roasted cauliflower, chickpeas and harissa


I was browsing through Vegetable Love, a huge and wonderful cookbook by legendary food writer Barbara Kafka. The recipes are not strictly vegetarian or vegan, but it contains a bounty of ideas, methods and nutritional info for just about any vegetable you can think of. I especially like the A – Z glossary at the back of the book.

Which is what I was reading when I came across the section on cooking methods for Cauliflower, where Barbara lists the many ways it can be prepared; steamed, stir-fried, boiled, fried, and last but not least…microwaved. And then she writes: “ not good roasted”.


Are you freaking kidding me?! I couldn’t disagree more. Cauliflower is delicious roasted. In fact, it might be my favorite way to eat it. But to give Ms. Kafka the benefit of the doubt, I’m sure she’s expressing her fine-tuned personal taste.

My personal taste includes a pretty intense addiction to the spicy Tunisian chili paste harissa. I could – and do – put harissa on everything at any time of day, from eggs to leftovers I eat for lunch. It’s my global ketchup.


You can find harissa in many well-stocked supermarkets. But if you really want to find harissa nirvana, I recommend the one made by Moulin Mahjoub. I don’t know what it is, but to my palate it has just the right amount of smoky, sweet-heat and savory deliciousness.

You can get it at Amazon if you’re not near a specialty food store, which is where I often buy it. I’ve even seen it at Williams-Sonoma a while back.

If you love cauliflower or better yet, if you find yourself on the vegetable fence, try spicing it up and roasting as I do in this slightly Moroccan-inspired recipe.


roasted cauliflower, chickpeas and harissa

Serving Size: serves 4 - 6

The cauliflower makes a simple salad meal served warm over wilted spinach.


  • 1 head cauliflower, separated into bite-sized florets
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 small sweet onion, like Maui or red onion; finely sliced
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons harissa
  • ½ bunch each Italian parsley and cilantro
  • ½ a lemon
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese


  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Spread the cauliflower out on a large rimmed baking sheet. Add 3 tablespoons of the oil, ½ teaspoon salt and the cumin seeds. Roast 20 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender and golden. Add the chickpeas and roast an additional 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon oil in an 8 – 10-inch sauté pan. Add the onion and a pinch of salt. Cover the pan and cook over medium-low heat until the onions are very soft. Stir in the harissa along with 1 tablespoon water.
  4. Pick the leaves off the parsely and cilantro and tear into rough pieces; throw them over the chickpeas. Squeeze the lemon over and toss together with the onion mixture.
  5. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with the feta.


  1. You are so totally the blogging queen these days – I’m loving every single idea! I remember reading that note from Barbara Kafka a few years ago and wondering, Whhhhaaaat? Roasted Cauliflower was the very first recipe on A Veggie Venture!

  2. I agree with you both; roasting is one of the very best ways to cook cauliflower and this looks like a total winner!

  3. Thank you so much for visiting my site and allowing me to find my way here. Your recipes are so reminiscent of my own culinary desires… I made these roasted cauliflower steaks once and they definitely proved your theory about roasting cauliflowers.

    Best, Phi

    • Thank you Phi. My sentiments exactly about your work! I also have a recipe somewhere for roasting a whole head of cauliflower – could be a beast, but want to try it.

  4. deb newton says:

    I made my own harissa and served this dish to my daughter and her family. EVERYONE loved it, even the Littles!!! Thank you so much :o)

    • Deb – how amazing are you?! Do you have a favorite method for making harissa? I’m so pleased your family enjoyed this, esp. the Littles 🙂

  5. I didn’t have any harissa, so I served the roasted cauliflower and chickpeas over brown rice with hot mango chutney and toasted cashews. Delicious! Thanks for the great recipe idea Karen.

    • Mary, I’m so pleased to know you tried out the recipe – if I had hot mango chutney I’m sure I could form some kind of addiction to that too, along with the harissa. Sounds like it was a great mix! Cheers to you, neighbor 🙂

    • I put this over couscous, and it was spectacular!

  6. I love roasted cauliflower, what a scrumptious way to prepare it!

  7. A friend posted this recipe on Facebook, and so glad she did. It led me to your blog and your great recipes! Thank you for sharing this…I will be making it immediately!

