incredibly sad. I mean, how anyone thinks that by doing what they are doing, they will change anything beats me? Madness.
I’ve had Jamie’s recipe for roasted cauliflower bookmarked for quite some time now. Cauliflower is one of those vegetables that I always seem to buy with good intent, only to let it soften and wilt in the bottom of the vege draw until almost in-edible. I'm trying hard to get out of this habit and on the odd occasion when I do use it up quickly, I like to make a simple cauliflower curry, or a variation of this salad. Using raw cauliflower in place of the cabbage. Just like my Dad does.

The only cauliflower recipes I remember liking as a kid (I was not such a fan of the usual New Zealand classic, boiled cauliflower drowned in cheese sauce), was that raw cauliflower salad of Dads and a great pakora-style dish mum used to make where she’d coat large pieces of cauliflower in a cumin flecked batter before deep-frying in oil, draining well and sprinkling with salt. I’m licking my lips just thinking about them now!
Being in the peak of Brassica season cauliflowers are ridiculously cheap, mine was bought for 99 cents! Served on top of cooked black quinoa that I dosed liberally with freshly squeezed lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, made it into an actual meal, as opposed to just as a side. A small scattering of crumbled feta and fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves and we had the perfect light, yet comforting dinner.

Just before I go, thank you Be Green for featuring an interview about my blog, work and garden on your site! Click here to check it out...

The roasted cauliflower was adapted from Cook with Jamie, by Jamie Oliver.

spice roasted cauliflower with black quinoa, feta and almond
Of course, any quinoa will do. I just happened to have black, so used that. If you are strictly dairy-free by all means omit the feta. You may want to bump up the seasoning a little more though as the feta adds a lovely saltiness, as well as natural creaminess. 
serves 4-6

  • 1 medium head of cauliflower
  • sea salt
  • olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
  • 1/2 cup (60g) raw almonds, roughly chopped
  • zest + juice of 1 lemon

to serve

  • cooked black quinoa* dressed with plenty of freshly squeezed lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • crumbled feta cheese
  • fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves

Preheat oven to 200 C/400F. Break the cauliflower into small florets and blanch in boiling salted water for 1-2 minutes, drain well in a colander and allow to steam dry for a few minutes (otherwise they wont crisp up in the oven).

Crush the spices, chilli flakes and a pinch of sea salt in a mortar and pestle. If you have an oven-proof pan, use this, otherwise heat a large frying pan over medium heat and add the crushed spices and chopped almonds. Dry toast these for a few minutes until aromatic. Add a few tablespoons of olive oil and the drained cauliflower. Let it cook for a few minutes, stirring a few times until the edges start to get a little golden, add the zest and juice, mix thoroughly. If you are using an oven-proof pan pop it into the oven, otherwise transfer to an oven tray and bake for 15 minutes to crisp up. Remove from the oven and serve on top of dressed black quinoa, scatter with crumbled feta and coriander (cilantro) leaves.

* To cook quinoa: put 1 cup of water on to boil, rinse 1/2 cup quinoa well (to remove the saponin, a bitter protective coating) and drain. The easiest way to do this is to put the raw grain into a fine mesh sieve and rinse under running water, then set aside to drain while the waters coming up to the boil. When your waters boiling, add the rinsed quinoa, cover and turn down to a gentle simmer. Cook for 12-15 minutes until the grains become translucent and an unusual outer white ring shows. Remove from the heat and fluff up with a fork. 1/2 cup raw= 2 cups cooked quinoa.

This recipe has been linked to:
* Slightly indulgent Tuesdays @ Simply gluten & sugar-free

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  • Reply
    August 10, 2011 at 9:10 am

    Yum! I love cauliflower, I've saved your adapted version so one night I will attempt:) Thank you for sharing!

  • Reply
    August 10, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    wow- this looks delicious! interesting that you blanch the cauliflower before roasting it. i also love the combination of spices!

  • Reply
    August 10, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    Thanks 🙂 I tend to always blanch my vegetable before roasting as this keeps them nice and moist in the centre. But yes, with the cauliflower you have to make sure you drain it well, and allow it to steam dry for a few minutes to remove any excess water before roasting to avoid it steaming in the oven. Of course you can skip this stage if preferred, and simply roast them straight-up.

  • Reply
    Angry Asian
    August 10, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    roasted cauliflower is the only way i like this vegetable, i think. it gets nutty and somehow crunchy & tender at the same time. lovely.

  • Reply
    August 11, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    Hi Emma,
    It's been a long time since I visited your blog, for which I sincerely apologise. Love this cauliflower recipe, epsecially the inclusion of quinoa.
    PS I will be coming back more often.

  • Reply
    August 12, 2011 at 9:04 am

    Yum, I would love to try this, I don't use quinoa enough!
    Sad about London, I feel for the family and friends that are there, and for everyone really, quite scary!

  • Reply
    August 12, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    Thank you for the lovely cauliflower ideas. I wanted to buy one this week, but at $5 each – not going to happen!

  • Reply
    August 13, 2011 at 6:45 am

    I can't believe how expensive they are in NZ at the moment! Must be all that bad weather damaging them? I'm sure this dish would be equally as nice with roasted kumara or pumpkin in place of the cauliflower…

  • Reply
    August 14, 2011 at 3:50 am

    I am with you on the cauliflower…so often languishes at the bottom of the vege box 🙂 However, this salad makes me want to go out and buy some & use it straight away! Beautiful pics too. 🙂

  • Reply
    August 14, 2011 at 6:34 am

    I tried it with a $1.50 half cauliflower as a side dish. Really Yum. Thankyou. The kumara or pumpkin are good ideas. Guess it would work with a lot of veges.

  • Reply
    August 14, 2011 at 7:28 am

    Yay! So glad you liked it 🙂 Roasted pumpkin is one of my favorite things to eat with quinoa, especially with a little feta, so I might try that next too.

  • Reply
    August 14, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    What a great mixture! I always love the quinoa and feta together and the pumpkin with it…delish!

  • Reply
    August 19, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    Yum, I love your combination of spices and flavors here! We are getting cauliflower in our CSA box right now so this will be perfect to make.

  • Reply
    the good soup
    August 19, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    Roasted cauliflower is my absolute favourite thing, I'm so glad you're onto it, Emm. Pretty much my favourite roasted vegetable actually. I love it mixed into a warm lentil salad with roasted tomatoes, feta and loads of flat leaf parsley. And it's a great topping for cauliflower soup as well, particularly with all that yummy spice and some sea salt flakes. I never blanch them, probably because I love the blackened edges they get when I roast them hard and fast. YUM!

  • Reply
    August 20, 2011 at 8:04 am

    Ohh yum, love your suggestions Angela! I'll try mine un-blanched next time and see which I prefer 🙂

  • Reply
    The InTolerant Chef
    August 21, 2011 at 11:07 am

    This looks yummy. I've been wanting to try deep fried cauliflower, but just can't bring mysef too, this is a much better option. I like to cook my quinoa in the rice cooker, it so easy that way.

  • Reply
    August 21, 2011 at 11:20 am

    Aha where would us gluten-free's be without our rice cookers! 😉

  • Reply
    September 8, 2017 at 11:35 am

    I added some finely chopped red onion and jalapeños and had to omit the coriander only because I didn’t have any.
    It was great

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