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As the cauliflower was roasting in the oven and I was busy preparing the other vegetables, the smell of burnt plastic started oozing through the kitchen. I could hear our pyromanic son laughing as he ran from the crime scene into the next room. All the dials for the stove top were switched on to full heat and our poor old spatula was melting away on the stove. I had barely scraped it clean before I could hear him giggling again, this time from our bedroom. In less than a minute, he had managed to pull out every pair of clothing he could possibly reach from our wardrobe and was currently bathing in a sea of trousers. “No harm in that” I thought and left him for a minute to check on the cauliflower and continue preparing the vegetables and chickpeas. All of a sudden it went quiet in the bedroom and then … “squeeeeak” the sound of pebbles scraping against glass, cut through the apartment. Isac had just figured out that he could use our iPad as a skateboard and was skating away in the hallway.

He’s an awesome little guy but sometimes he is simply a hooligan with more energy than the sun. This cauliflower salad, however, turned out perfectly regardless of how much he tried to disrupt it.

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Anyone following us on instagram must have noticed our love for the Middle-Eastern spice blend Za’atar. We always keep it within reach and use it on avocado toasts, salads, soups and omelets. The slight tartness from the dried and ground sumac berries is well balanced with nuttiness from toasted sesame seeds and herbiness from thyme.

We have been collaborating and creating recipes with spice company Santa Maria and when they asked what spice blend we thought was missing from their product range, the obvious answer was za’atar. So now we have created a Green Kitchen Stories special edition Za’atar blend for them and it’s available through this competition on their site (only in Sweden, sorry!).

This recipe is however available for everyone, regardless if you are using our za’atar blend or another one (often available in spice shops, delis and Middle-Eastern food stores). You can also make your own by combining 4 tbsp sumac, 4 tbsp toasted sesame seeds, 2 tbsp dried thyme, 1 tbsp dried oregano and 2 tsp cumin.

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In this recipe, roasted cauliflower florets are sprinkled with za’atar and mixed into a fresh salad with avocado, spinach, parsley and cucumber slices and topped with small pomegranate jewels. It is served with creamy chickpeas drenched in yogurt and tahini and also sprinkled with za’atar. If pomegranate isn’t in season, it can be replaced with raisins (preferably yellow).

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Roasted Cauliflower with Za’atar & Yogurty Chickpeas
Serves 2 very hungry persons or 4 normal

1 head of cauliflower
1 good drizzle of olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 large cucumber, seeded
1 avocado
1 x 400 g /14 oz tin chickpeas (or 200 g cooked)
50 ml / ¼ cup natural yogurt
1 tbsp tahini
1-2 tbsp za’atar spice blend
1 handful parsley
1 handful spinach
seeds from ½ pomegranate

Preheat the oven to 220°C / 450°F. Divide the cauliflower into florets and place on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and salt and toss until all is combined. Roast for 20-25 minutes, until soft and golden and with slightly crispy edges.
Meanwhile, prepare the other vegetables. Divide the cucumber in half. Use a teaspoon to scrape out the seeds and cut into 1 cm / 1/3 inch slices. Cut the avocado in half, remove the stone and use a spoon to scoop out the flesh. Cut into large chunks. Rinse the chickpeas thoroughly. Pour them into a bowl and mix with yogurt and tahini until all is mixed.
Remove the cauliflower from the oven and sprinkle generously with za’atar.
Add all salad ingredients to a large bowl and toss carefully to combine. Make space in the side and add the yogurt chickpeas. Top with pomegranate seeds and a sprinkle of za’atar. Enjoy!

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Thank you Santa Maria for the fun opportunity to create this spice blend and for sponsoring this post. All words and opinions are our own.

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