recipe, chilli cauli bake

This recipe came about as I saw something on Instagram and thought it sounded lovely, but it was from a test kitchen so there was no recipe accompanying it. I highly doubt that this tastes anything like Ottolenghi’s (particularly as I didn’t have any of the relevant ingredients to try and properly make his which included harissa) but it turned out to be a delicious, hearty, vegan if you use dairy free spread, recipe which is great for a mid-week dinner as it can be prepared ahead of time and then just thrown in the oven when you need it.

Ingredients (serves two)

  • One small-medium cauliflower (including the leaves)
  • One tin chopped tomatoes
  • Half a tin of water
  • Knob of butter (the more butter the better, but depends on how healthy you want to be!)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ginger (optional but it gives it a nice little zing)
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • Sea salt


  • Melt the butter in a small saucepan on a medium heat
  • Once melted, add the cumin seeds and lightly fry for a minute or two until they start to foam
  • Add the rest of the herbs & spices and fry for a further minute or so until they are all nice and fragrant
  • Add the chopped tomatoes, fill the empty tin to halfway with water and bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer
  • In the meantime, start prepping your cauliflower by removing the outermost leaves, if they’re in good condition, set them aside. In particular keep the nice layer of leaves and set those aside. When you get to the head of the cauliflower, slice it into either “steaks” or wedges – both work well
  • Arrange the cauliflower and leaves in an oven-proof dish, the leaves work best on the top so they go all crispy and crunchy in the oven
  • Your tomato sauce should be ready now, so pour it all over your prepped cauliflower
  • Add a generous sprinkling of sea salt just before placing in the oven
  • Bake in the oven (fan assisted) at 160° for 40 minutes then increase to 220° for the last 20 minutes
  • Serve with rice and a spoonful of sour cream or oat crème fraiche
  • Enjoy!

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