Roast Cauli with Meatballs & Tahini Sauce


Roast Cauli with Meatballs & Tahini Sauce-2

Roast Cauli with Meatballs & Tahini Sauce

I have one of my long time students, the lovely Samantha to thank for this brilliant one tray dinner. Samantha had planned to make my Turkish Cauli Pizza and couldn’t be bothered getting out her food processor (a feeling I know only to well!).

So she creatively roasted the cauliflower and served it with spiced beef and a lemon tahini sauce.

It sounded so good, and inspired this little number which takes the simplicity one step further by turning the beef into meatballs and baking them in with the cauli instead of getting another pan dirty to brown the meat.

Love when inspiration comes from my students! Thanks Samantha!

enough for: 2
takes: 30 minutes

1 medium head cauliflower
2 teaspoons ras el hanout, baharat or 1 teaspoon each coriander and smoked paprika
500g (1lb) minced (ground) beef or lamb
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons tahini
small bunch flat leaf parsley or salad leaves, to serve

1. Preheat your oven to 250C (480F). Chop cauli florettes into bite sized chunks and slice stems. Place on a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle over 3 tablespoons olive oil and lots of salt. Toss to coat the cauli in the oil. Pop the cauli in the oven and set your timer for 15 minutes.

2. While the cauli is cooking, season meat with a little salt and roll into mini meatballs (or larger ones) about 1.5cm (1/2in) diameter.

3. When the timer goes, stir cauli. Scatter meatballs over the top and return the tray to the oven, setting the timer for 10 minutes.

4. While you wait make the sauce by combining lemon, tahini and 3 tablespoons water in a small bowl. Season with a pinch of salt and mix until smooth.

5. When the timer is up, stir and check on everything. If the cauliflower is browned and the meatballs cooked through you can remove but if not, pop back in for another 5 minutes.

6. When the cauli and meatballs are done, divide between two warm plates. Drizzle over lemon tahini sauce and finish with a scattering of parsley / salad leaves.

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WINE MATCH: A spicy red like Argentinian Malbec or Spanish Tempranillo.

Variations & Substitutions

5-ingredients / über simple – skip the parsley or the spice.

vegetarian – replace meatballs with cooked chickpeas, lentils, brown rice, barley or quinoa – just toss the cooked grains / legumes with the roast spiced cauli in the last 5 minutes of cooking. Pan fried halloumi or fried eggs are also great with spiced cauli and the tangy creamy sauce.

more substantial (carb lovers) – serve with warm pita, quinoa or brown rice. Tortillas will work too.

more substantial (low carb) – serve with roast hazelnuts, almonds or walnuts. Also good with pine nuts. You could also increase the tahini sauce.

more veg / different veg – slice an onion and add to the cauli at the beginning. Broccoli, diced eggplant, halved cherry tomatoes, sliced red capsicum (bell peppers) or zucchini will all work and take about the same amount of time as the cauliflower. Fab served on a bed of Winter greens or cooked kale.

no tahini – tahini is a paste made from sesame seeds. Substitute in cashew butter, almond butter or sunflower butter. Or season Greek yoghurt or coconut yoghurt with salt and pepper and use that as your sauce instead.

different spice – try curry powder or ground cumin + ground coriander.

Problem Solving Guide

bland – more salt! A splash of hot sauce or extra squeeze of lemon will help.

too dry – overcooked meatballs. Next time get them out earlier or use fattier meat. For now a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil will help.

no oven – cook cauli and meatballs separately in a frying pan on a medium high heat until well browned.

Waste Avoidance Strategy

cauli (whole) – will keep in a plastic bag in the fridge for weeks. To keep for longer, chop into florettes and pop in the freezer. If you have time, grating the cauli before freezing will make life easier so you can just defrost and serve.

ras el hangout / baharat / coriander / smoked paprika – keep them in the pantry.

minced (ground) beef or lamb – keep them in the pantry.

lemon – whole lemon will keep wrapped in a plastic bag in the fridge for months.

tahini – I keep mine in the pantry but will keep longer in the fridge if open.

parsley – will keep in the fridge wrapped in a plastic bag for a few weeks. Can be frozen or make a parsley oil by packing the leaves into a clean jar and covering with extra virgin olive oil.

salad leaves – are highly perishable. My first path would be to use them for another meal (salad for breakfast!) but if that isn’t possible you can pop them in the freezer. They will wilt down but can then be used anywhere you’d use wilted greens. At least this way they won’t go slimy.

Prepare Ahead

Yes! Just roast cauli and meatballs as per the recipe but keep the sauce and parsley / salad separately. Will keep in the fridge for 2 weeks or can be frozen. To serve, warm cauli and meatballs in a large frying pan. Top with sauce and greenery.

Roast Cauli with Meatballs & Tahini Sauce

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

jules May 30, 2020

Had these this week as part of my Sunday Kitchen Sessions testing.

So made the meatballs and roast cauli in advance.

So fun to just warm everything up and dinner was ready in no time.

Used almond hummus instead of the tahini sauce. Excellent!


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