This savory and succulent cauliflower dish is a great way to incorporate a vegetable that is an excellent source of Vitamin C and Vitamin K and is shockingly easy to prepare. Whether you’re a carnivore or a vegan, roasted cauliflower is a tasty dish that you and your family will want to eat every week!
For this recipe, we not only roast the entire cauliflower, we add some savory and flavorful toppings. The toppings are completely optional; this cauliflower dish is delectable when roasted with the simplest ingredients – olive oil and salt and pepper.
The trick with this recipe is through the parboil (boiling something to partially cook it.) For a whole head of cauliflower, the heat needs to enter the entire cauliflower so that when it’s roasted in the oven, it becomes tender on the inside and crispy on the outside.
A whole head of cauliflower, green leaves cut off and stem cut so that the cauliflower rests flat on your baking surface
Optional toppings (but highly recommended)
Zhoug Sauce – This is a Mediterranean sauce that is spicy, savory, and bursting with flavor. This sauce is also described as a spicy cilantro pesto sauce. Any green pesto-like sauce will work with this recipe. This sauce is just mean to enhance the warm sweet flavors of the roasted cauliflower You are likely to find this kind of sauce at a grocery store (Trader Joe’s has it, for example) or at a food store that specializes in mediterranean spices and foods.
Halloumi cheese or some other kind of grilling cheese, cut into cubes. Indian Paneeer cheese will also work for this recipe.
Roasted almonds, chopped into pieces. Chopped walnuts will also work here.
Large pot (for parboiling)
Cast iron skillet (but this recipe can be done with a baking sheet or another oven safe dish that will hold the whole head of cauliflower in the oven)
Frying pan – for the almonds
You need a very hot oven for the cauliflower to brown on the edges and for the heat to penetrate all the way through the whole head of cauliflower.
- Preheat oven to 450°.
- Put on a pot of boiling water. The water level should be high enough so that the cauliflower is immersed in the water.
- While the water is heating up, cut off the stem of the cauliflower so that it can rest flat on the cast iron.
- Once the water boils, par boil the whole head of cauliflower for 3 minutes. Then take it out and let the water drain out as much as possible.
- While the cauliflower drains, heat up a skillet on medium-high heat. Roast almonds (preferably pre-blanched almonds) on the skillet for a few minutes, until they are fragrant and slightly browned.
- Once the cauliflower has drained, cut through it into four quarters, but do not slice all the way through to keep it intact. Doing this slicing (without fully slicing) will allow the heat and oil to penetrate through the cauliflower.
- Generously add olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes. Bake for 35 minutes if your oven does not increase higher than 400°.
- Take out the cauliflower from the oven and insert cubed halloumi cheese into the openings of the cauliflower. Put back into the oven for approximately 10 more minutes.
- Once done, take it out and top it with the nuts of your choice (pine, almond, walnuts all work great), pour on zhoug sauce, sprinkle with tahini.
- Even if you don’t add any sauce to this and just roast the cauliflower with the olive oil and salt, this WILL be tasty! For some extra flavor, sprinkle turmeric, paprika, cumin, and/or chili powder to the cauliflower after it’s about cooked halfway in the oven. This way, you will not burn the spices but will release the flavors and the oil on the cauliflower will soak in all those spices!
- Serve in its own baking dish with a giant knife stuck in the middle for a dramatic effect!
Another way to roast the cauliflower would be to cut them into florets, throw them all into a plastic bag. Add the olive oil, salt and pepper, and also a teaspoon of paprika and turmeric. Shake up the bag. Put the florets onto a baking sheet and try to spread them out so that the florets are not touching. Put them in the oven for about 40 minutes, flipping them over half way through. Remember: oven times may vary. Your cauliflower is done when it the edges of the florets are brown and crispy and the stems are tender and juicy!
This recipe was inspired by the dish from Toronto’s restaurant, Fat Pasha.