An easy recipe for roasted whole cauliflower, seasoned with olive oil, garlic, and paprika.
The cauliflower head comes out beautifully browned on the outside and tender on the inside.
It was my dad who inspired me to make this recipe. Dad is a great cook, always happy to try new recipes. When he sent over this beautiful photo, I just had to try it too!
I'm happy I tried it. It's a great recipe and I've been making it regularly ever since I first tried it. The cauliflower looks so impressive when it emerges from the oven. But the best part? It's also delicious, and the leftovers keep well for several days.
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make roasted whole cauliflower. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
Cauliflower head: I use a medium-sized head. You'll need to adjust the cooking time if you use a small or a big one.
Olive oil: I love cooking with this flavorful oil.
To season: Kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and paprika.
Olive oil spray: I use it to spray the cauliflower one more time after I season it. This helps keep the spices moist and prevents them from burning in the oven.
Roasting a whole cauliflower head is easy! Scroll down to the recipe card for detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
- Brush the cauliflower all over with olive oil and sprinkle it with spices.
- Spray it with more olive oil.
- Place it in a pan with a little water on the bottom.
- Roast it for about 80 minutes in a 350°F oven. Allow to slightly cool, then cut and serve.
The water will slowly evaporate as the cauliflower cooks, so it's a good idea to add more water after about 40 minutes of cooking.
Frequently asked questions
That depends on the method you use. The main challenge is that you want to make sure that the inside is cooked through before the outside is burned.
My dad boils the cauliflower first for 10 minutes, then roasts it at 350°F for 45-60 minutes, depending on its size.
But I'm lazy. The thought of a two-step recipe (and an extra pot to wash!) seemed daunting. So I decided to simply bake the cauliflower in the oven, skipping the boiling part.
To ensure that the inside becomes tender, I poured a little water into the pan. This ensures that the outside gets nice and crispy, while the steam from the water penetrates the inside of the cauliflower, helping it to soften.
Using my method, it takes about 80 minutes to cook the cauliflower in a 350°F oven.
When I make roasted cauliflower, I like to roast it at 425°F. But when making this recipe, it's best to bake it at a lower temperature, to ensure even cooking.
In my oven, I find that 80 minutes at 350°F works perfectly. But as you know oven temperatures vary, so you'll have to experiment and see what works in your oven.
No, you shouldn't. Cauliflower stems (and the leaves too) are edible. Removing the core, even very carefully, can cause the cauliflower to fall apart.
I do remove the outer leaves and cut the bottom of the stem, but I leave the core intact, and I find that it softens nicely and it is delicious when baked. By the way, roasted broccoli stalks are also edible and very tasty!
The best way to vary this recipe is to use different spices. Good options include onion powder, chili powder, and ground cumin.
You can also coat the cauliflower with melted ghee instead of using olive oil.
First of all, make sure you bring the cauliflower to the table whole! It's just so pretty. You can cut it at the table after everyone admires your work of art.
As for what dishes go with it, anything goes, really. Much like cauliflower steak, it's substantial enough to even serve as a main dish, with perhaps a side salad. Or you can serve it with fried or poached eggs.
If you'd like to serve it as a side to meat or fish, it's completely your call. I like to serve it with honey garlic chicken or with keto meatloaf because I can bake both dishes in the same 350°F oven.
You can keep the leftovers in the fridge, in an airtight container, for 3-4 days. Reheat them gently in the microwave, on 50% power. They are also good cold! Kind of like eating cold antipasti.
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Roasted Whole Cauliflower
- 1 medium cauliflower head (2 lb. untrimmed)
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt or ½ teaspoon fine salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- Olive oil spray
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Pour ¼ cup of water into a square baking dish.
- Remove the cauliflower's outer leaves but leave the stem intact, trimming it just a little so that the cauliflower head can stand upright in the pan (as shown in the video).
- Wash the cauliflower and dry it well with paper towels.
- Brush the cauliflower all over with the olive oil and sprinkle it with the seasonings. Spray the seasoned cauliflower with olive oil spray.
- Place the cauliflower head, stem side down, in the prepared baking dish. Roast, uncovered, for 40 minutes.
- Carefully remove the pan from the oven, placing it on a trivet mat and leaving the oven on. Use two wide spatulas to temporarily transfer the cauliflower to a plate. Wipe the pan clean with paper towels (careful, it will be hot). Pour ¼ cup of hot water into the pan. Make sure the water is hot, especially if using a Pyrex pan.
- Return the cauliflower to the pan, stem side down. Spray it with more olive oil. Place the pan back in the oven, and continue roasting the cauliflower until the outside is browned and crispy and the inside is tender-crisp, about 40 more minutes.
- Allow to rest for 5 minutes, then cut and serve.