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Roasted Cauliflower

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Caramelized roasted cauliflower is almost too good to be good for you.

The mild flavor of cauliflower makes it a wonderful blank canvas for other flavors — it’s a great stand-in for mashed potatoes, fried rice, or even steak — but simple boiled or steamed cauliflower can be bland. Roasting is an easy way to boost cauliflower’s flavor without drowning it in a heavy sauce. When cooked in a blazing-hot oven, the florets become golden and caramelized on the exterior and creamy on the interior. You can roast cauliflower with only olive oil, salt, and pepper, but a few tablespoons of grated Pecorino Romano cheese add sharp, salty flavor — and a squeeze of lemon makes it practically habit-forming.

What You’ll Need To Make Roasted Cauliflower

roasted cauliflower ingredients

Step-by-Step Instructions

In a large bowl, combine the cauliflower florets with the olive oil, salt and pepper and toss to coat evenly. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. (Alternatively, toss the cauliflower with the oil and seasoning directly on the baking sheet using a rubber spatula.)

tossing cauliflower with oil, salt and pepper

Roast the cauliflower, stirring a few times to promote even browning, until tender and golden brown, about 20 minutes. (Keep an eye on it; you want the florets to develop deep golden spots. If it looks like they’re getting too dark, reduce the oven temperature.)

roasted cauliflower

Sprinkle with the grated cheese, then taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary.

sprinkling roasted cauliflower with cheese

Transfer to a serving dish and serve hot or room temperature.

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Roasted Cauliflower

Caramelized roasted cauliflower is almost too good to be good for you.

Servings: 4
Cook Time: 20 Minutes
Total Time: 30 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 medium head cauliflower (about 2½ pounds), cut into florets about 1½" wide*
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons freshly grated pecorino Romano cheese (or Parmigiano Reggiano)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F and set a rack in the middle position. Line a baking sheet with heavy-duty aluminum foil.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cauliflower florets with the olive oil, salt and pepper and toss to coat evenly. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. (Alternatively, toss the cauliflower with the oil and seasoning directly on the baking sheet using a rubber spatula.)
  3. Roast the cauliflower, stirring a few times to promote even browning, until tender and golden brown, about 20 minutes. (Keep an eye on it; you want the florets to develop deep golden spots. If it looks like they're getting too dark, reduce the oven temperature to 425°F.) Sprinkle with the grated cheese, then taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Transfer to a serving dish and serve hot or room temperature.
  4. *Dry the cauliflower florets well with a kitchen towel after washing, as too much moisture will prevent them from browning.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

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Comments

  • I love this simple way of cooking cauliflower. If you want it really crispy, make sure to dry out the cauliflower more. This recipe gives me a very good guideline. Whether to use cheese, or use other spices, I can use this recipe as the basis. Thank you Jenn.

    • — Karen M on October 18, 2022
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  • I made this the other night and it was like eating popcorn….. crunchy, salty, satisfying, and delicious. Everyone should try this recipe!

    • — Gia on October 18, 2022
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  • I have actually tried this using riced cauliflower and it is habit forming. I could eat this everyday. I typically roast the cauliflower in a convection oven at 425 F for 20 minutes since I am using frozen riced cauliflower.

    • — wingin' it in georgia on October 13, 2022
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  • Simple! and DEElicious!! Will make again and again.

    Everything I have made from Once Upon A Chef is always delicious!

    • — Patti Taylor on May 18, 2022
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  • Yum

    • — Sabrina on March 28, 2021
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  • My new favourite side dish! Finally a yummy way to prepare cauliflower. So easy. So delicious!

    • — Kelly Hamilton
    • Reply
  • My family loves this recipe served with any sort of meat–grilled kielbasa is a favorite. We usually double the recipe but use half broccoli and half cauliflower. So easy and delicious!

  • Hi! Could I use Parmesan cheese instead? The kids are pretty picky here. ☺
    Lana

  • Another great recipe !
    My family loves meat, starch and vegetable as a meal. This was so tasty they didn’t realize that I replaced the starch with cauliflower.

  • Excellent!

  • I made this last week, and it was delish! Didn’t have the cheese, but it was still amazing. It’s perfect either as a side dish or a snack. The roasting brings out the inherent sweetness that cauliflower has, which pairs very well with the kosher salt. I highly recommend!

  • I never really prepared cauliflower for my family, I was not sure if they would like it. I made this recipe and just did a small batch. We finished the whole thing even before we sat at the table. I made a bigger batch the very next day and that was all eaten up as well. Thanks for helping me try new veggies…

  • I love roasted cauliflower. I could eat it every day. I wish it was not so expensive. When I see it on sale I buy as much as I can.

  • Jenn- do you think this can be made ahead and reheated in the oven? If so, how long and at what temp? I’ve been asked to bring roasted cauliflower for Thanksgiving . . . . Thanks!

    • Hi Bridget, Yes, it can definitely be made ahead. Just reheat at 350 for 10-15 min, or until hot 🙂

  • We try to cook and eat as low carb as possible and this is one of my go-to recipes for side dishes. It makes cauliflower so much better than the old steamed, cheese drenched recipes. Usually this has to bake longer than the recipe calls for to get the browned parts. Maybe I’m cutting the florets a little bigger. Line your baking sheet with foil and clean up is a breeze!

