Burnt Cauliflower

Burnt Cauliflower with Lime & Tofu Aioli

Burnt Cauliflower with Lime & Tofu Aioli. This is the plant-based meal that’ll convert every carnivore you’ll ever meet. Seriously, it’s one of the best things you’ll ever put in your mouth. It’s great for cooking for a lot of people too, as you can make it in minutes and the only real limit is how much cauliflower you can fit in your oven.

Serves 2


For the cauliflower:

  • 1 whole cauliflower
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 15g (0.5 oz) coriander (cilantro), chopped, plus extra leaves, to serve
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lime, sliced, to serve
  • 1 pinch sumac, for sprinkling

For the tofu aioli:

  • 300g (10.5 oz) silken tofu
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 150ml (5.5 fl oz) vegetable oil


  1. Heat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas 7.
  2. Find a pot with a lid that’s big enough to contain your cauliflower whole, place it inside and fill with 5cm (2in) of water.
  3. Put the lid on and place the pot on a medium heat for about 7 minutes to steam and tenderise your cauliflower.
  4. Cover the bottom of a shallow ovenproof pan with oil and heat it on the stove until it almost starts to smoke.
  5. Cut your now-quite-tender cauliflower in half and place it into your pan. As soon as it hits the hot pan, put the whole pan into the oven. You’re going to leave it to char, turning it as it does so. You’re looking for proper burning here: your halves should go dark brown, almost black in places. Surprisingly, this’ll only take 10 minutes or so — turn your halves over halfway through.
  6. Remove the cauliflower from the oven and place it on some paper towels or baking paper to cool off. In the meantime, make your aioli by throwing your tofu, garlic, lemon juice, turmeric, salt and oil into a blender and blitzing until smooth.
  7. Toss your cooled cauliflower in a bowl with your chopped coriander (cilantro) and olive oil — you’re looking to give it a proper coating.
  8. Serve plated up with the tofu aioli, some coriander leaves, a squeeze of lime and sprinkle over a little sumac for colour.

Recipe from Grind: A Modern Guide to City Living by Teddy Robinson (Quadrille, £16.99) Photography ©Luke Albert.