Oh cauliflower... you get a bad rap. This recipe for air fried cauliflower with tahini and lemon sauce should certainly turn you into a cauliflower lover.
Cauliflower is part of the Brassica family (which also includes cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts and broccoli). All these crops were bred for specific traits, from the Brassica oleracea, or wild cabbage. This one plant was selectively bred over hundreds of years to create dozens of different vegetables. By selecting and breeding plants with bigger leaves, or larger buds, or thicker stems, the various cultivars were created.
Brassicas are staple vegetables and constitute an important food source for many cultures around the world. Saurkraut, Kimchi, coleslaw, cabbage rolls, pickles and ferments.... the possibilities are endless.
Makali, which translates to "deep fried things" is a traditional mezze throughout the Middle East. I grew up with deep fried cauliflower, eggplant and squash garnished with parsley and lemon juice. My mother transitioned to broiling rather than deep-frying for health reasons, but the taste wasn't quite the same. There had to be another way! Well, air fryers are so ubiquitous now that it just made sense to see what the fuss was all about and here we have it. This recipe tastes like deep fried without the guilt.
If you don't have an air fryer, don't fret. This recipe is adaptable and you can use a conventional oven. You can even use a deep fat fryer for those special occasions! However, if you have an air fryer, use it!
Cauliflower with Tahini and Lemon Sauce
- Air Fryer (Optional)
- 1 Cauliflower, whole - Organic preferred
- 2 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Salt/Pepper to taste
For the sauce
- 2 tablespoon Tahini
- 2 tablespoon Lemon Juice
- 1 tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Salt/Pepper to taste
- 2-4 tablespoon water
- Fresh herbs (Dill, parsley, chives)
- Aleppo pepper flakes - Sub: Chili flakes
- Prep cauliflower by removing leaves and breaking into large florets. Toss cauliflower in extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Arrange on a baking sheet and air fry (using an air fryer) on 350F for 15-20 minutes (or until tender and browned). Note: You can also roast in a standard oven at 450F (recommended: use convection setting). Keep an eye on your cauliflower. Every oven is different you may need to make adjustments to temperature/time.
- While cauliflower is air frying, prepare the tahini sauce. Whisk tahini, lemon juice, vinegar and extra virgin olive oil together. It will form a thick paste. Don't worry. Whisk in a few table spoons of cold water to help you get a smooth consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Plate. Add a few dollops of sauce to your serving plate and arrange your cooked cauliflower. Drizzle more sauce and garnish as you like.