cauliflower shawarma

Cauliflower shawarma, pomegranate, tahini and pine nuts

  • serves 2-4
  • Easy

This recipe for cauliflower shawarma, pomegranate, tahini and pine nuts comes from Berber and Q Grill House in East London. Serving cauliflower whole like this, fresh from the BBQ is inspired, particularly, when it's smothered in shawarma butter



  • cauliflower 1 whole
  • tahini 80g
  • lemon juice 2 tbsp
  • garlic 1-2 cloves, crushed 
  • sea salt flakes
  • pomegranate molasses 1 tbsp (thinned down with water) 
  • pomegranate seeds 2 tbsp
  • pine nuts 1½ tbsp toasted
  • dried rose petals 1 tsp (optional)
  • flat-leaf parsley 1½ tbsp, finely chopped


  • unsalted butter 100g, softened to room temperature
  • lemon 1, juiced
  • garlic 1 clove, crushed
  • coriander 1½ tbsp
  • ground cinnamon 1 tbsp
  • sumac 1 tbsp
  • ground cumin 1½ tsp
  • ground allspice ½ tsp
  • nutmeg a pinch of grated
  • ground cardamom a pinch


  • Step 1

    Trim the outer cauliflower leaves, but don’t be afraid to leave some on – they taste good and look great when charred and crisped on the barbecue.

  • Step 2

    Put the cauliflower in a large pot in enough salted water to cover it, and bring to the boil on a high heat. Once the water is boiling, turn the heat down to medium so it has a gentle roll, and continue to cook for approximately 5-8 minutes.  The intention is to par-cook the cauliflower before finishing it on the BBQ. It should be removed from the water when it still has some resistance when pierced with a knife.

  • Step 3

    Whilst the cauliflower is cooking, whisk the tahini, lemon juice and garlic with ½ tbsp sea salt in a large bowl. Gradually add ice-cold water. At first the tahini will form a lumpy paste, but continue to add liquid and keep whisking until it turns into a smooth, silky sauce and reaches drizzling consistency.

  • Step 4

    Mix the ingredients for the shawarma-spiced butter together.  Brush the cauliflower liberally all over with the butter, and where possible, try and get beneath the floret canopy to reach the inner sections of the cauliflower. Keep some of the butter for brushing at a later stage.

  • Step 5

    Prepare a BBQ for grilling. If using charcoal, bank the coal to one side for direct grilling and leave an area for indirect cooking. When the BBQ is searing hot, grill the cauliflower on direct heat until it blackens on its outer edges. Turn the cauliflower regularly so it colours all over. The aim is to char the cauliflower in parts. This lends not only flavour, but looks great. Throughout the cooking processs, continue to brush with any leftover butter.

  • Step 6

    Once the cauliflower is cooked through and charred, remove from the heat and transfer to a plate. Spoon over the tahini sauce and pomegranate molasses, and finish the dish by sprinkling the pomegranate seeds, pine nuts, rose petals and chopped parsley over the top.An additional drizzle of olive oil adds a nice glossy finish.


If you’re not using a BBQ, heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Put the par-boiled cauli in a roasting tin, brush liberally with the butter, then roast for 45 minutes-1 hour (depending on the size of the cauliflower) until tender and charred, brushing with butter a couple of times during cooking.

Dried rose petals are available from Middle Eastern supermarkets and online.

Nutritional Information

  • Kcals 410
  • Fat 36.1g
  • Saturates 15g
  • Carbs 6.8g
  • Fibre 6.2g
  • Protein 11.4g
  • Salt 1.9g