Persian spiced cauliflower rice with    fried eggs and plum sauce

Use It All! I find people often throw away the stems and leaves of cauliflower. Here’s a ‘waste hack’ recipe that allows you to use all of the humble cauliflower. For the vegan version just omit the butter and eggs and make a quick tahini dressing (2 tbsp tahini, 1 tbsp water, squeeze of fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper) to drizzle over instead. 

Serves 2-4 


  • 1 small head cauliflower, with leaves 
  • 3 tbsp rapeseed oil, or light olive 
  • 1 tsp za’atar 
  • 1 tsp unsalted butter, (V) optional 
  • 1 tsp ground cumin 
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ¼ tsp each of sumac, chilli flakes & nigella seeds 
  • 1 shallot, finely diced 
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped 
  • Sea salt & freshly-ground black pepper 

To serve 

  • 2-4 eggs, fried 
  • Parsley, finely chopped 
  • Sesame seeds, lightly toasted 
  • Plum sauce, or tamarind chutney 


Preheat the oven to 190C/170C (fan)/gas 5.  
Remove all the leaves from the cauliflower, rinse. Grate the florets off the cauliflower using the coarsest side of the grater and set aside. Cut the remaining tougher stem into small cubes about 1cm in size.  

Place the leaves and the stem cubes in a baking tray, drizzle over 1 tablespoon of the oil, add the za’atar and evenly coat them both, tossing with your hands. Bake in the middle of the oven for 10-12 minutes, removing any leaves earlier, if you see them getting too brown. 

In a large frying pan warm the remaining oil with the butter, if using, on a medium heat. Add the spices, cumin, turmeric, sumac, chilli flakes and nigella seeds and gently sauté for 4-5 minutes before adding the shallot and garlic. Sauté for a further 5-6 minutes then add the grated cauliflower. Turn the heat up a bit, season with salt and pepper, and stir the cauliflower rice making sure it’s completely coated in the spices. Cook, stirring, for 4-5 more minutes while you fry your eggs, or make your tahini dressing if doing the vegan version. 

Serve the cauliflower rice with the za’atar roasted leaves and cubes, a fried egg on top, or (V) with tahini dressing, parsley, sesame seeds, and with a plum sauce or tamarind chutney. 

Kylee Newton is a food writer, educator, and recipe developer, addressing modern food ethics. Kylee’s food looks at the modern concerns of seasonality, and sustainability, with a strong focus on traditional methods, wasting less and longevity, predominately through preserving.  
Kylee has two published cookery books, The Modern Preserver and The Modern Preserver’s Kitchen. Her international career has seen her recipes in publications such as the UK’s Guardian ‘Cook’ and ‘Feast’, Observer Food Monthly, the Telegraph, and magazines such as the BBC Goodfood, Olive, and Jamie Oliver. She currently writes columns in the NZ Herald’s ‘Be Well’ and for Dish Magazine. 

©Recipe Kylee Newton 2022. Follow @themodernpreserver. Reproduction without permission is prohibited. All rights reserved.