A hearty meal of romanesco steaks roasted with za’atar, French lentils, and a tangy yogurt tahini dressing.
Every winter I look forward to the sight of romanesco at the Little Italy farmers market. If you haven’t seen them, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. Romanesco belongs to the brassica family along with broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, kale, and many more vegetables but is hands down the most stunning vegetable I have ever seen. Their spiky and symmetrical florets are arranged in a logarithmic spiral called fractal nature and set them apart from broccoli and cauliflower. I love roasting them for a salad, making soup, or throwing them on a crudite platter. Continuing with our meatless Monday initiative, I’m excited to share a recipe for za’atar roasted romanesco steaks with lentils and a yogurt tahini dressing.
The romanesco head is sliced lengthwise into “steaks,” seasoned with a delicious Middle Easter herb blend called za’atar, and roasted to perfection. Za’atar is a mix of spices that include sesame seeds, thyme, oregano, and sumac which imparts a nutty and citrusy taste. You can make your own za’atar blend or buy premixed ones. Given how mild the romanesco tastes, I needed a seasoning like za’atar to bring some bold flavor to this dish. To maximize the flavor of romanesco during the roasting process, lay the steaks in a single layer so they have the chance to caramelize. I added one of my favorite pulses, French puy lentils, to bring additional protein to the salad and create a complete meal. The whole dish is tied together with a bright and punchy dressing of yogurt and tahini. After trying these zaatar roasted romanesco steaks, you might never go back to steaming romanesco again!
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A hearty meal of za'atar romanesco steaks and lentils served with a tangy yogurt-tahini dressing.
- 1 romanesco head
- 1 tbsp za’atar herb
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tbsps olive oil extra virgin
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper freshly ground
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 cup French (Puy) lentils
- 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
- 1 tbsp tahini
- 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup lemon juice freshly sqeezed
- salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut the romanesco into half inch steaks, leaving the stem at the bottom to hold the florets together.
In a bowl, add olive oil, garlic, and za’atar and mix to combine.
Place the romanesco steaks in a single layer on a large tray lined with parchment paper.
Brush both sides with the za’atar mixture and season with salt and pepper.
Bake for 25 minutes, flipping them halfway to ensure even roasting and caramelization.
While the romanesco is roasting, bring a pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat and add the lentils. Decrease the heat to maintain a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Once the lentils are tender, drain under cold water, and set aside.
To make the dressing, place the tahini, yogurt, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a bowl and mix to combine.
When ready to serve, divide the romanesco steaks, lentils, and pomegranate seeds onto salad plates. Drizzle with yogurt tahini dressing.
-When picking romanesco, pick firm heads that are heavy for their weight and show no signs of discoloration or sunburn.
-Extra dressing can be kept in a tightly lidded container for up to a week.