The Canny Cook: Roasted cauliflower pittas with tahini dressing recipe

Spice mixes such as ras el hanout – a Moroccan blend with paprika, coriander and cumin – are a quick way to add flavour to meat and veg.

Eleanor maidment

One of the simplest, most joyful no-waste tips I’ve picked up is to use strawberry tops to infuse water. A chef I knew would add them (including the leaves) to a large jug of water with a handful of mint and a few slices of cucumber then leave it for a few hours before adding ice to serve. It’s a wonderful summer drink.

Other ways I use things we think of as waste is by adding tomato vines to the pan when making a sauce as they hold an intense tomato flavour, and making pea soup from the fresh pods (saving the peas for something else). I also like whizzing up a carrot-top pesto by swapping the usual basil for feathery green carrot tops and using flaked almonds instead of pine nuts (which are pricey). It is a marvellous thing that can be tossed with pasta, spread in sandwiches or is great with barbecued chicken.

But the most popular no-waste tip I have is for mash. Rather than peeling and boiling potatoes, I bake them (pierce all over with a fork and pop into a 200C oven for an hour). When cool enough to handle, halve and scoop out the insides for your mash. But the skins become the highlight: brushed with a little oil or butter, seasoned and roasted again until crisp, they make a wonderful side.

Roasted cauliflower pittas with tahini dressing recipe

Roasted cauliflower pittas with tahini dressing


  1. In a large mixing bowl whisk together 1 tbsp ras el hanout, 3 tbsp olive oil, zest and juice of 1/2 lemon and 2 crushed garlic cloves.
  2. Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7 and trim off the medium florets, reserving the leaves. Toss the florets and leaves into the bowl and coat with the spice mix. Spread over a large roasting tray and season. Roast for 25 minutes, turning half way.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the tahini, the zest and juice of 1/2 lemon, a small crushed garlic clove and 2-4 tbsp water to a smooth dressing.

SERVE Toast the pittas and split open, filling with the cauliflower and drizzling with the tahini dressing. Some chopped tomato, cucumber and red onion salad is nice in the pittas, too.

NOTE This cost assumes you already have some basic store-cupboard ingredient.

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*Prices taken from and correct at time of going to press

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