Steamed first, then quickly sautéed in seasoned olive oil, this simple weeknight cauliflower recipe is delicious and very easy to make.
It's ready in about 20 minutes, goes with so many meals, and the leftovers are great too, heated up or even cold.
This flavorful cauliflower recipe has become one of my favorite side dishes. It's a simple and delicious side dish that I make quite often.
Cauliflower is such a versatile vegetable. I make it frequently for my family, so I'm always on the lookout for new and interesting ways to prepare it. This tasty recipe fits the bill perfectly!
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this sauteed cauliflower recipe. The exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
Fresh cauliflower: I use a small head of cauliflower in this recipe. I do recommend using fresh, not frozen cauliflower. Frozen will not be as good, both in terms of flavor and in terms of texture.
Olive oil: I love cooking with this delicious oil. You can also use avocado oil (though it won't be as flavorful), and another tasty option is ghee.
Minced garlic: You can use jarred minced garlic, but freshly minced tastes best. You can also use thinly sliced garlic cloves.
Kosher salt and black pepper: If using fine salt, you should reduce the amount you use, or the dish could end up too salty.
Spices: This is optional, but greatly enhances the flavor of the dish. I like to use dried thyme. Oregano is another tasty option.
Sauteing cauliflower is super easy. Scroll down to the recipe card for detailed instructions. Here's an overview of the steps:
- Your first step is to trim the cauliflower, wash it, and cut it into bite-size pieces.
- Then, to speed up the cooking process, use the microwave to quickly steam the cauliflower (microwave cauliflower is awesome, by the way).
- After steaming, quickly cook the cauliflower pieces in seasoned olive oil. This should take a mere five minutes over medium-high heat.
- That's it! This is a great weekday side dish because it's ready so fast.
In the first step, when you microwave-steam the florets, you shouldn't overcook them.
Overcooking them will result in mushy cauliflower. So start with just 4 minutes - you can always add a minute or two, or reduce the heat when they're in the skillet and saute them for a little longer.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, but then you'll need to cook the cauliflower low and slow over medium or medium-low heat until it's tender-crisp and probably add a splash of water to the pan as well.
I don't recommend using frozen cauliflower in this recipe. If you'd like a shortcut, you can buy bagged prewashed florets.
Yes. You can freeze it for up to three months and thaw it overnight, then reheat it in the microwave or in a 300F oven.
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:
- Cook the cauliflower florets in ghee instead of using olive oil.
- Use thinly sliced garlic cloves instead of mincing them.
- Add more spices, such as ground cumin and onion powder.
This is such a versatile side dish, it truly goes with anything. I often serve it alongside some simple baked chicken breasts. It's also good with oven chicken kabobs and grilled salmon.
You can keep the leftovers in the fridge, in an airtight container, for 3-4 days. They actually keep quite well, and the leftovers are just as tasty as the freshly cooked dish.
Reheat the leftovers gently, in the microwave on 50% power. I like them cold too! Sometimes I add them cold to a salad the next day for my lunch.
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Sauteed Cauliflower Recipe
- 1 small head cauliflower 1 lb. after trimming
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
- ½ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt or ¼ teaspoon fine salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- Trim and wash the cauliflower. Chop it into bite-size pieces.
- Place the cauliflower in a microwave-safe bowl with 1 tablespoon of water. Cover tightly with a microwave-safe plate. Microwave on high until almost tender, about 4 minutes. Drain.
- Heat the oil in a large (14-inch) nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cauliflower and sprinkle it with the seasonings.
- Allow the cauliflower to cook undisturbed until some pieces are browned on the bottom, 2-3 minutes.
- Gently stir and keep cooking for 1-2 more minutes, then serve.
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