A Nyonya in UK, Dinner, Lunch

Roasted Cauli – the Veggie in Me.

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Well, due to the excess vegetables from the ‘vegetable pagoda’ on  the East Midlands Inspirational Day, I had with me a head of cauliflower, some tomatoes, onions and some other vegetable. So I have to come up with some ideas to use them all as soon as possible. However, I had a lot of food left in the fridge. So I had to keep the vegetables fresh. The tomatoes will keep in the kitchen counter top, the onions go to the cupboard where it is dark. The cauliflower needs to be kept fresh so I trimmed off the base by slicing the brown bit off and then placed it on a small bowl of water and left it there for about 3 days. It was still fresh, not even a dark speck. I left the leaves on to protect the flower. (There… my Love Food Hate Waste persona taking over.)

I am not a vegetarian but now I try to eat less meat and more vegetables. I have been wanting to roast a head of cauliflower  as I came across the recipe in some cook book or magazine some time ago. I usually roast cauliflower by cutting it into florets and roasting it with potatoes, onions, egg plant and sweet potatoes. Usually, I sprinkle salt and pepper and add some other spices and seasonings like paprika, salt, black pepper, turmeric, fennel, etc. I normally serve this as a side to a roast.

In this recipe, the cauliflower is the Star of the Show. The whole head is roasted and then cut like a roast. So this is a vegetarian dish. The spices give it Middle Eastern twist.

I learned that not all vegetables contain “complete protein”. There are 20  different amino acids that can form a complete protein and 9 of them are not produced by our body. These are called essential amino acids. In order to be considered as a complete protein, it must contain all of these essential amino acids. Most dietitians believe that plant-based diets contain such a wide  variety of amino acids profiles that vegans are virtually guaranteed to get all of their amino acids with very little effort.

Meat and eggs are complete proteins. Nuts and beans are not. We do not need every essential amino acids in every bite of food in every meal. Rice and beans is the most simplest and cheapest sources of protein around the world. Most beans are low in methionine and high in lysine, while rice is low in lysine and high in methionine. So when paired together  the protein content is as good as that of meat. Substituting lentils or chickpeas for beans produces the same effects. So the recipe below is great for vegetarians especially vegans.

The protein in wheat is pretty much similar to the protein in rice. So you can have this dish with bread or roti.

Roast Cauliflower with Chickpea Salad


I          Large head cauliflower ( approx. 1 kg) – leaves removed and stalk trimmed

50g     Low calorie spread

1 tsp    Chilli flakes

1 tsp    Sumac

1 tsp    Coriander powder

1 tsp    Cumin powder

For the salad:

2  x      400g Chickpeas – drained

1           Red onion – finely chopped

200g   Tomatoes – seeded and chopped, or use cherry tomatoes and halved

50g      Pine nuts – toasted (or whatever nuts you have in your cupboard)

1           Pack mint – chopped

1           Pack flat leaf parsley – chopped

1           Pack fresh coriander leaves – chopped

Honey or pomegranate molasses for drizzling


100g    0% Greek yogurt

1/2       Lemon – juiced

100g    Feta cheese (optional)


  1. Heat oven to  200C gas Mk 6
  2. Put the trimmed cauliflower ( whole head) in a large pan and cover with boiling water. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove and drain.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the low calorie spread with the spices.
  4. Place the cauliflower and the chickpeas in a baking tray. Spread the spice mixture over the cauliflower and dot the rest over the chickpeas. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Roast for about 35 to 40 minutes until the cauliflower is golden and the chickpeas are crispy.
  6. Mean while, crumble the feta cheese and mix  with the yogurt together until smooth and creamy. Add the lemon juice and season to taste. Leave it in the fridge until needed.
  7. Remove the cauliflower and chickpeas from the oven. Place the cauliflower in the centre of a large serving platter.
  8. Mix the chickpeas with the rest of the salad vegetables, season and place it around the cauliflower.
  9. To serve, spoon over the dressing and drizzle with the honey or pomegranate molasses. Serve with rice or bread like pitta, chapatti or warm tortilla.



Whole roasted cauliflower with chickpeas salad.
Whole roasted cauliflower with chickpeas salad.


Sliced roasted cauliflower.r
Sliced roasted cauliflower.


A complete protein meal. - served with rice. Note I did not use feta cheese.
A complete protein meal. – served with rice. Note I did not use feta cheese.





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