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Recipes

Roasted Cauliflower Recipe: Insanely Easy & Delicious

Pssst… I have to tell you a secret. Did you know that pretty much any vegetable is exponentially more tasty when it is roasted? Cauliflower is no exception! Simple oven-roasted cauliflower is one of our favorite ways to prepare and enjoy cauliflower. Even if you think you aren’t a “fan” of cauliflower, I say give this a try! It is so easy and delicious, it is actually insane. 

This roasted cauliflower recipe is also extremely versatile, easy to customize with various seasonings of your choice! You can even finish it off with seeds, nuts, or cheese if you’d like. I’ll give you the bare-minimum spice suggestions along with our top-favorite seasonings, but feel free to experiment and tweak your roasted cauliflower creations too. That is the beauty of cooking, after all!

For us, this recipe is the perfect opportunity to pair fresh garden produce with various homegrown seasoning powders – though we still opt to keep our roasted cauliflower pretty dang simple!


Three different varieties of freshly harvested heads of cauliflower sit atop a washed concrete surface. One head is purple, one is light green and one is white in color.
Fresh cauli from the garden. Goodman (white), Purple of Sicily, and Green Macerata.


Why Roasted Cauliflower Is So Good


First of all, cauliflower has many stellar health benefits. It is high in fiber, vitamins C & K, minerals, and cancer-fighting antioxidants. Studies show that the numerous compounds found in cruciferous vegetables (including cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower) help to either prevent or reduce the progression of cancer.


And then we roast it. That’s when the magic happens. 


When exposed to high and dry heat, foods take on a whole new complex flavor profile because of the chemical reactions that take place. Namely, caramelization.

According to the Science of Cooking, caramelization is an oxidative reaction that involves the removal of water (as steam) and the breakdown of the sugar. As the the browning process occurs, natural volatile chemicals are released that produce the characteristic caramel flavor.  Thus, roasting vegetables can transform their earthy, vegetal, sometimes slightly bitter taste into something sweet, nutty, and toasted instead!

So that is why the roasting can bring such a simple recipe or relatively bland veggies (such as cauliflower) to a whole new level – just like our roasted tomato sauce! If you haven’t discovered it yet, this simple roasted tomato sauce is a fan-favorite. It is literally just tomatoes, salt, and pepper, but puts store bought tomato sauce to shame. Okay, back to cauliflower.


INGREDIENTS


  • Fresh Cauliflower – however much you’d like to roast. We usually do about a head at a time.
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • Garlic powder. In the place of garlic powder, replace the salt with garlic salt, or use a few fresh cloves of chopped garlic.  See this tutorial to learn how to make your own garlic powder.


Those are the core spices I would recommend using. However, roasted cauliflower is also delicious with fresh herbs like thyme, oregano or sage! Other popular seasoning additions include red chili flakes, chili powder, curry powder, cumin, lemon powder, or even taco seasoning.

Like I said, this recipe is easy to customize as you see fit! We usually keep it pretty simple. In this particular batch of roasted cauliflower, we used the core seasonings in the bulleted list above, along with handful of fresh garden thyme and homemade onion powder.


A two way image collage, the first image shows bite size pieces of white cauliflower florets sitting in a white ceramic mixing bowl. The second image shows the cauliflower florets after they have been seasoned with olive oil, fresh thyme, salt, and pepper.


INSTRUCTIONS


  • Preheat your oven to 450°F

  • Wash your cauliflower, and allow it to drain as much excess water as possible. Shake it out or even add it to a salad spinner if you have one. The less wet, the better it will roast, caramelize, and crisp.

  • Cut the cauliflower into bite-sized florets. Try to keep them relatively consistent in size, as larger florets will take longer to roast than smaller ones. Or, you could cut it into 1-inch thick flat slices; cauliflower “steaks” if you will.

  • In a large mixing bowl, toss the cauliflower with a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and a sprinkle of sea salt, pepper, garlic powder, and other seasonings (to taste). Add fresh chopped herbs or garlic if desired.

  • Quick Tips: We don’t typically measure, but I suggest about 3-4 tablespoons of olive olive per average 2-pound head of cauliflower. Also, I usually sprinkle a light portion of seasonings over the top of the cauliflower, toss well, then add a little more, and toss again. Because cauliflower has so many spice-holding crevices, it is easy for the top layer to get over-seasoned while the pieces hidden in the bottom of the bowl get neglected.

  • Spread out the seasoned cauliflower florets evenly on a baking sheet. You can line the pan with foil or parchment paper for easy clean-up. Using a bare pan or foil over parchment paper will result in an increasingly crispy roasted cauliflower.

