Cauliflower with watercress pesto and cherry tomato salad

Lindsey Bareham

Watercress or rocket makes a deliciously peppery pesto. Try it stirred into pasta with a few grilled cherry tomatoes or slackened with extra olive oil to make dressings for boiled potatoes, steamed fish and poached chicken. It keeps in the fridge for about 10 days.

Cooking time

15 minutes




  • 3 tbsp pine kernels
  • Decent bunch watercress, approx 90g/31⁄2oz without big stalks
  • 2 plump garlic cloves
  • 9 tbsp virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan or vegetarian alternative
  • 400g/14oz cherry tomatoes
  • 1⁄2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 large cauliflower


  • Briefly dry-fry the pine kernels to colour. 
  • Peel and chop the garlic.
  • Put the pine kernels, garlic and watercress in a food processor and blitz. When evenly chopped, with the motor still running, gradually add 7 tbsp olive oil and continue until well amalgamated.
  • Put in a serving bowl and stir in the Parmesan.
  • Pierce each tomato with a small, sharp knife and place in a grill pan. Toss around with 2 tbsp olive oil and the balsamic vinegar. Grill, shaking the pan occasionally, for about 6 minutes until the tomatoes begin to sag and soften but not lose their shape. Tip into a serving bowl.
  • Divide the cauliflower into large, bite-size florets. Cook in boiling, salted water for 3-4 minutes until just tender. Drain. Serve portions of cauliflower topped with a generous dollop of pesto, with tomatoes on the side.
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