Oven-roasted cauliflower is so flavorful! High-heat baking caramelizes this vegetable and turns it into a delicacy.
It's an easy recipe too: The florets are tossed with olive oil, garlic, and parmesan, then baked until golden.
I happen to like cauliflower very much. It's such a versatile vegetable that can be used in countless recipes. I like it sauteed, microwaved, and baked. I like to turn it into a pizza crust or use it to make tots and wings.
One of the simplest and tastiest ways to cook cauliflower is to roast it in the oven. It's so delicious, and we all love the cheesy topping. The cauliflower becomes so wonderfully creamy as it bakes! It's a wonderful side dish that goes with so many meals.
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make oven-roasted cauliflower. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
Fresh cauliflower: I was surprised to learn that you can absolutely bake frozen cauliflower. But in this particular recipe, I use fresh.
Olive oil: I love cooking with this delicious oil. It does have a relatively low smoke point, you can use melted butter instead.
Sea salt and black pepper: Freshly ground black pepper tastes best.
Garlic powder: You can use fresh minced garlic instead. But I like the way the powder uniformly coats the cauliflower, and it also doesn't burn as easily as minced garlic.
Grated Parmesan: I think it's best to use finely grated cheese, although coarsely shredded parmesan will work if that's all you have.
Roasting cauliflower in the oven is truly easy. In fact, this is one of my easiest side dishes, which is why I make it so often.
Scroll down to the recipe card for detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
You start by trimming the clean cauliflower and separating it into florets. Try to keep the florets about the same size - use a knife to cut the bigger ones into smaller chunks.
Next, place the cauliflower pieces in a rimmed baking dish large enough to fit them in a single layer without crowding them too much. Toss them with olive oil and spices. I use my hands to make sure all the pieces are well coated.
Bake the florets for 15 minutes in a 425°F oven. Gently stir, sprinkle the florets with parmesan, and bake them for 10-15 more minutes.
You can buy a whole head of cauliflower and separate it into florets (or bake it whole!). Or you can buy one of those bags of pre-washed florets.
If you opt for the second option, you'll probably find that some of the florets are quite large while the others are small. It's a good idea to cut the large ones so that they are all about the same size.
Frequently asked questions
Yes. But don't wash it ahead of time. Wash it right before cooking and dry it well.
I don't use breadcrumbs in this recipe, and frankly, I don't miss them.
It's possible to sprinkle some almond meal on top of this dish in addition to the Parmesan, or maybe pork panko (pork rind breadcrumbs, available on Amazon).
But really, this recipe is excellent with just the cheese.
For crispy results, try to space the florets in the baking dish. If the florets are too crowded in the pan, they will steam rather than roast and won't come out crispy.
I love this recipe as is and almost always make it as written. But in case you'd like to vary the basic recipe, here are a few ideas for you:
- Use melted butter instead of olive oil.
- Add ½ teaspoon of onion powder and reduce the garlic powder to ½ teaspoon.
- Add a pinch of dried thyme and/or a pinch of cayenne pepper.
This is a very versatile side dish that goes with anything! But since I bake it in a 425°F oven, I like to serve it with a main dish that I can cook in the same oven. So I often serve it with one of the following main dishes:
Leftovers keep well in the fridge, in an airtight container, for 3-4 days. Reheat them gently in the microwave on 50% power prior to serving.
Sometimes, rather than reheating the leftovers, I add them cold to a salad.
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- 1 large head cauliflower cleaned and separated into florets (1 lb.)
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
- Place the cauliflower florets in a rimmed baking dish large enough to accommodate them in a single layer, such as a 9 X 13 rectangular baking dish.
- Right in the pan, toss the cauliflower florets with the olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
- Roast the cauliflower for 15 minutes.
- Gently stir the florets, sprinkle them with the parmesan, and continue baking until tender and golden, about 10-15 more minutes. Serve immediately.