Roasted Cauliflower with Orange, Mint and Pine Nuts

It’s very hard to find really bloody oranges. At the market here in Erlangen two different kinds of blood oranges are being sold: one half-blood orange called “Tarocco” and a full-blood orange named “Moro”. In the last years and during this winter as well, they were both pretty pale inside, containing only a few red pigments – if any at all. I usually try to determine the bloodiness of an orange by the color of the skin, but unfortunately a red pigmented skin doesn’t guarantee a deep red interior. Since I don’t know any better method, finding really red blood oranges remains a kind of lottery. The statistics for this current winter season are pretty disillusioning: only 1 of 20 blood oranges was truly deep red inside. I planned to use red blood oranges for this vegan dish too, but unfortunately the oranges I bought had yet again only very few red spots. Irrespectively of their color, they fulfilled their means of use by adding sourness and freshness to the dish.

Roasted Cauliflower with Orange, Mint and Pine Nuts

I cooked the cauliflower slices in salted water with kaffir lime leaves, chilled them to room temperature, drained them shortly and roasted them afterwards. It’s very important not to overcook the cauliflower, otherwise it will be hard to roast the slices and the result will be mushy. When I plated the cauliflower I grated some tonka bean and nutmeg crosswise on it and garnished it with orange fillets, lime zest, roasted pine nuts and mint oil. The cauliflower immediately absorbed the mint oil, so that’s why it seems invisible, but it’s flavor was definitely there and added another kind of freshness to the dish. The various spices and components worked great together and presented the flavor of the cauliflower differently with each bite.

Roasted Cauliflower with Orange, Mint and Pine Nuts

Roasted Cauliflower with Orange, Mint and Pine Nuts

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 5 hours

Yield: 2 portions


  • 1 small cauliflower
  • 2 leaves kaffir lime
  • 1 (blood) orange
  • zest of 1 lime
  • 20 g pine nuts
  • 2 handful fresh mint
  • freshly grated tonka bean
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • salt
  • neutral oil


For the mint oil
Wash the mint, shake dry and remove the stems (e.g. use them for a nice refreshing tea). Blanch mint leaves in boiling water for 10 seconds, pour off the water and immediately chill in ice water to keep its green color. Pour off the water and press the liquid out of the mint leaves. Weigh the mint and the double amount of neutral oil (grapeseed oil works nice). Puree with a blender, cover and let stand for at least 4 hours or overnight. Strain through a coffee filter and reserve the oil in a small squeeze bottle. Tip: The oil keeps its color longer when kept in the freezer.
For the cauliflower
Wash the cauliflower and discard the green leaves. Cut in half and cut a 1.5-2cm thick slice from both halves. Use the remaining cauliflower for another purpose.
Add 2 kaffir lime leaves to boiling salted water and cook the cauliflower slices in it until tender. Carefully remove the slices using a flat kitchen tool and transfer to plates. Chill to room temperature.
For the orange fillets
Cut off the skin from the orange. Make sure to remove all white parts. Using a sharp knife cut fillets from the orange. Press the liquid from the remaining orange on the fillets, cover with clingfilm and reserve.
For the pine nuts
Line a grid with parchment paper, add the pine nuts and roast in the oven at 200°C / 390 F until brown. Remove from the oven and reserve.
To serve
Roast both sides of the cauliflower slices in a hot pan on 2 tbsp oil. Be very careful when turning the slices not to break them. Season with salt and transfer the slices to warm plates. Grate some nutmeg and tonka bean on the cauliflower. Decorate with drained orange fillets, pine nuts, freshly grated lime zest and sprinkle with mint oil.