[ezcol_1third] According to my editorial calendar, there are a lot of recipes for sweet treats coming up on the blog over the next two months (it's 55 days 'till Christmas y'all!), so today I thought I'd buck my own trend by sharing something wholly wholesome. This recipe for roasted cauliflower with chickpeas is my latest take on 'fancy food'. The elements are simple, but the dish looks so pretty - and tastes so lively - that it comes across as culinarily sophisticated. To me, this is next level comfort food if stodge isn't your thing. We often knock up a big platter for two and make a whole week night supper of it, but it also works wonderfully as a side dish served up to friends and family alongside a weekend roast. Although I reckon this recipe offers up something quite elegant and exciting, the two main ingredients are actually about as humble (and cheap) as they come. The trick here is treating the cauliflower and chickpeas in a slightly unexpected way... Unexpected, at least, for those of us who grew up never having heard of a chickpea, and who as kids only experienced  watery cauliflower boiled to within an inch of its life served, if you were lucky, swimming in gluggy cheese sauce... Is anyone flashing back with me?

Roasted Cauliflower with Chickpeas Recipe

Ingredients: It looks complicated, but I promise it isn't once you have a read through! Part 1: Cauliflower Purée You can make this up to one day in advance. The texture might change overnight in the fridge, and you might want to blend it again just before serving. Yield: a few cups.

3 cups cauliflower 3 cloves of garlic 1/4 cup butter (vegan or regular butter) 1/2 cup chickpeas, cooked & drained 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary salt & pepper squeeze of 1/2 to 1 whole lemon, plus some zest (to taste) (add milk or water if needed to thin, or more chickpeas if necessary to thicken) 

Part 2: Roasting Chickpeas & Cauliflower Serves 2-3, scale accordingly

1.5 cups cauliflower broken into small florets 1.5 cups cooked (or canned) chickpeas, drained olive oil cloves of garlic (to taste) salt & pepper a few pinches chopped rosemary

Part 3: Plating Up

a sprinkle of capers per plate an extra drizzle of olive oil a few pinches of red pepper flakes a few more pinches of chopped rosemary


1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

2. Make cauliflower rice: roughly chop half the head of cauliflower then pulse it in a food processor until it resembles the texture of small grains of rice. Transfer to a large pyrex bowl, cover with a dinner plate, and microwave for about 10 minutes. (Alternatively, you can chop the cauliflower florets up by hand and boil them for 15 minutes in salted water, but I find it easiest to microwave.)

3. While half of the cauliflower is boiling, start roasting the rest along with the chickpeas. Prep a large baking sheet with foil. Separately toss the chickpeas and cauliflower with olive oil, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper. (I do this right on the baking sheet to save on washing up). Roast both in the oven until golden brown, about 25-35 minutes (check halfway through to make sure no bits are burning). I also like to add a few cloves of garlic on the baking sheets to be used (once roasted) in the purée.

4. Transfer your cooked cauliflower rice to a food processor. Add the rest of the purée ingredients and blitz. Taste and adjust, adding more salt, pepper, and/or lemon as necessary. If yours is too thick, add some water or milk. If it’s too thin, add some more chickpeas. The consistency should be thinner and lighter than hummus.

5. Spread a generous scoop of the purée on your serving plate and top it with the roasted cauliflower florets, chickpeas, a drizzle of olive oil, capers, a few small pinches of red pepper flakes, and another pinch of rosemary. And an extra squeeze of lemon for a final flourish!

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Catherine Roberts