Za’atar Roasted Cauliflower with Dates and Pine Nuts


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Roasted cauliflower tossed with za’atar spice, toasted pine nuts, sticky sweet dates, and fresh thyme. Now that’s a vegetarian side dish I can get behind.

Roasted cauliflower with za'atar spice in a bowl.

The Secret To Roasted Cauliflower – Za’atar Spice!

If there’s one piece of advice I can give you for elevating basic roasted vegetables – it’s using fresh herbs and spices. And since cauliflower is much lighter in flavor, za’atar spice and fresh thyme gives this vegetarian dish layers of earthy, herby, tangy, and nutty flavor.

Not to mention, the toasted pine nuts and sweet Medjool dates really makes this the best roasted cauliflower dishes ever. So if you’re in a pinch and need some bangin’ veggies to round out a meal – this side dish will impress every time.

Ingredients for roasted cauliflower on a table

What’s In This Roasted Cauliflower Recipe

Good news – everything in this recipe is pantry-friendly. Anything that’s leftover can also be used for many other dishes where you need added texture or flavor. No waste here! 

  • Cauliflower: Just one head is needed for 4 servings. So if you’re serving a larger crowd, grab another head and double the rest of the ingredients. 
  • Za’atar Spice: You can find za’atar spice online or in a few health stores. But if you’re one to make spices yourself, it’s really easy to make at home with my za’atar spice recipe
  • Pine Nuts: Pine nuts are my favorite for a soft texture and mild nutty taste. Especially in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes. 
  • Medjool Dates: The soft dates add a sticky sweetness that balances the earthy za’atar
  • Thyme: Make sure to use fresh thyme – it’ll make all the difference. 

Find the printable recipe with measurements below.

How To Roast Cauliflower 

Roasting is honestly one of my favorite ways to cook veggies. It gives them a crisp, golden brown exterior, with a soft and perfectly cooked interior. Plus, it’s pretty hands off once they go in the oven. Who doesn’t love that combo? So first, let’s get your oven preheated to 425°F (220°C). 

  • Prep the cauliflower. On a baking sheet, toss the cauliflower florets with some olive oil, the za’atar spice, salt and pepper. 
  • Roasting time. Cook the cauliflower for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown. Make sure to toss the cauliflower halfway through so it’s evenly cooked.
  • Prep the pine nuts and dates. While the cauliflower is cooking, toast the pine nuts for 1 to 2 minutes. Then chop up the dates and thyme. 
  • Toss and serve. Add the cauliflower to a large serving bowl, and toss with the pine nuts, dates, and thyme. Your dish is ready to serve!
A large bowl of roasted cauliflower with za'atar spice

Storing Oven Roasted Cauliflower 

In the likelihood you have leftovers, roasted cauliflower will keep for up to 3 to 4 days in the fridge in a sealed container.

Roasted Vegetables For Days! 

Lucky for you, there are tons of options to choose from when roasting vegetables. But here are a few favorites to get you started. And if you’ve got an air fryer, give this air fryer cauliflower a try!

This za’atar roasted cauliflower will always hit the spot for a flavorsome side. Once you make it, let me know what you think in a comment below!

A bowl of roasted cauliflower

Za’atar Roasted Cauliflower with Dates and Pine Nuts

5 from 20 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan


Roasted cauliflower tossed with za’atar spice, toasted pine nuts, sticky sweet dates, and fresh thyme – the best vegetarian dish ever!



  • Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Place the cauliflower florets on a baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil. Sprinkle with za'atar spice, salt and pepper and toss to combine. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown, stirring halfway through.
    A sheet pan with roasted cauliflower on it
  • While the cauliflower is cooking, heat a small pan on medium heat. Toast the pine nuts in a dry pan over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • In a large mixing bowl, stir together the roasted cauliflower, pine nuts, dates, and thyme.
    A bowl with roasted cauliflower ingredients
  • Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with extra sprigs of thyme, if you'd like.
    A big white bowl of roasted cauliflower


Calories: 289kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Sodium: 626mg | Potassium: 745mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 27g | Vitamin A: 119IU | Vitamin C: 71mg | Calcium: 79mg | Iron: 3mg
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Keyword: roasted cauliflower, roasted cauliflower recipes, za’atar roasted cauliflower
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

Originally posted February 2016, but updated to include new information.

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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Recipe Rating


  1. I had planned to make this tonight but realized I had used up all of my za’atar. Luckily, I clicked on the link to find your recipe and had all the ingredients to make my own batch of fresh za’atar. I loved the flavor combinations in this dish. Another a winner from Downshiftology!5 stars

  2. Truly excellent! One of the best recipes I’ve ever made — OF ALL TIME! — that I’ve found on Pinterest! Thank you! It’s a must-make!!5 stars

    1. Glad you love this side dish Jillian! Love the idea of adding sun-dried tomatoes to this as well :)

  3. Made this today. I just added cauliflower to the grocery list in order to make it again very soon. Love Za’atar seasoning.

  4. 400 or 425? In the description it says the former, in the recipe, the latter.

    Also, I don’t have fresh thyme. Should I bother with dried?

    1. Thanks for catching that! It will be 425°F. As for the thyme, you can use dried if you don’t have fresh.

  5. This dish is outstanding! I made this for dinner and the flavors and textures blended together perfectly! Thank you for all your yummy recipes!5 stars

  6. I ❤️ How you teach us to build flavors and then offer ways to use those homemade pantry staples in a dish.  So fun, so economical and always so flavorful.  Natural teacher, Lisa.  Thank you.5 stars

  7. I was looking for an oven baked cauliflower recipe specifically on Downshiftology, and found this. Just made it and I really like it. :) Thank you for the recipe, Lisa! :)5 stars

  8. Yummy healthy recipe great with many options. Za’atar is Magic’s spice we all should use and learn more about. This a wonderful recipe to introduce many flavors to family and friends5 stars

  9. I get cravings for this recipe. It’s a fantastic, complex blend of flavours. Spark it up a bit more with some crumbled feta. 5 stars

    1. Hi Andrea- Can never go wrong with roasted cauliflower :) Love the idea of crumbled feta as well!

  10. I made this dish along with the salmon paddies for my Christmas dinner. I thought it would not be very good because it was so simple, but yum at the first bite, then more yum. I’ll be making it again and again. 5 stars

  11. Lisa, I just discovered this recipe, and your site via my Pinterest suggestions’ board. Am thrilled, and have shared across all my social media with rave reviews, and I haven’t even cooked, yet! It just sounds totally divine. As I say, “Food Art” at its best! Thank you SO much!! Congratulations, and many more!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. I’m so thrilled Pinterest suggested my recipe to you, Victoria! Thanks so much for sharing the love for it. It’s definitely an uber popular recipe…gorgeous, tasty and healthy. Though I’ll take the “Food Art” compliment as well! ;) x

      1. Hi Lisa,

        Sweet. Thanks!! I have a somewhat complicated, couscous dish which feeds an army! Someday I’ll put it up, but just don’t have the time. Business calls!

        I consulted and used 3 different Middle East cooking tweaks on grand scale to create this sensation!! Labor of love!!

  12. Made this tonight and really enjoyed it. In trying to curb the calories, I cut the oil for roasting to 2 tbs and instead of simmering the dates in olive oil, I simmered them in balsamic vinegar and it was very tasty!

  13. Definitely can’t beat fresh herbs and spices – they truly do add a wonderful flavor kick and fabulous aroma to any dish.