Main Dish

Za’atar Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini Yogurt Sauce

November 11, 2022
Zataar Roasted Cauliflower topped with Tahini Yogurt Sauce, toasted pine nuts, naan crisps, fresh dill, and parsley. Yum!

Za’atar Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Tahini Yogurt Sauce–hands down one of my favorite fall-time meals! It’s super simple, quick, and feels incredibly nourishing. All you have to do is slice a head of cauliflower into 3/4 inch “steaks” and coat with garlic, olive oil, and za’atar. After roasting for 25-30 minutes, the cauliflower comes out with a tender center, crispy edges, and a delightful herby flavor. The Tahini Yogurt Sauce brings it all together with a creamy nuttiness and acidity.

If you have time for garnishes, they can enhance the textures and flavor even more! For this recipe, I like to use toasted pine nuts and bite-sized pieces of toasted pita bread. Chopped herbs like parsley, dill, and/or mint bring a nice punch of freshness as well. With so many textures and complimentary flavors, you just can’t go wrong! It checks all the boxes of a healthy, tasty meal or side dish.

Healing Properties of Za’atar

Za’atar is a spice that goes back as far as ancient Egypt and possibly even Mesopotamia. Referenced as far back as the 10th century BC in the Bible as “ezov” in the Book of Exodus. Historically it’s been used as a purification herb and is now a proven antiseptic (anti-microbial compound that helps slow or prevent the growth of pathogens), an inhibitor of free radicals, modulation of chronic inflammation, and more (Khalil et al.; Ranim et a; Soomro et al.).

It’s effective against and not limited to the following ailments:

  • Respiratory issues: bronchitis, cough, cold
  • Gastric issues: intestinal pain, stomach pain
  • Urinary Tract issues
  • Toothaches
  • Wounds
  • Anxiety

I found this article on Origanum syriacum, the primary ingredient of za’atar, very helpful in this history and health benefits rabbit hole. It references a plethora of deep-dive articles on the health benefits listed above. See other citations below for more.

What to Serve with Za’atar Roasted Cauliflower

Serve it with a grain and/or greens of your choice alongside some spicy roasted chickpeas for a complete meal. Some of our favorite grains to serve with roasted veggies include bulgur, quinoa, farro, and barley. Each brings its own texture and nuttiness, as well as health benefits. Farro and quinoa in particular are higher in protein.

For greens, it may vary by season. In the winter you might use more spinach, arugula, and bittergreens while in the warmer months, you may use a spring mix or tender leaf lettuce.

For protein, you could use a thinly sliced grilled skirt steak, grilled or roasted chicken, grilled tempeh, baked salmon or cod, etc. I personally love soft and hard-boiled eggs with almost anything.

**Tip: You can double the recipe for the Tahini Yogurt Sauce and have enough to dress your greens and grains.

Try it out with one of these recipes:

Here is the Tahini Yogurt Sauce Recipe

Zaatar Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Tahini Yogurt Sauce

Lunch, Dinner, Side Dish Mediterranean
By Katelyn Bailey Serves: 2
Prep Time: 5 minutes Cooking Time: 25 minutes Total Time: 30 minutes

Ah, all the textures and flavors of a perfectly balanced Mediterranean dish. Tender roasted cauliflower topped with Tahini Yogurt Sauce, toasted pine nuts, crisped pita chips, and fresh herbs. The za'atar is the main star bringing a punch of herby goodness--read above to learn about its history and health benefits!


  • 1/2 head of cauliflower
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons Zaatar seasoning
  • Fresh dill, parsley, and/or mint (use all or whatever you have on hand; about 2-3 tablespoons of chopped herbs should be plenty)
  • Dash of smoked paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • **optional garnishes: pita crisps, toasted pine nuts
  • Tahini Yogurt Sauce (see above recipe)



Preheat your oven to 425°F.


Wash the cauliflower and trim away the outer leaves and the surface of the stem. Cut the cauliflower in half and slice them into 3/4 inch pieces. For this recipe I'm only using two slices, but you can double the marinade recipe if you're making the whole head. Sprinkle with salt on each side and set aside.


Make the roasting mixture by combining the olive oil and garlic in a blender and blending until smooth (you can also mince the garlic, but blending prevents burnt garlic pieces and ensures the flavor gets in all the little nooks and crannies). Then, toss in the Zaatar and smoked paprika.


Using a paper towel, dry off the cauliflower and coat with the oil mixture (reserve 2 tablespoons for when you flip them over).


Lay the cauliflower steaks onto a baking sheet with parchment paper and bake for 15 minutes.


Now you can flip them and brush the tops with the remaining oil. Bake for 10-15 minutes more until golden brown along the edges.


Serve with a tangy Tahini Yogurt Sauce (see link above for the recipe). You can also garnish with pita crisps, toasted pine nuts, mint, dill, and/or parsley.




  • 237 Calories
  • 4.5g Carbohydrates
  • 25.3g Fat
  • 1.7g Fiber
  • 1.5g Protein
  • 3.6g Saturated fat
  • 311mg Sodium
  • 1.6g Sugar


Please see above for the Tahini Yogurt Sauce recipe.



Ranim, M., et ll. (2021, December 12) Prospects for using Origanum Syriacum (L.) as a source of antimicrobial agents. Journal of Advanced Pharmaceutical Technology Research.,%2C%20fungal%2C%20and%20viral%20diseases

Kahlil, M., et al. (2022, March) Unraveling the beneficial effects of herbal Lebanese mixture “Za’atar”. History, studies, and properties of a potential healthy food ingredient. Journal of Functional Foods.

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