broccoli + cauliflower + pomegranates with tahini

If you've been hanging around these parts for some time now, you've probably heard all about my Thanksgiving family tradition.  

It's around this time of year that I have a lot of conversations that go a little like this:

Person: "Thanksgiving is coming up ... I bet it's your favorite holiday, I bet you already have your menu planned."

Me: "Ummm, not exactly."

Person: "Oh stop. I bet you love to cook for everyone on Thanksgiving."

Me: "Ummm, no. Not really. Actually, we are going out to eat for Thanksgiving. We've been doing it for the past few years and I love it. I love to have someone else do the cooking, and I looooove that I do not have to do the dishes."

Person: *totally perplexed*

I have this same conversation about 10 time between October up until Thanksgiving, and I can completely understand the confused reaction I sometimes get. Every year I go through the ... I miss cooking for Thanksgiving, I am going to cook again this year ... and then I run it by Michael and he swiftly changes my mind. The truth is, we really enjoy going out with our family on Thanksgiving. 

Thanksgiving for me over the past few years has become a holiday where me and the fam get spoiled. Someone else does the cooking, someone else scoops an extra serving of stuffing onto my plate, someone else makes an apples pie from scratch, and someone else gets to run the dishwasher more than one time during the day. I get to relax, my family members get to relax, and we get to enjoy some really good food that someone else made. I love it. 

Even though I am not cooking this year, that does not mean I will not share a few things that would be on my menu if I was cooking. This colorful dish would definitely be on the menu. 

In the past when I have cooked, I like to keep things simple and traditional, but I also like to modernize classic dishes. My definition of modernize in the kitchen is all about using less processed ingredients, less butter, less ...... marshmellows.  

This is a healthy, colorful dish that combines broccoli and cauliflower, two vegetables that you would normally find on a Thanksgiving table.  Tahini and pomegranates are not ingredients that are normally found on a more traditional Thanksgiving table, but I think once they make their debut, they will be a welcomed addition. 

Pomegranate seeds have that wonderful pop that adds an ever so slight bit of tart sweetness. They also add a festive, colorful tone to the dish. The tahini adds a creamy element without adding cream. This side dish won't leave you feeling overindulged. 

This takes about 20 minutes to prep and cook, so it is the perfect, easy addition to a big meal. You can also pre-cook the broccoli and cauliflower in the cast iron pan, and wait to put it in the oven to warm up right before you are ready to serve. 

Purple cauliflower used to be somewhat of an anomaly, but recently I've been seeing it everywhere. Grocery stores, farmers markets, sometimes it has taken the place of white cauliflower all together. I hope it is as easy for you to find as it was for me. While it has the same flavor as the white, it really make the colors in this dish explode off the plate. 


broccoli + cauliflower + pomegranates with tahini

several people as a side dish


1 small head of purple cauliflower (if you can find it, if not just used 1 large head of white), chopped into florets
1 small head of white cauliflower, chopped into florets
1 large head of broccoli, chopped into florets
a couple tablespoons of olive oil
1 onion, sliced thin (preferably with a mandolin)
a pinch of parsley, chopped
a handful of chived or green onion, chopped
salt + pepper
a squeeze of lemon juice

for the tahini:
¼ cup of tahini
about ½ cup of water
3 tablespoons of brown rice vinegar
a dash of sesame oil
salt / pepper / red pepper flakes


  • Pre-heat the oven to 350º. 
  • Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a cast iron skillet. Add the cauliflower and broccoli and cook, undisturbed, for several minutes until the bottoms have started to brown. Add in the onions at this point and stir to turn the vegetables on the other side and cook for another few minutes. Season with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice. 
  • Place the vegetables, in the cast iron pan, into the oven and cook for about 5-10 minutes, until the vegetables are fork tender.
  • While the vegetables are cooking, make the tahini by placing all of the ingredients into a food processor. Pulse until smooth. Taste, and adjust and seasoning as necessary. 
  • When your vegetables are ready, allow them to cool for at least 10 minutes before finishing. Once they've cooled, drizzle the tahini over top, sprinkle the pomegranates all over and finish with the herbs and sesame seeds. Serve immediately, warm.