  • Roast the cauliflower on 450°F for 20 to 25 minutes, until the florets begin to brown and the stems are fork-tender to your liking.

  • Optional: In the last 5 minutes of roasting, sprinkle grated cheese such as parmesan, pecorino, or sharp cheddar over the roasted cauliflower. Or, add pumpkin seeds or shaved almonds for an excellent punch of crunch – and protein! Return everything to the oven until the cheese melts, or the nuts/seeds become toasted.

  • Serve and enjoy. For an acidic zing, finish with fresh lemon zest (or lemon juice, if serving immediately). Store leftovers in the fridge and use within one week.


A baking sheet full of roasted cauliflower florets. Bits of the florets have turned golden brown to dark brown due to caramelization due to being roasted in the oven.
A close up image of the roasted cauliflower florets. Specks of golden brown can be seen along the edges and crevices of the florets.


Ways to Use Roasted Cauliflower


Eat up! Needless to say, one way to enjoy your roasted cauliflower is simply as-is, on its own or as a side with your meal. It is exceptionally delicious hot and right out of the oven. Yet roasted cauliflower can bring a welcome pop of flavor and texture to a wide variety of dishes.

For example, serve your roasted cauliflower as a salad or pizza topping, with pasta or rice, part of a mixed vegetable antipasto, or in a cold rice, potato, or pasta salad. (If you’re a sourdough fan, be sure to try our sourdough pizza crust.) We especially love to add roasted cauliflower to soup, curry, lentils, and more!


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5 from 4 votes

Roasted Cauliflower Recipe: Insanely Easy & Delicious!

Most vegetables are exponentially more tasty when roasted, and cauliflower is no exception! Customize this simple oven-roasted cauliflower recipe with seasonings of your choice, with several options provided! It is so easy and delicious, it is actually insane.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cauliflower recipes, oven roasted cauliflower, Roasted cauliflower
Servings: 4 people

Equipment

  • Oven
  • Baking pan
  • Mixing bowl

Ingredients

  • 1 head fresh cauliflower
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt (to taste)
  • black pepper (to taste)
  • garlic powder or fresh chopped garlic (to taste)
  • Optional seasonings: fresh herbs (thyme, oregano or sage), chili powder or red chili flakes, curry powder, lemon powder, taco seasoning, or cumin
  • Optional toppings: cheese (parmesan, pecorino, sharp cheddar), nuts or seeds (pumpkin seeds or shaved almonds) and/or lemon zest

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 450F.
  • Wash cauliflower, and shake/allow it to drain as much excess water as possible.
  • Cut the cauliflower into bite-sized florets. Try to keep them relatively consistent in size, as larger florets will take longer to roast than smaller ones. Or, you could cut it into 1-inch thick flat slices (cauliflower “steaks”).
  • In a large mixing bowl, toss the cauliflower with extra virgin olive oil, and a sprinkle of sea salt, pepper, garlic powder, and any other optional seasonings (to taste). Add fresh chopped herbs or garlic if desired. Toss well.*
  • Spread out the seasoned cauliflower florets evenly on a baking sheet, either bare or lined with foil/parchment paper if desired.
  • Roast the cauliflower on 450F for 20 to 25 minutes, until the florets begin to brown and the stems are fork-tender to your liking.
  • Optional: In the last 5 minutes of roasting, sprinkle grated cheese over the roasted cauliflower. Or, add pumpkin seeds or shaved almonds! Return to the oven until the cheese melts, or the nuts/seeds become toasted.
  • Serve and enjoy. For an acidic zing, finish with fresh lemon zest (or lemon juice, if serving immediately). Store leftovers in the fridge and use within one week.

Notes

*Tip: Ih the mixing bowl, I usually sprinkle a light portion of seasonings over the top of the cauliflower, toss well, then add a little more, and toss again. Because cauliflower has so many spice-holding crevices, it is easy for the top layer to get over-seasoned while the pieces hidden in the bottom of the bowl get neglected.



I hope you enjoy this simple roasted cauliflower recipe as much as we do. Be sure to report back with a review to let us know how you liked it, and what seasonings you chose to use! As always, thanks for tuning in.



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3 Comments

  • Lacey Daniels

    5 stars
    I bought two huge heads of cauliflower during a great sale recently. I haven’t eaten much cauli in my life, so I thought it’d be fun to try a few new recipes. I tried soups and pasta recipes with the heads, and they were good but nothing to write home about. I had about 1/3 of a head leftover, this week, so I tried your roasted cauli recipe… by far my favorite way I’ve had cauli lately! My husband loved it too! Thanks for sharing!

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