A super-simple one-tray meal that packs a punch. Cauliflower, potatoes, chickpeas and spinach are roasted in a seriously tasty harissa marinade and served with a cooling lemon-scented yogurt. Minimum effort, maximum flavour!
I am usually the sort of cook who uses every pan and utensil I can get my hands on, so this one-tray bake is something of a novelty. And despite the disappointingly limited opportunity to make an enormous mess, it’s a meal I’ve been coming back to time and time again.
I love the gentle sweetness of cauliflower when roasted, and its mild flavour stands up admirably to the punchy middle-eastern inspired marinade. You can use the cauliflower leaves as well, which turn satisfyingly crisp when roasted, as do the chickpeas. Potatoes provide some much needed stodge, and wilted spinach leaves give a little freshness. I like to splooge over some lemon-scented vegan yogurt as a cooling contrast to the fiery harissa-soaked vegetables. This is the sort of meal that provides bags of flavour with really minimal effort, and plenty of health while still being deliciously comforting.
- As well as the cauliflower florets, you can slice all of the stem, and use the more tender leaves closest to the cauliflower. Add the leaves part way through cooking so they don’t burn to a crisp, and split any leaves with thicker stalks in two so they cook through.
- You can use any sort of potato. Whether old or new, I keep the skins on and cut them into similar sized chunks or slices. You want them to cook at the same time as the cauliflower, so with baby new potatoes I often leave the whole or halve the larger ones, and for old potatoes I cut them into centimeter-wide slices..
- The marinade is primarily composed of harissa paste and pomegranate molasses. You can get various different varieties of harissa and any will work. I particularly like a smoky harissa.
- Pomegranate molasses is a beautifully fruity and tart syrup that you can find in larger supermarkets, Mediterranean delis, or online. As a substitute, you can use half balsamic vinegar and half date syrup (or other liquid sweetener such as agave or maple syrup, but you won’t get the same fruity depth of flavour).
- You can easily adapt and vary this recipe – it would be delicious with peppers or aubergine thrown into the mix. You could replace the spinach with rocket (just don’t put the rocket in the oven), or use another white bean in place of the chickpeas.
Cauliflower, Chickpea, and Harissa Tray-Bake
A one-tray melee of cauliflower, potato, chickpeas, and spinach, roasted in a punchy harissa marinade.
For the marinade:
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp harissa paste
- 1½ tbsp pomegranate molasses (sub. half balsamic vinegar, half date syrup)
- ½ tsp salt
For the tray-bake:
- 1 large head of cauliflower
- 500g (1lb)potatoes
- 1 unwaxed lemon
- 1 x 400g (14 oz) tin chickpeas
- 200g (7 packed cups) baby spinach
- 125g (½ cup) vegan yogurt
- pinch of salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley (optional)
- Pre-heat the oven to 200C fan and line a large baking tin (or 2 smaller ones) with grease-proof paper.
- In a large bowl, mix together 2 tbsp olive oil, 3 tbsp harissa paste, 1½ tbsp pomegranate molasses, and ½ tsp salt.
- Remove any tough outer leaves from the cauliflower, reserving the tender leaves nearer the center for later. Slice the cauliflower into steaks about 2–3 cm thick (the edges will fall apart but this is fine).
- Prepare the potatoes – if you are using baby or new potatoes, keep the smaller ones whole and half any large ones so they are all roughly the same size. If using old potatoes, slice them into rounds about 1 cm thick. Zest the unwaxed lemon and put the zest to one side, then half the lemon lengthways.
- Add the cauliflower and potatoes to the bowl with the marinade and mix with a large spoon until everything is stained red. Tip onto the baking sheet (keep the bowl for the next step) and spread in a single layer, then place the lemon halves on the tray cut side up. Roast for 20 minutes.
- Drain and rinse the chickpeas and add to the marinade bowl along with the tender cauliflower leaves (halve any stalks that are particularly thick). Add a pinch of salt and mix. There should be enough marinade clinging to the sides of the bowl to coat the chickpeas and leaves. Once the cauliflower has had 20 mins, add the chickpeas and leaves to the baking tray, spreading them evenly, and return to the oven for another 20 minutes.
- Scoop 125g vegan yogurt into a small bowl, add a pinch of salt and a crack of black pepper, and half the lemon zest. Mix, then taste and add a little more zest of seasoning if you like. Wash the baby spinach and leave to drain.
- Once the chickpeas etc. have had 20 minutes, everything should be cooked through and blackening at the edges. Spread the baby spinach evenly over the tray, and return to the oven for 3–4 minutes, just so the spinach wilts slightly. Mix all the vegetables together, and squeeze over the juice from the roasted lemon halves (be careful as they will be very hot!). Serve with a generous dollop of lemony yogurt and, if you like, a scattering of chopped fresh parsley.