Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Warm Cauliflower Dip Recipe

Tahini is a very rich sesame seed paste used in hummus. But that's not the only thing you can do with tahini. It adds richness and creaminess to a variety of dishes including salads, fish, grilled meats and vegetables. To make an amazing tahini sauce, all you have to do is combine tahini, mashed garlic, water and lemon juice. You can make it to be thick and creamy or thin and saucy. Either way it is delicious.

Recently I needed to make some appetizers that were lactose free. I looked in my fridge and found a head of cauliflower and some tahini (which is a staple ingredient at my house) and those formed the basis of this luscious warm cauliflower dip. No butter, no cheese. No problem! 

Warm cauliflower dip is vegan, vegetarian, gluten free and lactose free. So pretty much anyone should be able to enjoy it. It's surprisingly rich and creamy, considering it doesn't have any cream. I made it the first time in my Vitamix, but I tested it in the food processor and it came out just great that way too. You could add hot sauce or a splash of lemon juice if you want to customize it. You could also use it as a spread for sandwiches or wraps. It's good at room temperature or warm. 

Warm Cauliflower Dip


1 head cauliflower
Head of garlic
Olive oil
2 Tablespoons tahini
2-3 Tablespoons water
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Black sesame seeds, optional


Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice about 1/4 inch off the top of the garlic clove, just enough to expose the cloves. Cut away the core of the cauliflower and break it into small pieces. Place the cauliflower and whole head of garlic on a rimmed baking sheet (I line mine with parchment paper or foil for easy clean up). Drizzle the vegetables with a little oil, about a tablespoon or so. Roast for 45 minutes or until tender and beginning to brown in spots.

Transfer the cauliflower to the food processor. When the garlic is cooled enough to handle, squeeze it from the skins and add as much of it as you'd like into the food processor. I use about 5 cloves (save the rest to add to mashed potatoes). Add the tahini, salt and cumin. Puree, adding as much water as you need to form a  very thick and creamy dip. Taste for seasonings. You may need to add more salt or tahini, it really depends on the size and flavor of the cauliflower. Garnish with black sesame seeds. Serve with crudités, endive leaves or chips. You can keep this in the refrigerator for several days and gently reheat in the microwave (or serve at room temperature).