Bonnie Stern’s Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Tahini and Z’hug

Canadian culinary legend Bonnie Stern shared her recipe for Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Tahini and Z’hug from her new book “Don’t Worry, Just Cook”, written with her daughter, Anna Rupert, and featuring a Foreword from Yotam Ottolenghi.

Roasted Cauliflower Steaks

Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Tahini and Z’hug

Serves 4 to 6


– 1 medium cauliflower (about 11/2 lb), trimmed at the base but left whole

– 2 Tbsp + 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

– 1 Tbsp honey

– 1 tsp kosher salt

– 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

– 11/2 cups cooked chickpeas

– 1 tsp harissa or other hot sauce

Suggested Toppings:

– 2 Tbsp roasted pine nuts

– 2 Tbsp roasted pumpkin seeds 2 Tbsp roasted sunflower seeds


For the Basic Tahini Sauce:

– 1/3 cup pure tahini

– 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice + more to taste

– 1/4 cup ice water + more as needed

– 1/2 tsp kosher salt

– Dash of hot sauce, optional

– 1 small garlic clove, grated, optional

– 1/4 tsp ground cumin, optional


For the Z’Hug:

– 2 cups packed fresh cilantro (about 1 bunch)

– 1 cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley (about 1/2 bunch)

– 1 or 2 jalapeño or serrano chilies, coarsely chopped with ribs and seeds for more spiciness

– 2 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped

– 1 tsp kosher salt

– 1/2 tsp ground cardamom 1/2 tsp ground cumin

– 1/4 tsp ground cloves

– 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil + more as needed



1. Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with parch- ment paper.

2. Carve the cauliflower by standing it up on a cutting board (the base should be trimmed so it can stand). Cut it vertically
into 1/2-inch slices. The middle slices will be whole, others will be chunky, and the edges may crumble a bit, but don’t worry, they all taste great once roasted. Arrange the slices and any broken pieces in a single layer on the lined baking sheet and drizzle with 2 Tbsp olive oil and the honey. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes without flipping.

3. Combine the chickpeas with 1 Tbsp olive oil and harissa. Sprinkle over the cauliflower and continue roasting for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the cauliflower has browned nicely and is tender.

4. For the tahini sauce: Place the tahini in a bowl or 2-cup glass measuring cup and whisk in the lemon The mixture will seize up. Don’t worry. Add the ice water gradually while whisking and the mixture will smooth out. Add additional water by the tablespoonful if it is too thick. The tahini will turn almost white. Add the salt and additional lemon juice to taste, along with the hot sauce, garlic, and cumin, if using. If you don’t want to make the tahini sauce by hand, you can blend all the ingredients in a blender or food processor.

5. For the z’hug: In a blender or food processor or by hand, coarsely chop the cilantro, parsley, chilies, and garlic. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the salt, cardamon, cumin, and cloves. Add the olive oil in a steady stream while mixing to make a paste.

6. Arrange the cauliflower steaks and pieces, and chickpeas in a shallow serving dish. Drizzle liberally with the tahini sauce and as much z’hug as you wish. Sprinkle with the pine nuts and seeds, if using.


– If you’re not using the tahini sauce right away, store it in the refrigerator, where it will keep for a few days. It will probably thicken up, but simply thin with ice water or lemon juice to taste when ready to use or serve.

– Store the Z’Hug in a tightly sealed jar in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or freeze it flat in a resealable plastic bag (to break off what you need) for up to a few months.

– Canned chickpeas are one of the best-canned foods. They make hummus quick and easy to prepare, even at the last minute. But if you have time, try making this recipe from dried chickpeas that you soak and cook yourself: Soak 1 cup dried chickpeas (these will yield about 2 to 2½ cups cooked) overnight in lots of water with 1/2 tsp baking soda. Drain and rinse. Cook in a large pot with lots of fresh water and another 1/2 tsp baking soda until very tender and almost falling apart, usually 40 to 50 minutes. Skim and discard any froth or chickpea skins that float to the surface. Start testing to see if the chickpeas are tender after about 30 minutes, but it can take over 1 hour depending on how old they are, how long they soaked, and many other factors. If you like chickpeas on top of your hummus, remove about 1/2 cup when fully cooked but still firm.


Don't Worry, Just Cook Cover

“I tell you not to worry because I’ve done all the worrying for you!”

Bonnie Stern, beloved teacher and bestselling cookbook author, wants nothing more than for you to feel like she’s in the kitchen cooking beside you.

In her latest cookbook, Don’t Worry, Just Cook, written with her daughter Anna Rupert (who has, in fact, been in the kitchen cooking beside Bonnie her whole life!), Bonnie and Anna are here to help cooks of all experiences foster comfort and connection through food.

With her trademark encouraging style and attention to detail, Bonnie writes recipes that are consistently delicious, widely appealing, and, as always, timeless. Like all of her cookbooks, Don’t Worry, Just Cook doesn’t simply give instructions to create a dish, it also shares stories, lessons, and kitchen wisdom that will build your cooking technique and confidence in the kitchen.

In this new book, you’ll find easy-to-follow recipes for all-day breakfasts, soups, starters, and side dishes, as well as breads and vegetarian, fish, and meat mains. And, for those wanting something sweet, Bonnie and Anna have included plenty of desserts! You’ll be amazed by how quickly such special dishes like Jeweled Roasted Salmon with Herbs and Sheet Pan Chicken with Lemon and Olives come together. The simplicity and beauty of dishes like Ja’ala Herb Salad with Lemon Honey Dressing and Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Tahini and Z’hug will impress even the cook! And the desserts, like the Pavlova Cake with Lemon Curd and Berries, Bonnie’s Rugelach, and S’mores Chocolate Bark have never been so fun or delicious.

Bonnie and Anna have also provided notes and variations to help you modify dishes for special diets, and have sprinkled in essays on topics that will resonate with all of us, from things not worth worrying about, to a love of leftovers and what to do with them. Bonnie and Anna’s warm voices and subtle humour come through on every page. With 125 enjoyable and thoughtful recipes, and stunning photography, home cooks will turn to this instant classic time and time again to nourish themselves and the people they love.



About Demian Vernieri 635 Articles
Demian is an Argentinian retired musician, avid gamer and editor for the Montréal Guardian, Toronto Guardian, Calgary Guardian and Vancouver Guardian websites.