Green Harissa Cauliflower | CUESA

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Green Harissa Cauliflower


John Griffiths, Bluestem Brasserie

This recipe was demonstrated for CUESA’s Market to Table program on October 29, 2016.

Note: Taste a bit of the chile peppers before you add them.  While mostly consistent, some crops of chiles can be surprisingly hot.  So you may add a little less of the chiles depending on your palate.

Serves 6-8


10 ounces Anaheim peppers
¼ ounce jalapeño peppers
6 green onions, grilled and coarsely chopped
1 clove fresh garlic, minced
1 tablespoon cumin, toasted and ground
1 teaspoon coriander, toasted and ground
2 ounces Italian parsley, plus more for garnish
2 ½ ounces cilantro, plus more for garnish
1 ounce mint, plus more for garnish
1 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Lemon juice
1-2 heads of cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets
Fish sauce


To prepare the chiles: blister over a gas stove top burner or on an outdoor grill.  You want to blister the skin, not necessarily char it like sweet peppers.  Once all are blistered, cover with plastic wrap in a bowl and let sit for about 20 minutes. Peel, seed and chop finely. 

To prepare the harissa: add the green onions, garlic, cumin, coriander, and fresh herbs (reserving the extra herbs for garnish) to a food processor. Pulse until coarsely chopped but uniform. Add the diced chiles and olive oil and pulse a few times.  Adjust seasoning with lemon juice and salt to taste.

To prepare the cauliflower: In a mixing bowl, add 1 to 2 cups of the harissa to the cauliflower, along with two to three pinches of salt, and mix together thoroughly by hand.  Steam the cauliflower until a thin knife blade meets only a little resistance when pushed into the stem of the floret. The florets should be tender but still firm (it will be cooked one more time on a grill).  Remove and let rest at room temp on a sheet tray with a rack or parchment paper lining. 

Heat up a griddle or cast iron skillet to high heat.  Toss the cauliflower with additional harissa and season again with salt, if needed.  Coat the pan or griddle with olive oil and brown the cauliflower well on all sides, making sure to not overcrowd the pan. Remove from heat and quickly toss with fish sauce, a little more olive oil, and lemon juice to taste. Garnish with fresh herbs and serve immediately.


CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) is dedicated to growing thriving communities through the power and joy of local food. Learn More »