A vegetable with an edge: Whole-baked harissa cauliflower

The cauliflower is best roasted whole to preserve its moisture. This dish is delicious when paired with greens and a grain. The dish is delicious when garnished with various herbs and makes a great meal for your guests looking for something hearty.


1 large head

4 Tbsp of water (or half olive oil, half liquid, depending on how many oils are in the harissa).

2-4 tbsp harissa paste

Juice 1 lemon

Salt and pepper

1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil, coconut oil

A few fresh herbs can be used as garnish

  • Turn the oven on to 200C fan/gas 7 and heat it up to 220C. Take the leaves off the cauliflower, and place them on a plate. Use a knife to cut through the center of the cauliflower. This will allow you to separate the branches and florets at different angles. You want to keep it intact, so don’t cut too deep.
  • Steam the cauliflower stalk-side down in a steamer for between 8-10 minutes. You don’t want it to be cooked, just enough that a knife will remove with ease when poked in. If you don’t have a steamer, boil it for around the same time.
  • Remove the cauliflower from the steamer and place it upside down to allow any excess water to drain – you can pat it dry too. You can oil a baking sheet or use parchment paper.
  • Mix the harissa paste and lemon juice in a bowl. Add any additional salt or pepper to taste. Place the stalk of cauliflower upside-down. The mix will then drip throughout the cauliflower. To help the mixture move along, tap and shake it. You should keep some for the top.
  • Turn the cauliflower upside down so the center is in the middle. Then, brush some olive oil and salt over the top. Place it in the oven and roast for approximately 10 minutes. After that, take the cauliflower out of the oven and sprinkle the remaining harissa on top. Continue roasting for another 30-40 minutes. The cauliflower should be golden brown and look dry. You will be able to score with your knife.
  • The leaves can be dried-fried (whole, chopped) or put in the oven for 10 minutes. If you’re dry-frying, heat a pan until hot, add the leaves, season with salt and pepper and fry until tender but crispy – approximately 8 minutes.
  • The cauliflower should be removed from the oven. Once it is cool, place the leaves in a bowl and add a few chopped fresh herbs. Cut into thick slices for ‘steak’-style pieces, or as you wish.