Whole Roasted Cauliflower is a stunning centerpiece that shows how a simple vegetable can become the star of the show. Originating from Levantine cuisine, this dish’s popularity blossomed worldwide, as it’s a perfect alternative for a vegetarian main course, or an impressive side that even the carnivores at the table will adore. The beauty of this dish lies in the caramelization and the complex flavors that emerge from such a humble vegetable when roasted whole. It’s a nutritious choice, high in fiber and vitamins, and a delightful option for those aspiring to eat more plant-based meals.
This dish pairs wonderfully with a bolstering grain salad, like quinoa or farro, tossed with fresh herbs and a lemony vinaigrette. I also enjoy serving it with a side of creamy tahini sauce or herbed yogurt to complement the roasted flavors. If you want to keep things low-carb, a colorful side salad with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and a tangy dressing will do the trick. Should you wish for a heartier meal, you can’t go wrong with a side of crusty whole-grain bread to sop up all the wonderful juices.
Classic Whole Roasted Cauliflower
– 1 large head of cauliflower
– 1/4 cup of olive oil
– 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
– 4 cloves of garlic, minced
– 1 teaspoon of paprika
– 1/2 teaspoon of ground turmeric
– Salt and pepper, to taste
– Fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped for garnish
1. Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). Remove the leaves from the cauliflower and trim the stem so the cauliflower can sit flat, but be careful not to cut too close to the florets.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, paprika, and turmeric to create a marinade. Season it generously with salt and pepper.
3. Place the cauliflower in a cast iron skillet or a baking dish and brush the entire surface with the marinade, using your hands or a brush to get into the nooks and crannies.
4. Cover the cauliflower with foil and roast in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Afterward, remove the foil, and continue roasting for an additional 20-30 minutes or until the surface is crispy and a deep golden brown.
5. Once done, let the cauliflower rest for a few minutes. Then, sprinkle it with chopped parsley or cilantro for a fresh, herby contrast and serve.
Variations & Tips:
– For those who appreciate a bit of heat, adding a sprinkle of red pepper flakes or a dash of cayenne to the marinade can provide a pleasant kick.
– If you’re a fan of smoky flavors, a bit of ground cumin or smoked paprika is a fine addition to the spice blend.
– Try tossing a couple of capers in the baking dish during the final roasting phase for an unexpected burst of briny flavor.
– Roasting alongside some root vegetables, such as carrots or potatoes, can turn this dish into a one-pan wonder perfect for busy weeknights.
Remember, roasting times may vary depending on the size of your cauliflower, so keep an eye on it after you remove the foil to ensure a perfect golden crust. Enjoy your culinary adventure with this versatile vegetable – it’s a canvas for creativity!