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This perfect Roasted Cauliflower is one of the best and easiest ways to cook this cruciferous vegetable. Baking the cauliflower on high heat turns it into a sort of vegetable candy with crisp caramelized edges and soft centers – and it’s absolutely impossible to stop eating!
Table of Contents
- Why You’ll Love This Roasted Cauliflower Recipe
- What You’ll Need for Baked Cauliflower
- How To Cut Cauliflower Florets
- How To Make Roasted Cauliflower
- Seasoning and Variation Ideas
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Tips for the Best Roasted Cauliflower
- Proper Storage
- Make It A Meal
- Get the Recipe
- More Easy Cauliflower Recipes
Why You’ll Love This Roasted Cauliflower Recipe
Roasted cauliflower is one of the easiest and best ways to prepare cauliflower, if not the best! When you roast cauliflower in the oven, the heat somehow magically transforms this humble vegetable into a melting pile of flavorful florets that are absolutely irresistible. And you need just four ingredients to make it!
I like my oven-roasted cauliflower soft but crispy. To get that perfect texture and slightly caramelized flavor, I have a few tips and techniques you’ll read about below. When it’s done, the flavor is just unbelievable. There are nights when I seriously can eat half a head of roasted cauliflower all by myself, it’s that amazing. I highly recommend you add baked cauliflower to your arsenal of easy vegetable side dishes.
Cuisine Inspiration: American
Primary Cooking Method: Oven
Dietary Info: Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Nut-free, Egg-free
Skill Level: Easy
The flavor of roasted cauliflower is just unbelievable. It’s like the ultimate vegetable candy – sweet-salty goodness that’s actually good for you! Here’s why you’ll love making roasted cauliflower:
- Easy yet effective method. The bit of fat from the olive oil helps the cauliflower to roast beautifully in the oven without burning or getting overcooked. Let the oven do the cooking work for you – all you have to do is cut the cauliflower and season it.
- Perfect with so many dishes. Baked cauliflower is a simple and versatile side dish that is great with meat, grains, other vegetables, or even mixed into pasta.
- Naturally gluten-free. Like all vegetables, cauliflower is gluten-free, making it a good choice for those on a gluten-free diet.
What You’ll Need for Baked Cauliflower
You need just four ingredients to make this irresistible side dish. Make sure to scroll to the recipe card at the end of this post for the full ingredient amounts.
How To Cut Cauliflower Florets
To cut your cauliflower before you roast it, first remove the leaves and place it on a cutting board. Then, using a sharp knife, cut it in half from the crown to the stem, then cut the pieces in half. Now angle the knife so that you can cut out the tough core. Repeat this process with the remaining pieces of cauliflower. With your hands, pull off the florets and proceed with the recipe.
How To Make Roasted Cauliflower
Here’s how to make easy and wonderful roasted cauliflower. You’ll find the detailed instructions in the recipe card at the end of this post.
- Prepare. Preheat oven to 450°F and coat a large metal baking sheet with a small amount of olive oil.
- Cut the cauliflower. Wash and dry the cauliflower and cut it into florets.
- Season. Mix the cauliflower with the olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Bake. Spread the cauliflower it in a single layer on the baking sheet. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
- Flip. Remove the foil and turn the florets.
- Finish. Return the uncovered pan to the oven and roast for an additional 10-15 minutes.
Seasoning and Variation Ideas
I love the simplicity of this recipe which allows the cauliflower flavor to shine through. But it’s also wonderful when you add a bit more to it. Here are some of my favorite ways to dress up this recipe:
- Add Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle a little shredded or grated Parmesan cheese over the cauliflower during the second half of baking.
- Toss in some dried herbs. When you season the cauliflower with salt and pepper you can also add some dried herbs. Oregano, rosemary, thyme, or a combination are lovely.
- Add fresh herbs. Or, chop up some fresh herbs and add them along with the olive oil before cooking the cauliflower.
- Sprinkle on some truffle salt. For a flavor boost, swap the salt for truffle salt!
Frequently Asked Questions
It’s easy to spot a good cauliflower. The vegetable should be firm, with no softness (this is a sign of spoiling so avoid any cauliflowers that seem soft). A head of cauliflower should also be pale white, with no dark spots. The stem and leaves should be fresh and green, with no rotting areas visible. And, it should smell fresh!
For the perfect roasted cauliflower, bake it for about 35-40 minutes at a high temperature. You’ll want to check it after 35 minutes to make sure it doesn’t get too blackened or burned. The ideal roasted cauliflower is nicely caramelized but still slightly soft
Yes, vegetables should always be washed before roasting. Rinse it well, and most importantly, dry it thoroughly. You want to get rid of any excess moisture so that it caramelizes properly while roasting.
Tips for the Best Roasted Cauliflower
- Prepare the cauliflower in advance. You can chop up a cauliflower or two and place the florets in an airtight container for a few days in the fridge until you’re ready to roast them.
- Add enough oil. Make sure that all of the cauliflower florets are lightly coated in olive oil before you place them in the oven. Too little oil can cause the cauliflower to burn rather than caramelize.
- Spread out the florets. When you place the cauliflower on the baking sheet, you don’t want them to be on top of each other. Try to leave enough space in between them so that they don’t get mushy during baking.
- Roast the cauliflower at a high temperature. Follow the recipe as it’s written to cook the cauliflower on high heat so it gets perfectly soft-crisp!
Here’s what to do with leftover cauliflower:
- Fridge – Store leftover roasted cauliflower in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- To Reheat – To reheat, place the cauliflower in a microwave-safe dish and gently rewarm it in the microwave at 30-second intervals until hot.
Make It A Meal
Roasted cauliflower is the best side dish! I love to serve it with all sorts of mains, from meat to vegetarian options. Here are some ways to serve oven baked cauliflower:
- With roasted meats. Baked cauliflower is a wonderful vegetable side on the Thanksgiving table, or you can serve it alongside any roasted meat. Try my Rosemary Balsamic Roast Chicken, Herb Roast Turkey, or Bottom Round Roast recipes.
- In pasta. You can add roasted cauliflower to Gluten Free Fettuccine Alfredo or swirl it into Homemade Marinara Sauce with gluten-free pasta. Or serve it as a side to Gluten Free Chicken Parmesan.
- Alongside a vegetarian main meal. A hearty vegetarian main needs a vegetable side, and roasted cauliflower is always just right! Serve baked cauliflower with Gluten Free Stovetop Mac and Cheese, Gluten Free Gnocchi, Stovetop Mushroom Risotto, or Quinoa Stuffed Tomatoes.
- Add a salad. Try a hearty salad like my Roasted Asparagus Salad, Easy Greek Salad, or Three Bean Salad with cauliflower.
- Serve with a grain. Simple grain side dishes like Basmati Rice, Quinoa, or Brown Rice are a nice neutral backdrop to roasted cauliflower, and you can pile on the toppings to make Buddha Bowls.
- Preheat oven to 450°F and coat a large metal baking sheet with a small amount og olive oil.
- Wash and dry cauliflower and cut into florets. The smaller you cut it, the more toasty and crispy the edges will get.
- Place the cauliflower in a pile on the baking sheet, drizzle with about a tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Toss to coat and spread into a single layer on the baking sheet.
- Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove from the over and using a metal spatula, gently flip the cauliflower.
- Return, uncovered to the oven, and roast for an additional 10-15 minutes, flipping again after about 10 minutes.