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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Zaatar roasted romanesco steaks with lentils and tahini dressing
- 1 romanesco head
- 1 tablespoon za’atar herb
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tbsps olive oil extra virgin
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper freshly ground
- 1 ½ cups water
- ½ cup French (Puy) lentils
- ¼ cup pomegranate seeds
Yogurt tahini dressing
- 1 tablespoon tahini
- ¼ cup Greek yogurt
- ¼ 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.