Roasted Cauliflower with Sesame and Pickled Onions

Ingredients for 2-4

A pinch of salt, richness of fat, sweetness and that much needed tang of sour. Thinking about these flavours is the gateway to this dish. Understanding where the richness of the tahini needs vinegar to cut through, how the sweet sharpness of the onion gets enhanced by the seasoning of salt. It just comes down to balancing the elements.

As a way of cutting down on time and getting flavour into this recipe and indeed many other simple dishes, like baked fish, pan fried chicken, even omelettes,  I often make condiments, pickles and sauces and keep them in the fridge, for a jazzy side, a peppy sauce, or a fresh drizzle

As a long term fan of the pickle, I have taken to making large batches of pickled onion, cabbage, fennel, ginger – sometimes pickled alone, other times all in one mason jar – and promptly forgetting about them in a fridge.

Since I am such a big fan of pickles. I will be bringing you a selection of recipes this winter, using Sarson’s new Pickle in 15 Minutes – a quick pickling vinegar, you can simply pour over your fruit and veg,  to add extra flavour to your dishes. To make these pickles the only effort is chopping, or mandolin-ing. You can also add extras like coriander seeds, peppercorns, bay leaves, if you fancy.

For the sesame sauce, its a sort of conflation of tahini and garlic sauce into one. You can of course use ready made tahini if you prefer, but I recommend toasting sesame seeds and doing it the slightly longer way, so you get that robust complexity of flavour.

For the Pickled Onions

  • 300ml pickling vinegar, I used Sarson’s ‘Pickle in 15 Minutes’ Lightly Seasoned vinegar blend
  • 6 black peppercorns (optional)
  • 2 large red onions

For the Sesame Sauce

  • 70g/ 1/2 cup sesame seeds, untoasted
  • 70g/ 1/2 cup sesame seeds, toasted
  • 200ml just boiled water
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 teaspoons pickling vinegar, I used Sarson’s ‘Pickle in 15 Minutes’ Lightly Seasoned vinegar blend

For the Cauliflower

  • 1 medium head cauliflower, leaves pulled off
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seed oil
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon smoked garlic powder (you can use plain also)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt


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Roasted Cauliflower with Sesame and Pickled Onions


Step 1

Using a mandoline, shave the onions into thin rings. Pack the onion rings into a 500g sterilised jar. Pour over the Sarson’s vinegar and seal. Place in the fridge to chill, then leave to pickle for 15 minutes

Drain the vinegar and then you have perfectly pickled onions ready for eating

Step 2

Place both toasted and untoasted sesame seeds in the hot water and leave to sit for 10 minutes.

Add all the ingredients to the blender and whizz on high for several minutes, scrape down the sides and continue to blend. If need be, add any additional water needed to make a smooth, pourable sauce texture.

Step 3

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C/ 350 degrees F/ Gas Mark 4

Mix the olive oil, sesame oil, spices, garlic powder and salt at the bottom of a large bowl. Add the cauliflower and leaves also – toss to combine.

Place the green stalks on a separate tray from the florets and roast the leaves for 15-17 minutes, remove from the oven. Continue to cook the cauliflower florets until golden , about 45 minutes.

Transfer all to a serving bowl and serve with the pickled onions and sesame sauce.

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