No one thinks to roast cauliflower. OK, no one thinks about poor cauliflower. If you think cauliflower is mushy and smelly, you need to give it another try. Boiling, which is how most cookbooks from the previous generation suggested cooking this vegetable, is the absolute worst choice. The cauliflower comes out watery, bland, and mushy.
Roasting intensifies the delicate flavor of this vegetable, giving it a sweet, nutty flavor. And the texture turns creamy in the oven. Trust us. Once you roast cauliflower, you won’t turn back to other methods.
Cauliflower doesn’t have very much moisture and it can wither in a blazing hot oven. We found it helpful to cover the baking sheet for the first 10 minutes of the cooking time. The foil traps steam and helps keep the delicate florets moist. Once the foil is removed, the cauliflower is cooked another 20 minutes until richly browned on both sides.
We found that cutting the cauliflower pole to pole into large wedges (we cut one head of cauliflower into 8 oversized wedges) exposes more surface area to the hot sheet pan and promotes better browning. Also, cutting through the core produces wedges that stay intact and can be turned at the halfway point in the uncovered roasting time.
We think roasted cauliflower has such a great flavor we don’t use anything more than olive oil, salt, and pepper in this recipe. If you prefer, you can pair the roasted cauliflower with a creamy yogurt-based sauce flavored with curry, cilantro, and lime or try a Japanese-style sauce with soy sauce, garlic, ginger, mirin, and toasted sesame oil. Another option is to add 2 teaspoons of curry powder or chili powder to the oil that will be drizzled over the cauliflower before it is roasted. Whatever you choose, give roasted cauliflower a chance.
Total Cooking Time: 45
Preparation Time: 15
Active Cooking Time: 30
Make Ahead: Serve immediately
Yield: 4 to 6 servings