With more and more people opting to go meat-free, chances are, you’ll be catering for a vegan or veggie at your Christmas dinner table this year. To make it simple, delicious and healthy, we asked the experts at Mindful Chef to conjure up some recipe magic.

In this recipe, a whole cauliflower is rubbed with harissa paste – a blend of red peppers, chillies and cumin – then roasted. It’s drizzled with protein-rich tahini and pomegranate molasses, then sprinkled with fragrant fresh herbs and crunchy toasted flaked almonds, to serve alongside za’tar-spiced chickpeas.

Roasted whole harissa cauliflower, spiced chickpeas and tahini dressing

PREP 15 min, COOK 40 min
SERVES 3
Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Vegan

1 medium cauliflower
1 reduced-salt vegetable stock cube
1 red onion, cut into 1cm-thick wedges
240g chickpeas from a can, drained
1 tbsp za’tar spice
2 tsp cumin seeds
Spray olive oil
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp harissa paste (we used Belazu)
40g kale, roughly chopped
120g cherry tomatoes, halved
1tbsp pomegranate molasses
2tbsp light tahini
10g each fresh coriander and parsley, chopped
20 toasted flaked almonds
Seeds from 1/2 pomegranate

1. Preheat the oven to 220C/fan, gas mark 7. Boil a large kettle. Trim the cauliflower and remove the leaves (reserve these for later).

2. Put the cauliflower head-first into a medium pan and cover with boiling water. Crumble in the stock cube. Boil for 15 min with the lid on until the cauliflower starts to soften. Remove it from the water and drain.

3. Meanwhile, put the onion wedges and chickpeas in an ovenproof dish and stir through the za’atar and cumin seeds. Spray with olive oil.

4. In a small bowl, mix the harissa with 1 tbsp olive oil.

5. Make a space in the middle of the chickpeas and onions and sit the cauliflower in this gap, with the head facing upwards. Rub the cauliflower with the harissa mix until it’s fully coated, then roast in the oven for 25 min until it turns golden. After 15 mins, add the reserved cauliflower leaves, kale and cherry tomatoes to the dish.

6. Mix half of the pomegranate molasses with the tahini and 2 tsp cold water to make a smooth sauce (add a little more/less water to get the consistency you like). Stir in the remaining pomegranate molasses to the chickpeas. Drizzle the tahini sauce over the cauliflower and top with the herbs, toasted flaked almonds and pomegranate seeds.