Roasting Cauliflower

In the colder months, we roast, braise, bake and generally use the oven without hesitation. Roasting vegetables is a great way to make their flavor really shine.  For cauliflower (as well as for other members of the cabbage family), roasting also mitigates the “boiled-cabbage” odor that can permeate the house – one that so many people find objectionable.  And while we have plenty of other veggies at the moment (roots, tubers and hardy greens) that are delicious roasted, cauliflower is possibly the vegetable that really benefits from roasting. If you ever had boiled or steamed cauliflower and lamented its ensuing sogginess, you know what I mean…

A few weeks ago I was hired to make side dishes for a large birthday party, and roasted cauliflower with capers was on the menu. Another version – a little spicier – is one I also like, as it combines ginger (a favorite spice of mine), garlic & jalapenos.  The dish can be served immediately while warm – or at room temperature. It can be prepared ahead and refrigerated; in which case, take it out of the fridge about 1 hour before serving time to bring it to room temperature. It’s – in other words – perfect for the potluck parties that are looming around at this time of the year.

If you have had boiled cauliflower before and did not care for it, try roasting it before totaling giving up on it.


Roasted Cauliflower with Ginger Garlic

Serves 6 to 8.


  • 1 medium-sized head cauliflower (about 1.5 to 2 pound)
  • Splash of white vinegar
  • 6 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (divided into 3 T & 3 T)
  • 1 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 glove garlic, green germ removed (if any), minced
  • 1 piece of fresh ginger root, about 1 inch long, minced
  • 1 small green jalapeno top and seeds removed, minced (optional)
  • 4 spring of parsley, finely minced (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 400. Core cauliflower. Trim stem and break  the head into florets of even size (cutting results in many tiny florets wasted and dirtying your cutting board unnecessarily – so break, don’t cut). Add the florets to a large bowl filled with water into which you have splashed white vinegar, swish them around and let stand for 10 minutes (this helps encourages any resident critters to float away from the florets.) Drain the florets.
  2. Pour 3 Tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy duty rimmed baking sheet, toss the cauliflower florets with the oil, and spread them one layer thick. Roast 35 to 40 minutes until cauliflower is tender and has some golden brown edges. Stir once mid-way through (if you remember).
  3. Meanwhile put all the remaining ingredients except parsley – but including the remaining 3 T olive oil – in the blender and process until smooth. Toss the roasted cauliflower while still hot with the sauce. Sprinkle with parsley. Toss some more. Serve hot or at room temperature.

6 thoughts on “Roasting Cauliflower”

  • Agreed, roasted caulflower is the best. We love the crisppy brown crunch. To make ours, we like the oven even hotter–450 degrees. We simply toss the florets in olive oil then season with salt and curry powder. Roast until they are just cooked through. There should be plenty of caramelization to enjoy.

  • Great preparation, Sylvie. I’m one of those former cauliflower non-enthusiasts who’s had his eyes opened by the roasting method. You’ve exactly nailed it in describing why roasting it is so much better than boiling. I’m intrigued by the flavors in this recipe–the ginger and chili really perk up a wintry palate, I imagine. David (Momofuku) Chang makes a fish sauce vinaigrette to serve with roasted brussels sprouts or cauliflower. Yours seems to pick up that same impulse.

    Best~ Brett

  • Brett – ouh! fish sauce vinaigrette… another great idea…..

    Ed – yes, actually higher temperature is better for extra crispiness – might just have to watch it more carefully at higher temperature – at 400, I really can walk away for 30 minutes.

    Polly – absolutely! roasting works so well for the big cabbage family… including cabbage, broccoli, turnips etc…

  • mmm that sounds delicious, Sylvie! I love roasted cauliflower. Wegmans has a recipe that i make often which they call “roasted cauliflower popcorn” that’s similar, which is roasted for 15 minutes at 450. They have you toss the raw cauliflower with their “basting oil” which is oil with parsley, garlic, and some other herbs; then sprinkle with grated parm at the end. The veg gets wonderfully caramelized. I like the ingredients for your sauce (am crazy about ginger in anything) and will give it a whirl!

  • Very good, we tried it last night(though without the jalepenos).I did find there was more oil than we needed so I’ll use less next time. Jp wants to know if its alright if he translates the recipe in french.Citing his sources of course

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