  8. Just served this for diner, it was fabulous! My boyfriend and I liked it a lot 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  9. This sounds like great ingredients for Hummus.

  10. I made a variation of your recipe seeing it on pinterest this am. It was very good!

  11. Recently I discovered that if I roast my cauliflower, it tends to have bitter taste. Quick search on the internet tells me that cauliflower, when heated released pungent sulfur & contains phenylthiocarbamide (aka PTC) that makes it bitter. Some people are genetically sensitive to PTC, some aren’t. After trying several methods of preparing cauliflower, reducing the cooking time is crucial. So when I want a “roasted” curried cauliflower, what worked best for me is soaking the cauliflower in salted water then steam it while roasting the onion, garlic, curry mixture in the oven. Then toss together. Lucky those who aren’t sensitive to PTC.

  12. Hi! This is seriously one of the most delicious veggie dishes I have ever tried! I have made it twice this week :). Only change I made was using ground cumin instead. Thanks so much for sharing!

  13. I just made this lovely dish for dinner and is was beyond delicious! Thank you so much for the amazing recipe.

  14. I made this tonight and loved it! I used about 1.5 T harissa paste and it was just right for us (we like things moderately spicy). I was definitely, definitely be making this one again.

  15. As a vegetarian, I absolutely love these sorts of spicy vegetable recipes. Thank you so much for sharing this, I’ve just pinned it.

  16. Jacquie says:

    I tried this and it was amazing; so simple to make as well. My new favorite add-on, Harissa sauce! Heavenly to say the least. Thanks for sharing.

  17. “I do not care for roasted cauliflower.” I was thinking of that line from Vegetable Love as I clicked through from The Kitchn, because, like you, I disagree with that statement! I’ll definitely be giving this a try this week!

    • That is classic Barbara Kafka; gotta love her strong opinions. Enjoy, Kate! This recipe is one that I make over and over again.

  18. Looks delicious! I tend to get lazy and just roast my cauliflower with garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. I like that you have incorporated other flavors!

  19. audrey brock says:

    I would love to try the recipes, some of the ingredients I do not know, I would love to tap on the gradient and see if there’s an alternate one or a substitute.

  20. This is so delicious!!!! added a little bit of fresh mint with cilantro and parsley! Thank-you love it…new favorite 🙂

  21. This delicious veggie recipe tastes like a salad I would order at the finest restaurant! I am astounded at the flavor to effort ratio! Thanks for sharing!


  1. […] by Adrianna from A Cozy Kitchen. The second was another roasted cauliflower salad from Karen at Family Style Food. Each recipe wasequally as beautiful, so I combined them, removed the cheese, and simplified things […]

  2. […] weekend the selection was Roasted Cauliflower with Chickpeas and Harissa by Familystyle […]

  3. […] Roasted Cauliflower, Chickpea and Harissa Salad by familysyle food […]

  4. […] Recipe & Photo credit to […]

  5. […] taste, taste. In my rush to get it finished before M and C arrived, I simply followed this recipe (sans the chickpeas) from Family Style Food (What a gorgeous blog!), never bothering to taste the […]

  6. […] perfectly good mature cheddar by slathering it over a cloud of white nonsense. But then, i saw this whilst i was searching for harissa stockists and I was mesmerised!  Roasting  cauliflower must […]

  7. […] Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpeas with Harissa from Family Style Food […]

  8. […]     Chou-fleur et pois chiches rôtis avec harissa et feta Donne 4 portions Recette originale ici   1 chou-fleur, séparé en petits florets 1 conserve de pois chiches, rincés et égouttés 1 […]

  9. […] Chou-fleur et pois chiches rôtis avec harissa et feta Donne 4 portions Recette originale ici […]

  10. […] Soup recipe I found at Epicurious and the Cauliflower and Chick Peas was from the delightful blog, familystyle food. I was excited to try harissa, and discovered that’s not the easiest thing to find, […]

  11. […] a person with a serious attraction to harissa, I became hooked on those fiery Calabrian chilies like I knew I would. Is it in my blood? The […]

  12. […] Roasted cauliflower, chickpeas, and harissa. (via The Kitchn) […]

  13. […] visited here before, you may already know that my absolute favorite way to cook cauliflower is to roast it, and season it with assertive […]

Leave a Comment