November 2, 2021

Za’atar Roasted Cauliflower And Chickpea Penne In Tahini Sauce

Recipe: Danny Seo

Try Za’atar Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Penne from the new cookbook, Naturally, Delicious Dinners.

Tahini is a paste made from sesame seeds and is one of the main ingredients in hummus. It’s also one of the best plant-based sources of calcium out there. Pairing it with a za’atar spice blend will bring out bold Middle Eastern flavors.


  • Sea salt
  • 1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas
  • 3 tbsps olive oil or avocado oil, divided
  • 1 tbsp za’atar spice blend, more for serving
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bunch cilantro, leaves and stems torn
  • ¼ cup sesame tahini cup
  • ¼ lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp sriracha or other chili sauce of choice
  • ¼ cup filtered water
  • 10 ounces penne pasta


Yield: Serves 6

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a large baking tray with parchment paper. Set a large pot of well-salted water to boil for the penne.
  • On the baking tray, toss the cauliflower florets and chickpeas with 2 tablespoons of the oil, za’atar, and salt and pepper to taste, spreading everything out in a single layer. Roast for 25–30 minutes, or until the cauliflower florets are easily pierced with a fork and golden in places.
  • Reserve some cilantro leaves for garnish, if desired. Combine the torn cilantro, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, sriracha, remaining oil, and water in a blender. Blend into a smooth sauce.
  • In the meantime, cook the penne al dente in the prepared pot. Drain the penne and return it to the same pot.
  • Add the roasted cauliflower and chickpeas and pour the tahini sauce over top. Toss well, until everything is coated with the sauce. Serve right away, sprinkled with za’atar and garnished with the reserved cilantro leaves.

Recipe excerpt from Naturally, Delicious Dinners by Danny Seo. Reprinted by permission of Gibbs Smith Books.