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Za'atar Roasted Cauliflower with Herb Whipped Feta

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 1 hr
  • Calories: 232
Za'atar Roasted Cauliflower on a plate with Herb Whipped Feta in a small bowl

You may think you like cauliflower, but prepare yourself to love it. This roasted cauliflower with za'atar and herb-whipped feta is a simple side dish that absolutely bursts with flavor!

Roasted Cauliflower Is Simple, but It Doesn’t Have to Be Boring

While plain roasted cauliflower is pretty darn good all on its own, with those crispy edges and tender, almost creamy insides, it also is relatively neutral in flavor and so it takes well to a host of flavors. In other words, it’s a terrific jumping off point for playing around in the kitchen. This recipe shows how exciting it can be, and how well it gets along with big flavors. Za’atar is a wonderful partner for cauliflower, with its nutty, lemony, herbaceous flavor. You could stop at the za’atar roasted cauliflower, honestly, and have a wonderful side dish. But this creamy, tangy, garlicky whipped feta takes very little time to throw together and makes this recipe into a scene-stealing side that really dresses up otherwise-basic meals, like simple roasted salmon or grilled chicken. If you’re looking for a light meal, you could even serve this as a vegetarian main, with a big salad and some good bread.

head of cauliflower on a plate
head of cauliflower on a plate

What Is Zaatar Made Of?

Za’atar is an earthy, tangy, herby, nutty, generally fantastic Middle Eastern spice blend. As with many spice blends, za’atar ingredients aren’t so much set in stone. Rather, they vary quite a bit from brand to brand, but you can always expect that lemony-nutty-herby flavor profile. Marjoram is often in the mix, along with oregano, thyme, toasted sesame seeds and sumac. Sometimes there’s salt in the mix, or dried dill. If you’re in a bind and you just can’t get your hands on zaatar, you can make an acceptable za’atar substitute by combining oregano, marjoram and thyme. It won’t be the same—and we’d really miss the uniquely tart zip that za’atar has—but your cauliflower would still be roasty and delicious, and whipped feta is whipped feta! It’ll be totally good.

cauliflower on a baking sheet drizzled in olive oil and sprinkled it with za'atar and salt
cream cheese, feta cheese, salt, lemon and dill

Everything You’ll Need to Make the Best Roasted Cauliflower Recipe

Za’atar is the dominant flavor in this roasted cauliflower recipe—it’s in the whipped feta and on the cauliflower itself, too. A bit of fresh dill and lemon juice in the feta echo its tangy, vibrant flavor, and brighten the dish even more. While whipped feta is good on, well, everything, when it accompanies roasted cauliflower it’s like bread and butter, salt and pepper, you know...pretty much a match made in heaven. The earthy, sweet flavor of the slightly crunchy cauliflower mixed with the tanginess of fresh feta, herbs, and za’atar whipped to perfection make for one incredibly delicious, and yes, seriously fancy, side dish. Here’s everything you’ll need to make it:

  • Cauliflower

  • Olive oil

  • Za'atar

  • Parsley

  • Feta

  • Whipped cream cheese

  • Garlic

  • Fresh dill

  • Lemon juice

whipped feta dip in a small food processor
whipped feta dip in a bowl with fresh dill and a spoon

How to Roast Cauliflower

Oh, cauliflower. Those little white florets never really made much of an impression on us in our youth, when we strongly associated it with store-bought veggie trays and never really saw the point of preparing it at home. Roasted cauliflower though, is another story entirely! Hello, game changer! When cut into little florets and roasted in the oven at a nice, high heat, cauliflower takes on a wonderful, nutty flavor, not to mention a super-satisfying texture. Here’s how to make some brassica magic:

  1. Cut the cauliflower heads into florets before rinsing, so that you can be sure to get them super clean in every last nook and cranny.

  2. Spread the florets out on a baking sheet, and toss them with olive oil, za’atar and salt.

  3. Roast! 45 minutes at 400°F.

  4. Time to make the feta! Pop all of the whipped feta ingredients in a food processor and whiz until it’s smooth.

  5. Serve! See, that wasn’t so hard, right?

Za'atar Roasted Cauliflower on a plate with a linen
Za'atar Roasted Cauliflower with Herb Whipped Feta in a bowl

More Cauliflower Recipes To Try

Tools You’ll Need

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Za'atar Roasted Cauliflower with Herb Whipped Feta

A Superstar Side Dish

Roasted cauliflower is great, and so therefore this fancy version is super extra great! We hope you agree with that calculus. If you make it, let us know how it goes! Share a photo and tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper so that we can see your stuff! Happy eating!

Za'atar Roasted Cauliflower with Herb Whipped Feta

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 1 hr
  • Calories: 232

Ingredients

  • 2 Heads cauliflower, broken up into small florets
  • 4 tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Za'atar spice
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • Parsley, optional for garnish

Herb Whipped Feta

  • 8 oz Feta
  • 4 oz Whipped cream cheese
  • 1 Garlic clove
  • 1/2 tbsp Fresh dill
  • 1 tbsp Za'atar spice
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Freshly squeezed lemon juice

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Spread cauliflower over a lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Toss until coated (add more if needed). Sprinkle with za’atar and salt.
  3. Roast on center rack for 45 minutes. If you want it a little crispier, roast for an additional 15 minutes.
  4. While the cauliflower is roasting add all ingredients for the whipped feta to a food processor. Blend on high speed for 3-4 minutes until smooth.
  5. Serve warm cauliflower with whipped feta, garnished with parsley. Enjoy!