Eating for Pleasure, Planet & People: Spiced Cauliflower with Tahini

Merguez spiced cauliflower from Eating for Pleasure, Planet & People, Jenny Zarins

Published: 28 Apr 2020

Tom Hunt, ‘Eel columnist and award-winning eco-chef’s new cookbook is out and to celebrate we are sharing one of the delicious recipes from ‘Eating for Pleasure, People & Planet’. 

Unlike many other cookbooks, Tom’s book is built on his ethos that as well as being delicious and healthy, what we cook should and can support a biodiverse food system and fight food waste.  

We also think it’s a brilliant companion to home cooking during a food crisisTom’s focus on seasonality means that he encourages chopping and changing recipes, using leftovers and inventing your own dishes with what’s available. Sounds perfect for lockdown! 

Here we feature a recipe from the book, a masterclass in creating a centerpiece out of a head of cauliflower. And if you like it we encourage you to buy it and support Tom’s fantastic work to change our eating habits for the better.   


Merguez spiced cauliflower with tahini and molasses 


Serves 4–6 

This is an elaborate way to serve a majestic cauliflower. The whole plant – including the leaves, heart and flower – is roasted whole and intact, seasoned with an aromatic Moroccan-style spice mix, then dressed with a satisfying layer of unctuous tahini sauce and sweet molasses. Choose a cauliflower with plenty of leaves, as they become crispy, umami-rich and flavoursome when roasted in the oven. Serve this dish with a range of fresh salads. 


1 head of cauliflower, with leaves glug of extra virgin olive oil  

1 tsp ground cumin  

1 tsp ground coriander  

½ tsp ground caraway, optional 

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper  

½ tsp cayenne pepper, optional  

2 tsp sea salt 

peel of ½ unwaxed lemon, finely sliced 

drizzle of blackstrap or date molasses 

2 tsp black and/or white sesame seeds, toasted in a dry frying pan  


For the tahini sauce

60g dark tahini  

¼ unwaxed lemon, zest and juice  

½ small garlic clove, peeled  

¼ tsp sea salt 


Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas Mark 4. Place the cauliflower on a large piece of unbleached parchment 

paper big enough to wrap around the whole cauliflower and drizzle the outside generously with olive oil. In a small bowl, mix together all of the spices with the salt and rub all over the cauliflower. Sprinkle with the lemon peel. Wrap up the cauliflower and place it on a baking tray in the oven for 1 hour, or until tender when pierced with a knife. Open out the paper and fold it back, then return to the oven at 190ºC/375ºF/Gas Mark 5 for a further 20 minutes, or until the outside begins to blacken slightly. 

To make the tahini sauce, place all of the ingredients in a blender with 4 tablespoons water and blend until smooth. Add a touch more water, if necessary, to achieve the consistency of double cream. 

Transfer the roasted cauliflower to a serving platter and drizzle first with the tahini sauce and then with the molasses, before finishing with a sprinkle of sesame seeds.