Today we're making what a glorious, summery and vegan alternative to a heavy Sunday roast. This whole roasted cauliflower is lighter than the average Sunday lunch and ready in half the time. We'll have dinner served in 45 minutes flat. In to that? Good stick around and let's do it!
Table of contents
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
There are no fancy ingredients involved in today's recipe - but maybe you'll be introduced to harissa for the first time. If you've never heard of, or had, harissa before then firstly, you're welcome and secondly, where have you been? I love this dish, and also these are probably my best pictures of a dish so far?! So let's celebrate that! Ready to dive in? Let's do it!
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How To Roast a Cauliflower
To achieve a super tasty dish, we need to cover the cauliflower head in a quick and easy paste. We’re using harissa for that job today.
So what’s harissa I hear you cry! Well - it’s a spice paste that originates from Tunisia. It’s made up predominantly of chillis, garlic, caraway, coriander and cumin seeds! Store-bought harissa is normally relatively mild and is perfect for the job we need it for today. If you’re interested in making your own harissa, then this recipe from The Minimalist Baker is awesome.
Carefully cut the base from the cauliflower, so that it can sit flat on a baking tray. You don't need the leaves for this recipe, although you can keep them if you've got a cauliflower & broccoli cheese or cauliflower curry planned, they're perfectly edible and delicious. Pop the cauliflower on a baking a tray whilst you get on with the spice rub.
To a small bowl add a tablespoon each of harissa paste & olive oil, half a tablespoon of onion powder and garlic powder and a teaspoon each of salt and black pepper. Stir the mixture well to combine and then brush or rub all over the cauliflower.
Pop your cauliflower in the oven at 200C for 45 minutes, and on you go!
Quick Tomato Sauce
This speedy as your like tomato sauce takes the place our gravy in this Sunday lunch alternative. It pairs wonderfully with the baked cauliflower head owing to the fact, you guessed it, we’re using more harissa.
Heat half a tablespoon of olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Next, peel and roughly chop two shallots and three cloves of garlic, add to the pan and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until softened. Then, stir in half a tablespoon of harissa and four finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes - cook for a minute or so before adding 300 grams of chopped tomatoes.
Make sure you season the sauce well with salt + pepper and then bring to a simmer for 5 minutes. Use a stick blender to blend the sauce to your desire chunkiness, and keep warm over low heat until you’re ready to serve.
Flavour Packed Lentils
There is so much flavour in this lentil + veggie mix - big, fresh flavours!
We start by toasting up 25 grams of flaked almonds! It’s super simple. Grab a frying pan, and pop it over medium heat - once the pan is hot, add the flaked almonds, and stir and move and jiggle until the almonds are lightly golden, toasty and a gorgeous aroma has filled the kitchen. Tip the almonds into a bowl and set aside.
Your choice of broccoli is precisely that - your choice. I used 230 grams of purple sprouting broccoli for this incarnation of the recipe, but tender stem or just a standard head of broccoli would be swell.
To cook the broccoli, add a tablespoon of olive oil to the frying pan, over medium-high heat, adding the broccoli, and stir fry for 3 - 4 minutes, then carefully, VERY CAREFULLY, add a couple of tablespoons of water and cover with a lid. The oil will spit when you add the water, so once again, please be careful. As soon as the broccoli is tender, and the water has evaporated, remove it from the pan and set aside.
Finally, we get to the lentils - add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and add two finely sliced shallots, three finely chopped cloves of garlic and a finely sliced red chilli, cook for a couple of minutes and then add a 400-gram packet of cooked lentils.
We’re aiming to crisp up some of the lentils here - but you still need to stir frequently. If you find that the lentils are sticking to the bottom of the pan then add some water a tablespoon at a time.
Cook the lentils for 8 - 10 minutes, and then add 20 grams of finely chopped capers, juice of half a lemon and the almonds and broccoli we prepared earlier. Season the lentil mix liberally with salt and pepper.
Pile the lentil mixture onto a large serving plate, and drizzle over some extra virgin olive oil (optional, but tasty), and spoon on some of our tomato sauce. Remove the cauliflower from the oven and pop on top of the lentil mixture.
Bring the whole damn thing to the table and cut into quarters or thirds, depending on how many people and how hungry y'all are. I'd say this recipe comfortably serves three people for a light lunch, you could always get a bigger cauliflower though, right?
More Vegan Dinner Ideas
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Whole Roasted Cauliflower
- 1 medium cauliflower
- 1 tbsp harissa paste
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ tbsp garlic powder
- ½ tbsp onion powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
- ½ tbsp oil
- 2 shallots
- 3 garlic cloves
- 4 sundried tomatoes
- ½ tbsp harissa paste
- 300 g chopped tomatoes
- 25 g flaked almonds
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 230 g broccoli I used purple sprouting broccoli but any variety will work.
- 2 shallots
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 red chilli
- 400 g cooked lentils green or puy lentils are great
- 20 g capers finely chopped
- juice of half lemon
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celcius.
- Cut the base off the cauliflower removing the leaves. Place the cauliflower on a baking tray.
- Combine harissa, olive oil, onion and garlic powder, salt and pepper - brush over cauliflower. Bake for 45 minutes.
- In a small saucepan, over medium heat, add finely chopped shallot and garlic and cook for a couple of minutes until soft and fragrant. Stir in the harissa paste and sundried tomatoes and cook for another 90 seconds before adding the chopped tomatoes, stirring and reducing the heat to low. When the contents come to a simmer, blend to a smooth sauce using a stick blender. Leave the sauce on low heat until ready to serve.
- Toast flaked almonds in a dry frying pan over medium heat, until they are golden and fragrant. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat, add the broccoli and stir fry for 3 minutes. Carefully add 2 tbsp water, cover for 2 minutes. Remove the lid and stir the broccoli until all the water has evaporated and the broccoli is tender. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Add the garlic, shallot and chilli and cook for around 2 minutes until soft. Add the cooked lentils - and fry for 8 minutes. Add a couple of tablespoons of water if the lentils stick to the bottom of the pan. Stir in almonds, broccoli, capers and lemon juice.
- Plate lentils on the bottom of a large plate, place the roasted harissa cauliflower on top and serve with sauce over the top.