Fresh off the plane from a healthful food conference, I am armed and dangerous with new and decadent recipes — easy to prepare yet loaded with flavor. And in this case, it comes from roasting and using one exotic spice.

This time around we’ll be roasting cauliflower, golden beets and chickpeas, tossing them with tomatoes, baby greens, parsley and dressing it all with a lemony za’atar dressing.

What is za’atar, you ask? Za’atar is a spice blend made with ground dried thyme, oregano, marjoram, or some combination thereof, mixed with toasted sesame seeds, and salt. Pure yum.

This is another simple and straight-forward recipe that can be changed up here and there to suit your needs. The cauliflower is a must. If you have roasted cauliflower before, you know exactly what I mean.

The beets can changed up using either red or golden. I preferred the golden here simply because it is less messy to work with. Red beets will stain the other vegetables when tossed together while cooking. I also kept my cauliflower and beets as separate as possible during roasting. It wasn’t too hard to do and kept the color of the beets from discoloring the cauliflower. Chickpeas are the perfect bean for this recipe, adding protein and texture.

The dressing is very simple, only requiring four ingredients, and can be prepared while the cauliflower, chickpeas and beets are roasting. If you can’t access za’atar, this salad will be just as fabulous with a simple dressing of garlic, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. But, I do encourage you to try the exotic addition if you’ve never had it. I add it to my eggs, too!

Once vegetables are done, mix everything together and give a good toss. Taste and add more seasoning if desired.

*A note on the greens—if using beets that have nice, healthy looking greens on top, you can use that in place of other baby greens. Alternately, use any type of baby greens you prefer such as kale, spinach, chard, or arugula.

Roasted Cauliflower, Chickpea and Beet Bowl

1 medium head organic cauliflower, cut into florets

2 – 3 golden beets, diced

1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (Rancho Gordo is my favorite brand…and local!)

1 – 2 Tbsp. olive oil

Small handful cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

1 – 2 handfuls organic baby greens (kale, spinach, arugula, chard, etc.) or chopped beet greens

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1 -2 Tbsp. pumpkin seeds

sea salt (or garlic salt) and fresh cracked pepper, to taste



Enjoy food? Get dining and recipe ideas sent to your inbox

Za’atar Dressing

2 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

1 heaping tsp. za’atar (available at Whole Spice)

2 cloves garlic, minced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper.

Roasting: Place the prepared cauliflower on one side of the baking sheet and the diced beets on the other. Sprinkle the chickpeas evenly over top both the cauliflower and beets. Add a small drizzle of olive oil over top, gently toss each vegetable with your fingers, making sure to keep them on their sides as much as possible. Sprinkle with a little garlic salt (or sea salt and dash or two of garlic powder). Place baking sheet on the middle rack and roast for 40 minutes, stirring half way through.

Dressing: In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, vinegar, za’atar and garlic. If not using za’atar, add a few twists of fresh cracked pepper for a lemony-pepper dressing.

Mix together: In a large serving bowl, add the greens of choice, roasted vegetables and chickpeas, tomatoes, and parsley. Top with the dressing and give a good stir. Add salt & pepper to taste.

Serve: Serve in individual bowls with a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds and sliced avocado.

Note: If beets are on the larger side, use 2. If on the smaller side, use 3.

Local culinary coach Karen Schuppert will share more of her recent food discoveries in the coming weeks. What would whet your appetite? Let her know –