I love making this 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 did. It's a great recipe and I've been making it regularly ever since. The cauliflower looks so impressive when it emerges from the oven. But the best part? It's delicious, and the leftovers keep well for several days.
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this recipe. 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. Melted butter is another tasty option.
- To season: I use 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.
The best way to vary this recipe is to use different spices. Good options that I tried and liked include onion powder, chili powder, and ground cumin. You can add ½ teaspoon of each.
You can also coat the cauliflower with melted butter or ghee instead of using olive oil.
Roasted Whole Cauliflower Instructions
Scroll down to the recipe card for detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps for making this recipe:
- Brush the cauliflower all over with olive oil. (Photo 1).
- Sprinkle it with spices, then spray it with more olive oil. (Photo 2).
- Place it in a pan with a little water at the bottom. (Photo 3).
- Roast it for about 80 minutes in a 350°F oven. (Photo 4).
- Allow to slightly cool, then cut and serve. (Photos 5-6).
The water will slowly evaporate as the cauliflower cooks, so it's a good idea to add more water after about 40 minutes of roasting.
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 the cauliflower head 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 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, broccoli stems are also edible and very tasty!
Make sure you bring the cauliflower to the table whole! It's 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 (try arugula salad or tomato salad). Or you can serve it with fried or poached eggs.
You can keep the leftovers in the fridge, in an airtight container, for 3-4 days. Reheat them gently in the microwave at 50% power.
They are also good when served cold! Kind of like eating cold antipasti.
More Cauliflower Recipes
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Roasted Whole Cauliflower
- 1 medium cauliflower head (2 lb. untrimmed)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil extra virgin
- 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt or ½ teaspoon of any other
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- Olive oil spray
- Preheat your oven to 350°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 (be 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 the cauliflower to rest for 5 minutes, then cut it and serve.