alive logo

Cauliflower Tempura with Harissa Cauliflower Purée and Mint Scape Pesto

Serves 4.


    Cauliflower Tempura with Harissa Cauliflower Purée and Mint Scape Pesto

    This detoxifying tempura will be sure to jazz up any dinner party! Garlic scapes arrive in late spring and are similar to asparagus in texture but pack a distinct garlic taste that’s slightly milder than the bulbs. They’re great pickled, on the grill, or turned into a wonderful pesto.



    The key to ensuring cauliflower is baked evenly is to make sure florets are cut in even, bite-sized pieces.


    Cauliflower Tempura with Harissa Cauliflower Purée and Mint Scape Pesto


    • 8 to 10 fresh young garlic scapes
    • 1/4 cup (60 mL) grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano
    • 1/4 cup (60 mL) unsalted raw shelled pistachios
    • 1/4 cup (60 mL) fresh chopped basil
    • 1/4 cup (60 mL) fresh chopped mint
    • 1/4 cup (60 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) sea salt
    • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) freshly ground black pepper
    Cauliflower purée
    • 1 medium-sized cauliflower, including stems and leaves
    • 3 whole garlic cloves, peeled
    • 2 cups (500 mL) whole milk or dairy substitute
    • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) harissa paste or dry seasoning
    • 1 bay leaf
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper (optional)
    Breaded tempura coating
    • 1/2 cup (125 mL) all-purpose or gluten-free flour
    • 2 organic eggs
    • 1 cup (250 mL) panko bread crumbs or gluten-free substitute
    • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra
    • Fresh mint, basil, and slices of radish for garnish (optional)


    Per serving:

    • calories572
    • protein20g
    • fat34g
      • saturated fat8g
      • trans fat0g
    • carbohydrates49g
      • sugars10g
      • fibre7g
    • sodium421mg



    In food processor, make pesto combining garlic scapes, grated Parmesan, pistachios, basil, and mint, and pulse into a rustic, chunky paste. Slowly add olive oil and whirl in until blended. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to tightly covered container in refrigerator.


    Trim stem and leaves from cauliflower. Cut cauliflower into bite-size florets. Chop stem and leaves.


    In saucepan, sauteu0301 garlic over medium heat until caramelized, about 2 minutes. Add chopped cauliflower stem and leaves and a few of the florets, reserving remaining florets for oven-baked cauliflower tempura. Continue to sauteu0301 until cauliflower has begun to soften. Add milk, harissa, and bay leaf; cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes or until mixture is very soft. Remove bay leaf. Transfer mixture to blender and pureu0301e until very smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste, if you wish. Set aside while making breaded tempura coating for remaining florets.


    Preheat oven to 425 F (220 C). Using three separate bowls, place flour in one; eggs with a splash of water in another, whisking to blend; and bread crumbs stirred with oil in the third. Dust each cauliflower floret with flour, then dip in egg wash and roll into bread crumbs. Place in single layer on rack over parchment-lined baking sheet. Gently dab with oil or lightly spray each floret with a little oil to lightly coat. You want your florets to be even-sized and to air fry them for crispness. If you have a convection oven, or an actual air fryer, follow cooking directions specific to them. Bake for 15 to 25 minutes, or until golden and crispy. Timing will depend on how you are baking them.


    To serve, place a ladle of cauliflower pureu0301e in centre of plate and swirl. Place a couple of roasted cauliflower florets on top. Drizzle a little Mint Scape Pesto around dish and garnish with a few small mint and basil leaves and some radish slices, if you wish. Repeat.


    Like this recipe?

    This recipe is part of the Root to Stem collection.



    SEE MORE »
    Salmon Tacos with Red Cabbage and Orange Slaw with Lime Yogurt
    Mussels with Tomato, Saffron, and Fennel

    Mussels with Tomato, Saffron, and Fennel

    B12-rich mussels are a very good and economical source of protein and iron. Steamed mussels are a classic way to enjoy seafood—and so is this rich, aromatic broth of tomato, fennel, and saffron. Be sure to allow saffron to fully infuse to get the full flavour benefit, and finish off the dish with the fragrant fennel fronds. Sustainability status Farmed mussels are considered highly sustainable due to their low impacts on the environment. They are easy to harvest, require no fertilizer or fresh water, and don’t need to be fed externally, as they get all their nutritional requirements from their marine environment. Mussel prep Selection: Look for mussels with shiny, tightly closed shells that smell of the sea. If shells are slightly open, give them a tap. Live mussels will close immediately. Storage: Keep mussels in the fridge in a shallow pan laid on top of ice. Keep them out of water and cover with a damp cloth. Ideally, consume on the day you buy them, but within two days. They need to breathe, so never keep them in a sealed plastic bag. Cleanup: In addition to being sustainable, farmed mussels tend to require less cleaning than wild mussels. Most of the fibrous “beards” that mussels use to grip solid surfaces will have been removed before sale. But if a few remain, they’re easily dispatched: grasp the beard with your thumb and forefinger and pull it toward the hinge of the mussel and give it a tug. Afterward, give mussels a quick rinse and scrub away any areas of mud or seaweed, which, with farmed mussels, will require minimal work.