Roasted Cauliflower with Ras el Hanout & Ghee

Roasted Cauliflower with Ras el Hanout, Ghee & Other Food Friends, Too!

It’s so satisfying to sit down with a plate of roasted vegetables that have been drizzled with good fat and flaky salt, pepper and Ras el Hanout.  Top with crispy, crunchy panko (oh my gosh!) and it’s pure heaven.

What is Ras el Hanout?  A Moroccan spice blend that is so “in” these days.  We’ve got it in the store in our bulk spice bins.  Ras el Hanout has ingredients like cinnamon, cumin, coriander, allspice, black pepper, and ginger – sometimes up to 50 different spices in the mix.  Not too spicy, it makes your taste buds grin….

The photo above shows what I did for dinner on one winter evening.  You can, of course, simplify and just do roasted cauliflower and purple yams.   But I love variety, and I love different textures and taste sensations.  I am completely happy when I add the tofu, chickpeas, and pesto.

This takes more than 5 minutes to make, for sure, but it’s a delectable, company-worthy dish.  And leftovers make great lunches or another dinner yum-yum good.  I guarantee you’ll sigh with contentment. 

In the photo, you can see that I roasted some broccoli along with the cauliflower this night.  Feel free!

Ghee, which is clarified butter (butter fat without the lactose), tastes wonderfully buttery, is what I used here.   Extra virgin olive oil is also delicious.  Using olive oil means you save a step:  you don’t have to melt the ghee or wash another pot!

Serves 4 (of course use organic vegetables, organic ingredients – you’re worth it, habibi!)

To Make the Roast Veggies

1 large head cauliflower ½ C panko crumbs (whole grain or gluten-free)
1-2 large purple yams  2 Tbsp more ghee or EVOO
4 Tbsp ghee (make sure grass-fed)  1 pound firm tofu (always organic)
1 Tbsp Ras el Hanout powder ½ C chopped walnuts
some good salt (we only carry good salts) some black pepper

Use Store-Bought Pesto, or Make Your Own

4 C mixed herbs (I use ½ basil & ½ parsley) 1 C extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
2 C hemp seeds 2-4 cloves garlic
1 tsp good salt pinch cayenne, optional

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Cut cauliflower into bite-sized pieces (I don’t wash my organic cauliflower but if you do wash yours, dry it thoroughly).  Put onto a rimmed baking sheet (my faves are my speckled, enamel-coated steel paella pans, which I purchased at the West Concord 5&10).

Scrub the yam(s) and cut into large cubes and put them onto a second baking pan.  No peeling required…

In a small pan, warm your ghee until it’s liquid.  Drizzle half onto cauliflower, half onto yam.  Sprinkle Ras el Hanout and a tsp of salt and a tsp of pepper onto each.  Toss cauliflower and yams in respective pans so they are coated by ghee and spices.  Put both pans into the oven and roast 30-45 minutes – until veggies are tender and as browned as you like.  The yam will probably take less time to cook than the cauliflower does to brown.  Flip veggies half-way through the baking.  When roasted, put each baking pan aside.

Open package of tofu.  I like tofu and feel it adds something to a balanced diet.  Cut into 6 slices, and then each slice into half.  You’ll have 12 squarish pieces.  Brush with the next 2 Tbsp ghee or extra virgin olive oil.  Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.  In a single layer, lay tofu on an oiled baking sheet.  Roast in same hot oven for 15 minutes.  Flip, roast second side 15 minutes.  Tofu will be crispy on outside, creamy inside.

Open can of chickpeas.  Drain and put beans aside (save the liquid for soups or stews or aquafaba).  You can warm chickpeas or serve them room temp.  It’s all good!

In a skillet, melt the next 2 Tbsp ghee or warm extra virgin olive oil and add the chopped walnuts and panko crumbs.  You can replace the walnuts with another nut or use no nuts and just double the amount of panko crumbs.  Stir nuts and panko crumbs until coated and continue stirring a couple of minutes until toasted.  Stir so mixture doesn’t burn.

Make pesto (or not).  You can buy pesto, but this pesto recipe is so easy.  And you’ve got leftovers to dollop on so many dishes.  It freezes like a dream, too.  To make pesto, put pesto ingredients into a food processor and pulse until it’s the texture you like.  The hemp seeds give us a nutritional whallop.  They’re great and contain everything from calcium to iron to protein to good fats and lots of fiber.

Take four plates.  Put some roasted cauliflower in top quarter of plate, purple yams in another corner.  Spoon chickpeas across the bottom of plate.  Top chickpeas with crispy tofu.  Crumble generous amounts of nut-panko crumb mixture onto chickpeas and tofu.  Put a dollop of pesto wherever you think it looks best.  You will enjoy everything on this colorful yummy plate!