Roasted cauliflower, and all other variations of ways to cook cauliflower, is finally having its day in the Sun. This is probably due in large part to the keto diet. But whether you are limiting your carbs for a particular diet, or just love the lighter taste of cauliflower, then roasting is probably for you.
This recipe for the best roasted cauliflower, or any other vegetable for that matter, is one of the easiest ways to get a vegetable on the dinner table. It basically cooks itself while you do other things. And the flavor that is yielded from roasting in the oven is unsurpassed.
Some Cauliflower Backstory
We didn’t eat a lot of cauliflower growing up, but I distinctly remember one cauliflower dish that my mom used to make. We were living in the age of “new” microwave ovens (cue angelic music). It was the late 80’s, and my parents had gotten a convection microwave oven. It was the talk of the apartment building. Along with the new microwave, my mom had also purchased several recipe books devoted to microwave cooking. (I can’t imagine these would sell very well now. Isn’t it funny how things change?)
Either way, this recipe involved microwaving an entire head of cauliflower in a little bit of water in a bowl covered in Saran Wrap. (Also something we might not do now.) Once the tender cauliflower came out of the microwave, the head was spread with mayonnaise, sprinkled with bacon bits, and then topped with something green that I can’t remember… chopped celery perhaps. But I do remember that my brother and I loved it! Maybe it was the bacon, but either way we enjoyed every bite.
Fast forward 25 years, and I’m in the same position as my mom. I’m trying to come up with side dishes that my kids will love but that also save me time. And while I try not to use the microwave as much, I do totally understand that it was a great time saver for my family back then. But the oven, while not a fast cooking method, does have an ease to it. I don’t have to continually watch it, and my nose lets me know when the veggies are ready.
How to Roast Vegetables
So what are the components of a well-roasted vegetable? In truth, this recipe can be applied to pretty much any root vegetable, beans, okra, or asparagus. Roasting basically consists of chunks of vegetable, in this case cauliflower, spread on a single layer on a baking sheet. This is important, because if you pile the veggies on top of one another, you end up steaming the vegetables on the lower layer instead of roasting them. Then you need some kind of oil or fat, such as olive oil, avocado oil, or even bacon fat (so smoky and good!). And finally, the seasonings of your choice are added.
The Best Roasted Cauliflower
Let’s get down to how to perfectly roast cauliflower.
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Then begin preparations by cutting your fresh cauliflower into small chunks. See my video below for how to cut a head of cauliflower. Place the cauliflower pieces all over the baking sheet.
- Drizzle the cauliflower pieces with good quality olive oil (or the fat of your choice), and use a spatula or spoon to be sure your pieces are coated.
- Season the cauliflower pieces with your favorite seasoning mix. My go-to for roasted vegetables is salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Remember not to overdo it. You can always add more salt later, but you can’t take it away if you’re a bit heavy handed.
- Slide baking sheet into the oven and let roast for 20-25 minutes. If you prefer an even darker roast on your cauliflower, then leave the cauliflower in the oven for five more minutes or until desired color is reached.
And that’s it! You can choose any number of seasonings to add to the best roasted cauliflower you’ve ever made. This may include cumin and chili powder for a southwestern flair. Fresh lemon juice and parsley for a tangy and earthy taste, or fresh garlic cloves roasted alongside the cauliflower for bits of deliciousness added in. If you happen to have fresh garden herbs, make some compound butter and melt a pat or two on your roasted cauliflower straight out of the oven. It’s a winner!