  • i have done this and it’s delicious! problem is i eat it all up before the kids can even try it! it does work equally well w/ broccoli…i believe ina garten has a recipe for the roasted broccoli which includes basil, garlic, cheese, maybe pine nuts? anyway, we’ve done that one (sort of) and just go back to the basic way most of the time…yummmm….(roasting carrots w/o the cheese is yummy too)

  • This was a huge hit with the family – especially the hubby. Kids usually only will eat cauliflower smothered in cheese…I prepped this in a pan and my Hubby made it on the grill.

  • Sooo good. My teenager often asks for this one!

  • Jenn, this recipe is so good that I barely got a taste of it myself I just made it as a kind of last minute thing to go with some Lamb Patties and Wilted Spinach “Salad:.

    I did make a few TINY changes (adaptations) I instead of plain black pepper, I used a freshly ground Garlic-Pepper (we are garlic lovers) and at the end used a combination of Pecorino Romano and grated/shredded Asiago (not sure if that made ANY difference.) But the bottom line is this dish is genuinely delicious and something about ROASTING as the cooking method seems to make an enormous difference in the flavor quality.

    Notes:

    1. It’s a good idea to stir and check the cauliflower frequently. I did have to turn the oven temperature after about 10 minutes otherwise the florets can easily char or burn.

    2. I’m just guessing here – but I can’t imagine this recipe working well with frozen (thawed) cauliflower – I think it might end up as a watery, mushy mess. But if I’m wrong I hope someone will correct me!

    • — Jesselyn A/Jesstinger
    • Reply
  • I’m a huge fan of this recipe. So easy and a great way to add a ton of flavor to vegetables. My 2-year old loves this, as do we! Wouldn’t change a thing.

  • This recipe is really good, but to suit my taste a little more, I thinly sliced garlic cloves and tucked them into the florets to perfume them while roasting. Garlic helps everything, right?

  • This has become one of my favorite go-to recipes. It is fast, easy and delicious!

  • You should try adding balsamic vinegar when you add the Pecorino Romano cheese. Its amazing:)

  • This is a great way to cook cauliflower. Even my picky son ate it! Always glad for another vegetable in my repertoire!

    • — Brenda Venable
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  • I LOVE cauliflower & had never had it roasted until trying this recipe! It was phenomenal & has become my go-to veggie! Also really good with parmesan cheese!

  • Have cauliflower growing in the garden. Can’t wait to try these.

  • Absolutely divine and works great with broccoli. You might have to fiddle with your oven temp to get the browning right!

  • I love roasting broccoli and other veggies in the oven and will definitely try this one with cauliflower very soon.

    • — Melissa Crawford
    • Reply
  • My family didn’t like cauliflower until this recipe. It’s so good, so yummy, and so healthy! Now we make this a couple times a month!

  • My husband and I enjoy to cook healthy, delicious meals at home from scratch and I’m overjoyed to have found this blog of recipes. This recipe was simple and great. We served it with her talipia recipe. Both dishes were wonderful and tonight I’m trying the Parmesan smashed potatoes, so excited! The directions are easy to follow and the ingredients created simple and tasty meals!

  • I am completely addicted to roasted cauliflower. Try it with a little curry power & a pinch of garam masala. It never gets to my family’s plates 🙂

  • This was the first time I made roasted cauliflower and all I can say is WOW!
    Actually I can also say “Thank you” for the recipe. It’s the best way to fix the veg.

  • this was so easy and delicious!

  • Outstanding! My whole family loved this. I love roasted veggies and don’t know why I never thought to roast cauliflower. Thank you!

  • What a beautiful dish-and it sounds delicious! I just bought quite a bit of pecorino romano cheese and have been wondering what to do with it-looks like I found my answer 🙂

  • This was simple and DELICIOUS! Thank you for the wonderful recipe.

  • Oh my gosh this is good. My husband and I ate the entire dish for dinner! Once again, it was great.

  • Yummiest cauliflower ever. Seriously, I think this is going to be my new snack food! Thanks Jen!

    Chris 🙂

  • Another way to get cauliflower to brown is to sprinkle a very very tiny bit onto the pieces before you put them in the oven. You won’t taste the sugar, but it will help brown your veg. I’ve only made this with parmesan cheese before, so I’m looking forward to trying it with the romano. Thank you for sharing!

  • Getting the kids to eat a new veggie seriously deserves an award!!!!! This looks simply amazing!

  • I “rediscovered” this year just how much I love cauliflower. And yes, roasting it is best. If I can offer one tip, it would be to blanch the cauliflower for 3-5 minutes before baking. It makes a huge difference in the final product.

  • ooooh, I love cauliflower! I’ve struggled too with just WHAT to do with it, other than the obligatory nuke-in-microwave-cover-with-cream-sauce-nuke-again recipe from who knows when.

    I gave up, and usually just eat it raw LOL..THIS I am going to try tonight! 🙂 *wonders if that would work just as well for broccoli…*

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