Za’atar Roasted Cauliflower with Dates and Pine Nuts
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.
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.
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!
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’s tons of options to choose from when roasting vegetables. But here’s a few favorites to get you started.
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- Roasted Broccoli
- Garlic Herb Roasted Potatoes
- Roasted Sweet Potatoes
- Roasted Butternut Squash
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!
Za’atar Roasted Cauliflower with Dates and Pine Nuts
- 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon za’atar spice
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- 6 Medjool dates, pitted and diced
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, plus extra sprigs for garnish
- 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.
- 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.
- Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with extra sprigs of thyme, if you'd like.
Originally posted February 2016, but updated to include new information.
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!
Homemade za’atar spice is quite easy! Glad you got to make your own and enjoy this side dish Alan.
Made! Awesome recipe change up for me to get my cauliflower in! The pine nuts make this!
Looks delicious. Do you serve this warm or cold?
This is typically served warm!
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!!
Glad you’re loving this cauliflower recipe Kelly!
We make this very often, love it. I add onions and garlic and sometimes sun-dried tomatoes.
Glad you love this side dish Jillian! Love the idea of adding sun-dried tomatoes to this as well :)
A little to sweet for me, I’ll test with less dates next time. But definitely a delicious recipe!
Made this today. I just added cauliflower to the grocery list in order to make it again very soon. Love Za’atar seasoning.
Another wonderful recipe from Lisa!
The recipe was delicious and easy to prepare. It will definitely be added to my rotation!
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?
Thanks for catching that! It will be 425°F. As for the thyme, you can use dried if you don’t have fresh.
This dish is outstanding! I made this for dinner and the flavors and textures blended together perfectly! Thank you for all your yummy recipes!
Glad you enjoyed this roasted cauliflower dish Teresa!
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.
You’re too kind, Hillary! I’m glad you enjoyed this new recipe. :)
Easy and very delicious. Couldn’t leave a photo as it was gone before I thought of it.
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! :)
Glad you enjoyed this roasted cauliflower recipe!
Hi can I prep the dates a day in advance or reheat before serving ?
Can you make this in advance and reheat or reheat leftovers
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 friends
I get cravings for this recipe. It’s a fantastic, complex blend of flavours. Spark it up a bit more with some crumbled feta.
Hi Andrea- Can never go wrong with roasted cauliflower :) Love the idea of crumbled feta as well!
This is wonderful recipe. Made a simple tahini sauce to drizzle over and it was perfect.
Hi Judy – Wonderful! Love the addition of tahini sauce over this as well :)
This is very easy and tastes great. I had it with falafel. I’ll definitely make this again.
Hi Kathy – Definitely a tasty cauliflower side dish :)
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.
That’s so wonderful to hear Barbara! Sometimes simple is best. ;)
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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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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
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!!
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!
So glad you liked it Kathy! :) x
I love the smell of spices baking in the oven too! :)
First you get to smell it….then devour it! :) x
Definitely can’t beat fresh herbs and spices – they truly do add a wonderful flavor kick and fabulous aroma to any dish.
Yes! Funny how it’s always the simple, little things, right? ;) x