Harissa cauliflower pilaf

Evoke the Middle East with our veggie harissa cauliflower pilaf with a heady combination of fruit, nuts and spice. Cook it in the oven for lovely fluffy rice

  • Prep:20 mins
    Cook:1 hrs
    plus 1 hr soaking
  • Serves 4
  • Easy

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 687
  • fat 22g
  • saturates 2g
  • carbs 94g
  • sugars 29g
  • fibre 11g
  • protein 23g
  • salt 0.7g


  • 300g basmati rice
  • 1 red onion, finely sliced
  • 2 lemons, 1 juiced, 1 cut into wedges
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 4 tbsp harissa
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large or 2 medium cauliflower, broken into large florets, stalk chopped, large leaves roughly chopped
  • pinch of saffron
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 700ml hot vegan vegetable stock
  • 100g sultanas
  • 100g flaked almonds, toasted until golden brown
  • ½ small bunch of dill, chopped, plus extra to serve
  • 400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 50g pomegranate seeds (optional)


Make it your own

Toppings: Try a spoonful of yogurt swirled with more harissa, a mix of tahini and yogurt loosened with a little lemon juice and water, or yogurt rippled with a glug of pomegranate molasses for a sweet note.

Add meat

Roast chicken thighs with the cauliflower and shred the meat with two forks before stirring it through the pilaf.


  1. Wash the rice really well, then leave to soak in cold water for 1 hr. Put the onion in a small bowl and toss with the lemon juice, the sugar and a pinch of salt. Leave to pickle while you make the pilaf.

  2. Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Whisk 2 tbsp harissa, the garlic and oil in a large bowl, then add the cauliflower and toss to coat in the sauce. Season, then tip into a roasting tin and roast for 30 mins until tender and golden.

  3. Meanwhile, mix the saffron, bay leaves, stock and 2 tbsp harissa in a pan over a very low heat to keep warm while the cauli roasts.

  4. Remove the cauli from the oven, tip into a dish and squeeze over the juice from one of the lemon wedges. Drain the rice and tip into the roasting tin. Pour over the infused stock, and mix well. Stir in the sultanas, half the almonds, the dill, chickpeas, and half the cauliflower. Cover the tin with a double layer of foil, sealing well, then bake for 30 mins until the rice is tender and stock is absorbed.

  5. Fluff up the rice with a fork, then fold in the remaining cauliflower (this creates a contrast of cauli textures). Scatter over the extra dill, the remaining almonds, the pomegranate seeds, if using, the pickled red onions and remaining lemon wedges to squeeze over.

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