Recipe: Ruth Pretty’s Turkish Baked Cauliflower with Spiced Lamb & Tomato Sauce

The bed of spiced lamb mince sauce packs some serious flavour in this hearty winter dish.

Recipe: Ruth Pretty

Serves 6


2 tablespoons olive oil
375g lean lamb mince
1 small onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes in juice
3 roasted piquillo peppers (sold in jars in supermarkets), chopped
2 teaspoons finely chopped red chilli (deseed chilli first for a milder flavour)
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon flaky sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 medium/large whole cauliflower (including leaves and stalk)


Heat oven to 180°C.

On the stovetop heat a tablespoon of the olive oil in a 25cm to 28cm lidded casserole, add the mince and cook on a low temperature for 5 to 7 minutes or until just cooked. Tip mince into a colander to drain fat and set aside.

Return the casserole to the heat, add the remaining oil. Soften the onion for 3 to 4 minutes (don’t brown it), add the garlic for 1 to 2 minutes or until soft then add the tomato paste and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until a thick paste is formed.

Add the canned tomatoes and their juice, piquillo peppers, chilli, cumin and coriander, salt, pepper and mince. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring regularly, until the sauce is richly coloured and thickened.

Carefully lower the whole cauliflower into the sauce, cut-side down. Bake for 45 minutes with the lid on the casserole. The cauliflower should be meltingly tender. Spoon sauce into serving bowls then top with a portion of cauliflower.

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To make a vegan version of this recipe, replace the mince with the same weight of cooked, drained and rinsed canned beans (such as black beans).

NZ Life and Leisure This article first appeared in NZ Life & Leisure Magazine.
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