Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Dates & Tahini

September 14th, 2023


This last week we managed to fit in a short road trip down the stunning Kaikōura coast. As firm homebodies around here, it takes quite an effort to pry us away from our home and garden. But I have to admit it was a special time away together once we were on the road.

This was our first time travelling down the east coast of Te Waipounamu South Island since the devasting earthquake in 2016. It was quite an eye-opener to see the power of nature so drastically transform the coastline. We enjoyed being domestic tourists spotting whales and dolphins and discovering a fantastic kai moana BBQ on the Kaikōura Peninsula. As my Mum said, we are creating whānau memories that are priceless.

Returning home is as good as going away, and we quickly slip back into our daily flow. One of the first things I do when I have been away is to wander around the garden and notice the changes. At this time of year, the growth even over a few days is quite remarkable. In fact, I have to be quick to get to the greens before they begin their journey to setting seed with this warmer weather. It is such a contrast from only last month when it felt like we were still in the depths of winter and the garden was at a standstill.

Fresh herbs in particular are going strong with parsley, dill and coriander (the last before it goes to seed) adding lots of fresh flavour to meals. Today I share a current favourite dinner salad that I make when I spot a cauliflower at a decent price. Sweet roasted cauliflower served with a tahini dressing that has a little kick from fresh grated ginger and chilli. Lots of fresh herbs and dates to complement the sweet cauliflower, plus sesame seeds to bring some crunch. A fabulous salad that delivers both flavour and texture. Enjoy!

Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Dates & Tahini

Roasting cauliflower has been my chosen mode of cooking for many years. The high heat caramelises and sweetens the florets with some crispy edges. If you are not a fan of tahini - I know I sing its praises often - you could use natural (unsweetened) yoghurt in the dressing, using ½ cup yoghurt and skipping the water. 
Servings 4
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes


  • medium head of cauliflower, about 700g
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • salt and pepper
  • 6-8 pitted dates, sliced
  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  • large handful fresh herbs - dill, parsley and/or coriander

Tahini Ginger Dressing

  • 4 tbsp tahini
  • 2 tsp finely grated ginger root
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated (optional)
  • 4-5 tbsp water
  • salt and chilli sauce to taste


  • Preheat the oven to 200C (fan 180C).
  • Remove the large outer leaves from the cauliflower. Chop into bite-sized florets, including the stalk.
  • Place on a large oven tray, add the olive oil, spices and season well. Toss to combine then spread out in a single layer. Roast for 15 minutes, then flip the cauliflower and cook for a further 10 minutes until golden. Tip onto a shallow serving dish to cool a little.
  • Slice the dates, toast the sesame seeds and chop the herbs.
  • Make the tahini dressing. Combine the tahini, ginger, lemon juice, and garlic in a small bowl. Add the water a tablespoon at a time, stirring as it initially feels as if it will seize until it miraculously comes together into a smooth and creamy sauce. Season with salt and add chilli sauce to taste - or not.
  • Once the cauliflower is warm, scatter over the dates, sesame seeds, and herbs. Drizzle over half of the dressing, serving with extra on the side.


Homegrown Kitchen 2024 Recipe Calendar – Coming Soon!

I am excited to be bringing back my recipe calendar for 2024! This will be my 7th recipe calendar – the 2022 calendar is pictured above – and will be available next month. I was unable to produce a recipe calendar last year due to my new cookbook, The Homemade Table, being released. There is only so much this one-woman band can do!

I am currently working on the (delicious) recipe selection ready to send to the printers in a few weeks. As usual, it will be printed locally in Whakatū Nelson on silky matte paper. If you are interested in a copy (or a few) please register interest to be notified when they are available. This is helpful so I can gauge printing numbers. Then keep an eye out as pre-orders will be available soon with a gift from my garden for the first orders.

More details and register interest here. 

Join the Conversation

  1. I made this tonight as a side with our BBQ and it was delicious. Super easy to make (and I’m a terrible cook) and I loved the dates in it too. Bookmarking your site!

    1. That is wonderful to hear. I love the flavours and textures in this salad. Happy cooking!

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