Harissa cauliflower pilaf served in a tray

Harissa cauliflower pilaf

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(15 ratings)

Prep: 20 mins Cook: 1 hr plus 1 hr soaking


Serves 4

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

Nutrition and extra info

  • Dairy-free
  • Egg-free
  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan

Nutrition: Per serving

  • kcal687
  • fat22g
  • saturates2g
  • carbs94g
  • sugars29g
  • fibre11g
  • protein23g
  • salt0.7g
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  • 300g basmati rice
  • 1 red onion, finely sliced
  • 2 lemons, 1 juiced, 1 cut into wedges



    Oval in shape with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile…

  • 2 tsp sugar



    Honey and syrups made from concentrated fruit juice were the earliest known sweeteners. Today,…

  • 4 tbsp harissa



    This hot, aromatic paste made from chilli and assorted spices and herbs is spicy and…

  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 1 large or 2 medium cauliflower, broken into large florets, stalk chopped, large leaves roughly chopped



    A brassica, like cabbage and broccoli, cauliflower is a mass of tiny, tightly packed flower…

  • pinch of saffron



    The stigma of a type of crocus, saffron threads have a pungent and distinctive aroma and flavour…

  • 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)


  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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Comments, questions and tips

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Anna Nicklin's picture
Anna Nicklin
23rd Feb, 2020
This recipe is SO delicious. Love love love! I paired it with Yotam Ottolenghis tomato & yoghurt side: https://thehappyfoodie.co.uk/recipes/ottolenghis-hot-charred-cherry-tomatoes-with-cold-yoghurt
Kate J
23rd Feb, 2020
This is delicious and made a very tasty veggie lunch. I didn’t have dill but had some coriander in the fridge so I added that instead. The harissa yoghurt suggestion in Recipe Tips worked very well too. Will make this again.
17th Feb, 2020
Made this tonight and is was really delicious . Very generous servings as enough left for lunch for 2 after feeding 3 hungry adults. I did have to add quite a bit more stock about halfway through cooking but otherwise followed the recipe. I have never roasted cauliflower before as always assumed it would just dry up but will definitely make this again.
29th Jan, 2020
A great recipe! I served it with natural yoghurt mixed with tahini, lemon juice and a little water. Divine!
26th Jan, 2020
Really good recipe. Great as main meal, or as a side.
22nd Jan, 2020
Just delicious. Lovely flavours. We had it on its own with a green salad night one and left overs with salmon darnes with creme fraiche spinach.Great dish
14th Jan, 2020
Delicious! My children don't like cauliflower or chickpeas, but this was a winner for all of us. I added slightly less harissa to ensure that it wasn't too spicy, but otherwise followed the recipe to the letter and it was perfect. Sadly, I didn't have pomegranate, but I did have yogurt with pomegranate molasses on the side and that was the perfect accompaniment. Next time (because we will be eating leftovers tomorrow!) I will add pomegranate seeds as I suspect these little jewels will be the icing on the cake
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