Cauliflower has been enjoying a lasting resurgence in popularity over the past year and has become a permanent fixture on social media channels and food blogs all over the world. Although cauliflower has become a replacement for all kinds of traditionally carb-loaded foods such as rice, pizza crusts, and even mashed potatoes, it truly shines as an ingredient when it’s tossed with herbs and spices, then roasted.
Why You Should Be Loving Cauliflower
Pleasantly nutty with a mild cabbage-like flavor, cauliflower can be roasted, riced, boiled, puréed, steamed, or mashed in place of potatoes. Next time you’re in the mood for a pasta bake, substitute the noodles with roasted or steamed cauliflower for a gluten-free riff on your favorite recipe. Cauliflower can also be a good starch-alternative if you follow a plant-based diet that’s high in carbs seeing as a single cup of steamed cauliflower contains only 2.7 grams of carbohydrates. From a nutritional standpoint, cauliflower is very low in calories (a single cup of boiled cauliflower contains only 14 calories), contains a negligible amount of fat, and is an excellent source of vitamin C.
Roasting cauliflower brings out the vegetable’s deeply nutty and mildly sweet flavors. Spices such as cumin, coriander, and za’atar add an earthiness inspired by Middle Eastern cuisine. Leftover roasted cauliflower is delicious tucked into a pita or as the base for vegan tacos.
Serves: 4 people as a side or 2 people as a main
- 1 medium-sized head of cauliflower
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 2 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. coriander
- 2 tsp. za’atar*
- ½ tsp. chili flakes (or more if you like plenty of spice)
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 3 Tbsp. slivered almonds
- ¼ cup cilantro or parsley, finely chopped
*Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice blend made up of thyme, sesame seeds, and ground sumac. It can be found in many international, Middle Eastern, or Greek grocery stores or online. Substitute a basic Italian seasoning blend for za’atar if you prefer.
- Large bowl
- Small bowl
- Paring knife
- Measuring spoons
- Baking sheet
- Parchment paper
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Using a paring knife, trim the cauliflower of any tough green stalks. Cut the cauliflower into 1-inch pieces and transfer to a large bowl.
- In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, coriander, za’atar, chili flakes, and salt. Drizzle this mixture over the cauliflower pieces and toss to ensure an even coat (use your hands or a large wooden spoon).
- Line a standard-sized baking sheet with parchment paper. Pour the cauliflower and marinade onto the baking sheet and spread out into a single layer.
- Roast the cauliflower for 30 to 40 minutes or until browned, stirring every 10 minutes to ensure even roasting.
- While the cauliflower is cooking, the almonds can be toasted. Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the slivered almonds to the dry pan. Keep a very close eye on them and stir frequently as they will burn easily. The almonds will be done once they become fragrant and begin to brown in spots. Remove from the skillet onto a small plate to prevent further toasting.
- To serve the roasted cauliflower, transfer to a large serving dish and sprinkle with the toasted almonds and cilantro or parsley and drizzle with tahini and yogurt sauce (see below). Serve hot or at room temperature.
Tahini and Yogurt Sauce
In addition to being the perfect roasted cauliflower condiment, this super creamy tahini and yogurt sauce can be used as a dip for veggies, spread onto a sandwich with sprouts and grated carrots, or drizzled over sweet potato wedges. While this recipe will keep in the fridge for up to four days, be warned the garlic flavor becomes more pronounced over time.
- 1 cup of plain yogurt (2 percent fat is ideal)
- 3 Tbsp. tahini
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- Kosher salt, to taste
Whisk together all of the ingredients in a small bowl until smooth, adding cold water one tablespoon at a time until the sauce can easily be drizzled over the roasted cauliflower.