RECIPE: Tomato & Garlic Crusted Roast Cauliflower with Chickpeas

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Another recipe just showing off the true beauty of this wonderful vegetable!

Encrusted in a deeply delicious spice paste, with gorgeously sticky onions, tomatoes and chickpeas serving as an incredible sauce, this is a one pot wonder that makes a stunning centre piece to any meal but with exceptionally little effort!

You could add an extra chilli kick to the spice paste if you fancy, or omit the chickpeas and serve as a side dish alongside some beautiful roast chicken. Basically it’s hugely versatile, hugely tasty and totally transportable as a lunch the next day.

  • 1 large cauliflower with the outer leaves left on
  • 220g vine tomatoes
  • 3 red onions
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1 x 400g tin chickpeas
  • 2 spring onions
  • 1 heaped tablespoon sesame seeds

FOR THE SPICE PASTE

  • 4 large cloves of garlic
  • 1 heaped teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ a small bunch of fresh thyme
  • 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 heaped tablespoons tomato purée
  • freshly ground black pepper

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 190ºC.
  2. Peel and finely slice the red onions, adding to a large sauce or stock pan with the coconut oil. Cover with a lid and heat gently, leaving to soften for 5 minutes. (If you don’t have a big enough pan that is oven proof sauté in a frying pan then transfer to a suitable casserole dish with a lid). 
  3. Wash and chop the tomatoes, drain and rinse the chickpeas, then once the onions are ready turn the heat off and tip both in, season with salt and pepper, add 1/4 cup water, stir well and leave to one side.
  4. Peel the garlic cloves removing the tough stalk end. Crush slightly by placing them under the side of your knife and pressing down firmly with the heel of your hand (only if you’re using a big wide knife though, don’t press onto the blade of a small paring knife!) Add to a pestle and mortar with the paprika, cumin, thyme leaves (pull the sprigs through your fingers against their direction of growth and they’ll pick off easily) and olive oil. Pound well to a rough paste, then add the tomato purée smoothing it all together.
  5. Turn the cauliflower over so the stalk end faces up, carefully trim the leaves away, wash them well and leave to drain to one side.
  6. Remove the tough stalk leaving a flat base, then use your hands to cover the cauliflower in your spice paste rubbing it into all of the undulations before nestling it amongst your onion mixture. Cover with a snug lid and pop into the oven to roast for an hour.
  7. Arrange your cauliflower leaves on a parchment lined tray and pop into the oven for 10-12 minutes until the edges are golden and crisp.
  8. Take the lid off the pan, returning to the oven for a final 15 minutes to reduce the sauce.
  9. Finely slice the spring onions if using and once the cauliflower is ready you can either transfer it to a serving dish or serve from the pan scattered with the spring onions and sesame seeds with your gorgeously crisp leaves alongside.

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