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This easy Oven Roasted Cauliflower recipe is one of my go-to choices for giving my family a healthy vegetable side to go with dinner. It’s quick, healthy, mostly hands off, goes with almost anything, and everybody, even my cauliflower-hating husband, enjoys cauliflower this way.
If you are trying to eat more vegetables without getting bored, I’m right there with you. Try my Oven Roasted Asparagus with Garlic, Parmesan, & Lemon, Haricot Verts with Dijon Vinaigrette, or Stir-Fried Baby Bok Choy!
Roasted Cauliflower Recipe
I share a lot a of dessert recipes here on the blog, but we always try to balance things out by eating healthy the majority of the time. And everybody knows one of the best ways to eat healthy is to make sure to include a vegetable with most meals.
The problem for most people (myself included) is that vegetables can seem so boring! Too often they are bland and steamed to the point of being lifeless, limp things with no flavor or texture to enjoy.
Which is why I love roasting veggies in the oven. It’s our favorite approach for making broccoli as well.
Roasting vegetables usually unlocks a natural sweetness or nuttiness in a lot of veggies, which turns them from lackluster or even off-putting to being something craveworthy! Even with the simplest approach to seasoning of just a little olive oil, salt, and pepper.
The edges get caramelized and the cauliflower has a wonderful al dente texture.
Lest you think I’m overselling, even my eight-year-old recently told me that this roasted cauliflower is better than candy. And my husband, who otherwise hates cauliflower with a passion, likes to eat it this way.
I can easily polish off a whole head of cauliflower all on my own if given the chance. Like when I make and photograph it while the kids are at school and husband is at work, which is exactly what happened here.
Seriously, if you haven’t yet tried cauliflower that has been roasted in the oven, get thee to the kitchen!
How to Cut Cauliflower
The easiest way to cut a whole head of cauliflower is to start by placing it on a clean cutting board and using a large, sharp knife to slice it right down the center from the top of the white florets (the crown) through the thick stalk at the base of the cauliflower head.
This gives a large flat surface area to the two halves that make for much safer and stable cutting from here on out. Lay each half head of cauliflower flat on the cutting board and slice it in half again to quarter the cauliflower head.
Now cut the cauliflower core away by slicing each quarter head slightly on the diagonal. From here, it’s just a matter of cutting or breaking the cauliflower into florets that are roughly the same size for even roasting. If some of the florets are too large, cut them in half or quarters.
How to Roast Cauliflower
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. You want it nice and hot so that the cauliflower will caramelize around the edges.
- Rinse and dry the cauliflower florets (don’t skip drying it or it won’t be as crispy), then drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with a little salt, pepper, and maybe a little garlic powder, which is optional. This is also the time to add additional herbs or spices if you are going to do so (see below for ideas!). I do this all on the pan to save having to wash an extra bowl.
- Spread the cauliflower out in an even layer with the cut sides down, then roast for 20-25 minutes, just until tender but still al dente. At this point, you could add shredded cheese, capers, toasted pine nuts, raisins, or additions to make for a fancier side dish.
Health Benefits of Cauliflower
If you have ever wondered whether cauliflower is good for you, the answer is a resounding yes! It is low in calories and packed with fiber and vitamins. It’s actually considered a superfood by many.
Spicing Things Up: Simple Ways to Season Your Roasted Cauliflower
Cauliflower actually makes a really great blank canvas for adding flavors to change up your side dish and make it the perfect accompaniment to a meal.
Here are some other options to change up my basic roasted cauliflower recipe so you will never get bored!
Spicy Roasted Cauliflower: Toss the cauliflower florets with 4 cloves minced garlic, zest of 1 lemon, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 black pepper before transferring to the baking sheet and roasting.
Curry Roasted Cauliflower: Sprinkle 1-2 teaspoons of curry powder over the cauliflower before roasting. I recommend starting with the lower amount and adding more if you think it’s necessary.
Cajun Roasted Cauliflower: Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of cajun seasoning over the cauliflower before roasting. Same as with the curry roasted cauliflower, I suggest starting with the smaller amount of seasoning and then adding more to taste.
Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower: Roast the cauliflower until almost tender, then sprinkle with 1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and roast another 3-4 minutes until the Parmesan has melted.
You could even add a tablespoon of lemon juice and 2 cloves of garlic along with the Parmesan, which is the same approach I take with asparagus and broccoli. That combination never gets old for me!
Herb Roasted Cauliflower: Sprinkle the cauliflower with 2 teaspoons (total) of your favorite dried herbs like basil, oregano, rosemary, and thyme before roasting.
Roasted Cauliflower with Raisins and Pine Nuts: While the cauliflower is roasting, toast 1/4 cup of pine nuts in a small skillet, then add 1/4 cup of golden raisins and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Remove from the heat and add to the roasted cauliflower once it is tender.
I first had this version at one of my favorite restaurants in Half Moon Bay called Sam’s Chowder House and it’s one of my other favorites that I like to serve with seafood a lot.
More Roasted Cauliflower Recipes You’ll Love
- Roasted Cauliflower Soup
- Smoky Cheddar Roasted Cauliflower Hummus
- Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing
- Spicy Cauliflower Cheese Bites with Tahini Ranch
- Roasted Cauliflower and Garlic Pasta
More Vegetable Side Dishes To Try
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Apples
- Green Beans with Bacon & Pine Nuts
- Oven Roasted Barbecue Potato Wedges
- Italian Peas Recipe
- Traditional German Red Cabbage [Rotkohl]
- 1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- On a large baking sheet, drizzle the cauliflower florets with olive oil, then season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder (if desired). Toss to evenly coat, then spread in an even layer with cut sides down to maximize surface area for the cauliflower to caramelize.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes, just until tender and the edges are caramelized. The amount of time will depend largely on the size of your florets and how tender or al dente you prefer your cauliflower.
- Be sure to try some of the variations mentioned in the post for Parmesan roasted cauliflower, spicy roasted cauliflower, roasted cauliflower with raisins and pine nuts, and more!
- I have made this with cauliflower florets purchased from Costco, which works great, although some of the florets are still very large and need to be cut in half first.
- Leftover roasted cauliflower will keep for up to 4 days in an airtight container in the fridge and can be reheated in the microwave or a 350 degree F oven until hot, about 10 minutes.