I’ve recently vowed not to bother with vegan cheese. I bought some eye-wateringly expensive vegan ‘parmesan’ recently and it was useless. I wouldn’t say it was unpleasant, and I wouldn’t say it was nothing like real parmesan, but for the money I wouldn’t bother again. Its was also kinda grey in colour which really put me off. I’m a fan of brutalist architecture but I don’t want my food to look like concrete.
What is parmesan anyway, it’s just extra salt and tang right? With a little effort we can attempt to replicate that tangy saltiness by using better dressings and seasonings. In this dish I’ve added a bit of pickling liquid for the lentil dressing and dressed the cumin roasted cauliflower with tahini.
A portion of cooked green or Puy lentils
Half a head of cauliflower cut into florets
A couple of handfuls of chopped fresh herbs, parsley, dill, mint, coriander
For the tahini dressing
Mix a couple of spoons of tahini paste with cold water a squeeze of lemon juice and half a crushed garlic clove. Season to taste.
Pre-heat the oven to medium hot.
Cook the lentils according to instructions. Add a bit of stock powder or a stock cube for extra flavour. When the lentils are cooked, drain and set aside.
Add the prepared cauliflower to a large bowl and dress with a little vegetable oil. Sprinkle with cumin powder turning the the heads to ensure they are evenly coated. You can also add a dusting of tumeric which gives a better colour to the finished dish.
Season the cauliflower and tip onto a roasting dish. You may need to dishes to keep enough space between the florets. If they are too close, they’ll steam instead of roast which is not what we want.
Roast the cauliflower in the middle of a medium to hot oven for about 20 – 30 minutes. They should be soft to the prick of a fork and slighly charred at the edges when done.
Chop the herbs and add to the lentils with a couple of glugs of olive oil and a teaspoon of pickling liquid. Season to taste. Pile into a serving bowl and add the roast veg. Drizzle with the tahini dressing and sprinkle with a few nigella seeds or extra herbs for garnish.