Sicilian Cauliflower with Beef

A Simple, Savory Secondi


With its vinaigrette-style dressing and simple preparation, this recipe flirts with being a salad. But to think of it as such is to do it a disservice. It’s rustic, sure, but the flavors are simultaneously complex and comforting. Sicilian cooks love cauliflower— pairing it with pasta, olives, and anchovies—and their cuisine incorporates Arab influences like nuts and raisins, embracing the allure of sweet-savory contrasts. If you can find it, the pale green cauliflower from the farmers’ market is the most similar to the variety found in Sicily, but any kind will do.

Total time: 25–30 minutes



  • 1 large head cauliflower
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 anchovy fillets
  • teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup fresh parsley


  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • pounds ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup raisins or currants
  • ½ lemon


  • rimmed baking sheet, pint-size Mason jar, stick blender


Preheat the oven to 450F.

Roast the cauliflower

Separate the cauliflower into florets and toss them with the oil and salt. Spread them in single layer on a baking sheet and roast until brown in some spots, but still crunchy, 10–15 minutes. Meanwhile...

Make the dressing

Smash and peel the garlic. Place the garlic, anchovies, red pepper flakes, red wine vinegar, olive oil, and parsley in pint-size Mason jar and blend with a stick blender. Set aside.

Cook the beef

Heat a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Toast the pine nuts in the pan until golden brown, 4–5 minutes. Transfer the pine nuts to a large mixing bowl. Return the skillet to the stove and increase the heat to medium-high. Crumble the ground beef into the skillet and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon. Season with the salt and pepper and add the raisins; cook until the meat is no longer pink. Transfer the meat to the mixing bowl with the pine nuts and cover with aluminum foil. Cut the ½ lemon into wedges.

Bring it home

When the cauliflower is done roasting, add it to the bowl with the meat. Add the dressing and toss to coat everything with flavor.

To serve

Spoon the cauliflower and beef into bowls and spritz with fresh lemon juice.