A Sweet Goodbye

We had a potluck today to say farewell to a great cow orker, a great personality and all around smart chick; Ahlana.  Her last request was that I post the recipe for my Roasted Cauliflower and Sweet Potato dish. Who am I to deny a tech her last wish?

I created this dish when I was a vegan and had a chance to sample a similar dish during a vegan lunch buffet at a Persian vegan restaurant called Flowers in Seattle. It’s not the same as their dish, but it’s as close as I could get it.

This recipe exemplifies, as with all the dishes in their buffet, everything I love about cooking — it is simple yet full of flavor.

Basically, this recipe is two ingredients: roasted veggies and tahini sauce. The secret is in the balance of soft sweet potato, crispy and earthy cauliflower, and tangy tahini. In a pinch I will substitute Amy’s Goddess dressing for the tahini sauce, because it’s vegan, and less mess.

Enough intro…


  • 1 large head cauliflower
  • 1-2 red garnet sweet potatoes
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 c. sesame butter
  • 1/2 c. water
  • juice from 1/2 a large lemon (at least 1/4 cup)
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • cilantro
  • flat leaf parsley

Oven 500F

Break the cauliflower into different sized florets and set in a bowl. Slice the potatoes into 1/4″ bias cut pieces and set in the same bowl. Add enough Olive oil to just coat the veggies and mix together. Add some salt and pepper and mix more.

Dump onto a foil lined baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes or so, checking to make sure you’re getting nice color on the veggies. Turn and roast some more, until the cauliflower is nicely browned but still crispy.

While you’re roasting the veg, assemble the tahini. Seriously, this couldn’t be easier: mix the sesame butter and water with the clove of garlic. I blend with a hand mixer to really get the garlic all chopped up. Now add the lemon juice. I always reserve some lemon juice for the end so that I can adjust the flavor. Add salt and pepper, taste. Add more lemon, taste. Too much lemon? If that happens a little bit of sugar (just like a 1/4 teaspoon) will balance it right back out. Now add some cilantro (optional, not everyone likes cilantro) and flat leaf parsley and blitz up to desired consistency. Set aside.

Pull the veggies out of the oven, let them cool, and pour the sauce on top. Serve chilled or at room temp.

Remember, it’s just roasted veggies and tahini, what could go wrong?

Anyway, thanks to you Ahlana for all you did, I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we enjoyed having you at work.

Good luck!


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