With travel adventures a distant memory right now, I often find myself cooking food that reminds me of some of the wonderful places we’ve been. One of those special places was Vancouver, Canada. While on a much needed date night in the middle of a multi-leg family vacation, my husband and I stumbled on the most lovely, sexy bar at the Four Seasons Hotel in downtown Vancouver. As part of our “appetizers for dinner,” aka my favorite way to eat, we had the most delicious roasted cauliflower with jerk seasoning, dates and olives. After several years, I haven’t forgotten about that dish, and I’ve made several similar versions since that trip.
This spiced cauliflower dish is one of those versions and one of my favorite side dishes to serve with roasted chicken or salmon – I make it at least a few times a month and it’s a hit every time. Another way I like to enjoy this recipe is in a Mediterranean bowl that includes roasted chicken, homemade hummus, and sriracha.
This recipe calls for several seasonings that may not be in your spice cupboard or drawer, but are worth picking up. Berbere seasoning is a North African spice blend that is primarily made of cayenne red pepper, but also includes cardamom, cumin, cinnamon, and turmeric. Garam masala is an Indian spice blend with some similar spices as the Berbere but without the heat – I use this spice quite a bit in lentils and some curries. My favorite brand to buy these spice blends, and most of my spices for that matter, is Penzeys. We are lucky to have one in nearby Menlo Park, but their online store is also super.
I hope you love this dish as much as we do!
Spiced Cauliflower with Dates and Pine Nuts
This deeply flavorful side dish is perfect served with a roasted chicken as well as an excellent component of a Mediterranean grain bowl. The sweet dates are a delicious balance to the kick of the North African Berbere seasoning and the wonderful textures make this a household favorite.
- 1 large head cauliflower
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp Za'atar
- 1 tsp turmeric
- ½ tsp garam masala
- ¼ tsp Berbere seasoning
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 3 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
- 3 dates, pitted and diced
- 1 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped
- flake salt, such as Maldon optional
Preheat the oven to 450° Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cut the head of cauliflower into bite sized florets. Slicing through a large floret to make several smaller florets allows for a flat side of the cauliflower to caramelize nicely on the pan while roasting.
Place cauliflower, olive oil, za'atar, garam masala, berbere seasoning, turmeric and salt on the parchment lined sheet pan and toss together until well coated. Spread the cauliflower in one even layer, trying not to crowd the pan. You want it to roast and caramelize, not steam. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes, or until cauliflower edges are deeply golden and crispy. More color equals more flavor!
Once cooked, remove from the oven and add pine nuts, dates and parsley. Toss together, adding flake salt if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature.
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