Baharat Whole Roasted Cauliflower w/ Garlic Yogurt & Walnuts
I just love how cauliflower looks like a brain, and I find it so fascinating how nature tends to repeat cool patterns. Besides brains, I also see neurons (ie. nerve cells) in the veins and stems of kale, collard greens and Swiss chard. But maybe it’s just me!
Cauliflower’s nutritional profile boasts a lot of brainy benefits. But, if you’re like me, fresh or steamed plain cauliflower just doesn't cut it flavour-wise. So we decided to spice it up and dress it up, quite literally. We made a really simple spice blend paste loaded not only with mind-blowing flavour but also blood sugar balancing, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant ingredients like cinnamon, cumin, nutmeg, cardamom and rosemary. And we also made an ultra-easy garlic yogurt sauce to nourish the brain’s best friend, the gut. This sauce also contains healthy fats because it includes tahini, and more free radical fighting support from mint, dill and garlic. The spice blend can be made ahead and stored for 6 weeks (I have been adding it to salads, soups, and popcorn) and the yogurt sauce is a delicious, healthy alternative for ranch dip with a vegetable platter.
Keeping with the things-that-look-like-brains theme, we wanted to play with walnuts too, and made a little garnish to go on top of the cauliflower. This is an optional little add but packs an omega-3 fatty acid punch from the walnuts and gives a little nod to the gut-brain-immune axis, a growing passion of mine, with the fresh lemon juice and raw honey.
- 1 large head cauliflower
Baharat Spice Blend Paste:
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1.5 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp each, cinnamon, toasted ground coriander, cumin, nutmeg, clove
- 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
- 2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped finely
- 2 large cloves garlic, chopped
- 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Garlic & Tahini Greek Yogurt:
- 1/2 cup whole Greek yogurt or skyr
- 1 Tbsp tahini
- 1 lemon, juiced and zested
- 1 Tbsp mint, chopped
- 1 Tbsp dill, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- Salt, to taste
- 3 Tbsp toasted walnuts*, chopped
- 1 tsp raw honey
- Lemon, juiced
- Fresh mint leaves
- Place all the ingredients for the Baharat Spice Blend Paste in a small pot and bring to a low simmer. Allow spices to infuse with the oil for 5 minutes.
- Gather a baking sheet, or an oven-proof pan, and place a large piece of foil at the base. Coat the cauliflower with the Baharat Spice Blend Paste infused oil, making sure to coat within the florets. Wrap well and place in the oven.
- Roast for 30 minutes covered, followed by another 15 uncovered to allow a crust to form. If the cauliflower becomes too dark, cover again with the foil. Check and make sure the roast is fork tender all the way through the centre. Remove from the oven.
- Meanwhile, place the Greek yogurt in a small stainless-steel bowl and mix with tahini, dill, mint, garlic, and lemon. Season with salt to taste.
- Slice the cooked cauliflower in wedges** and top with yogurt, toasted walnuts, a drizzle of your favourite raw honey, fresh mint, and a squeeze of lemon juice.
* To toast walnuts, place them on a baking sheet and toast at 180 C (350 F) for 6 minutes, or until lightly golden.
**Allow the cauliflower to cool slightly before cutting into it.
The Baharat Spice Blend Paste can be made without the fresh ingredients and stored for up to 6 weeks in an airtight container.
For a dairy free option, you can substitute the Greek yogurt with a plant-based yogurt. If desired, you can use plain skyr instead of Greek yogurt.
- Rich in sulfurophane (which is richest in broccoli sprouts, actually), a compound that is shown to fight inflammation and, in mice so far, prevent inflammation-related depressive symptoms and dendrite (arms of brain cells) changes.
- Sesame seeds are a great antioxidant food, and in a rodent study may even have potential for the management of Huntington’s disease (a 100% genetic disease that is not thought to be able to be helped with nutrition).
- Sesame seeds may be a super secret memory superfood, as a mouse study starts to suggest.
- One of our brain food essentials, find out why in our blog about them!
- Chidambaram, S.B., Pandian, A., Sekar, S., Haridass, S., Vijayan, R., Thiyagarajan, L.K., Ravindran, J., Balaji Raghavendran, H.R., & Kamarul, T. (2016). Sesame indicum, a nutritional supplement, elicits antiamnesic effect via cholinergic pathway in scopolamine intoxicated mice. Environmental Toxicology, 31(12), 1955-1963.
- Kumar, P., Kalonia, H. & Kumar, A. (2009). Sesamol attenuate 3-nitropropionic acid-induced Huntington-like behavioral, biochemical, and cellular alterations in rats. Journal of Asian Natural Products Research.11(5), 439-450.
- Zhang, J.C., Yao, W., Dong, C., Yang, C., Ren, Q., Ma, M., Han, M., Ushida, Y., Suganuma, H. & Hashimoto, K. (2017). Prophylactic effects of sulforaphane on depression-like behavior and dendritic changes in mice after inflammation. The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. 39, 134-144.