We are back from a month-long trip to England, where I had the pleasure of eating twice at Ottolenghi and once at Dishoom.  Both restaurants focus on Middle Eastern food, and both serve dishes absolutely packed with flavor. No matter what you order, it will feel like an explosion of flavors: hot, bright, lemony, spicy, with contrasting textures to make it all even more appealing. I came back home with the goals of being a bit less timid with how I season our food, and also of expanding my horizons as far as veggie side dishes are concerned. It’s not a secret that I have a weak spot for hummus and all things chickpeas. Hummus is great as a dip, but it is quite amazing when coupled with roasted veggies such as cauliflower. This recipe will prove it to you…

(from the Bewitching Kitchen, inspired by Simple)

for the salad component:
florets from 1 large cauliflower
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
olive oil to coat cauliflower
salt and pepper
⅓ cup walnuts, toasted
½ cup chopped green olives
parsley leaves to taste, chopped
juice and zest of on large lemon

for the hummus:
14oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons tahini
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil  to taste (less than 1/2 cup)
lemon juice to taste
water if needed to adjust consistency

Heat oven to 400°F.  Coat the cauliflower florets with olive oil, add all spices and mix well. Place in a single layer in a roasting pan and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through. Toast the walnuts on a dry, non-stick frying pan over medium heat until fragrant. Reserve.

Make the hummus by processing the chickpeas with the tahini, cumin and cayenne pepper. Season with salt and pepper, and with the processor running add the olive oil until it gets a creamy consistency. Add lemon juice, taste and adjust seasoning. If needed, add cold water to thin the hummus. Reserve.

Assemble the dish: in a large bowl, mix the roasted cauliflower florets with the walnuts, green olives, parsley and lemon juice.  Drizzle a bit of olive oil right before serving over hummus.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: This was absolutely scrumptious! You could conceivably omit the hummus, but it adds a lot to the dish. It would stand as a full vegetarian meal if coupled with items such as farro, couscous, or bulgur wheat. We enjoyed it with boneless chicken thighs marinated in yogurt & smoked paprika, with a bit of plain rice. It was our first dinner after coming back home, jet-lagged, tired, but looking forward to sleeping in our own bed, with three very happy pups nearby. I missed them so much…

Dinner is served!

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SIX YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen – September 2013

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  1. Simply flavor-packed side dish, I’ve used roasted garlic hummus spread over flatbread pizza with similarly roasted cauliflower and olives, topped with arugula, a lemony tahini drizzle and Za’atar! The possibilities are endless! And I have always felt that the Ottolenghi books are responsible for opening my tastebuds for well seasoned middle eastern food!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh Sally – now I am absolutely peagreen with envy !!! Which Dishoom – Covent Garden or Kensington or . . . 🙂 ? Please, please do a post about the two restaurants !!! Rave kind’of over, glad to see you back and hope for more news ! What a fascinating summer this has been for you . . . ! Meanwhile a wonderful recipe I’ll copy soonest . . . and that as a full meal . . . and love the idea of bringing smoked paprika into the rest of the field . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    • Went to the one in Soho. They don’t take reservations for less than 6 people, so I arrived early and had a very nice table.

      Had one of the signature dishes of the restaurant, a lamb stew melt in your mouth tender and a few other goodies.

      Ottolenghi was also nice, particularly a goat cheese tomato tart that was my main dish at lunch… with some amazing pea side dish and their mandatory eggplant tahini salad….


      • Thanks ! Uhuh ! Read up about the lamb stew before . . . don’t mean to put Ottolenghi ‘second’ – I just learnt about Dishoom way after . . .; I find it fascinating that the Great Britain the cooking of which was so disparaged when I was just beginning my adult life should now be so much in the exciting forefront of current culinary enterprise . . . I used to go to London for the opera and theatre and galleries . . . now it would so largely be to eat . . .. . .


        • Museums are amazing and most are free. Top of my list was a guided tour of Shakespeare Globe. Unforgettable. Period. It was my fourth time in UK, but being there for over a month allowed me to experience it better.


          • YES! As to the Globe . . . . still read Shakespeare to relax . . . *smile* you take me way back when I was filmed by the NSW Education Dept. doing Portia in ‘The Merchant’ . . . thanks for the memory, as the song says . . ., best . . .

            Liked by 1 person

  3. Welcome back! The pups must be delighted. I love Ottolenghi and am very jealous of you going to the restaurant. Have a cauliflower in the fridge and the ingredients for hummus so this recipe will be made very soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You are so right about roasting cauliflower. And gilding it with hummus will be sensational. We have it once a week as a side — cut into slabs and roasted with just s&p and olive oil, roasted after tossing in oil flavored with toasted fennel, toasted cumin, turmeric and red pepper flakes. This will definitely make the rotation. Away from the dogs for a month must have been a real killer. Pretty sure I couldn’t do it — 10 to 12 days is my max.

    Liked by 1 person

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