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Whole roasted spice-rubbed cauliflower

Whole roasted spice-rubbed cauliflower | www.ricottaandradishes.com

Other than the potato, can you think of a vegetable more versatile than cauliflower?  I actually thought this through for a minute and couldn’t come up with anything close, except perhaps for winter squash.

It can be prepared in so many different ways and used in countless cuisines around the world.   Raw cauliflower florets are tasty when used as a dipper, and you can roast, steam, boil or stir-fry the florets to tender perfection. Of these methods I personally enjoy roasted cauliflower the most because of the browning factor. So delicious!

Whole roasted spice-rubbed cauliflower | www.ricottaandradishes.com

Cooked cauliflower can also be served mashed in place of potatoes, blended with liquids and seasonings to form a creamy soup, added to curries and pasta dishes, or combined with hot broth to make a creamy sauce for pasta and casseroles.  For this reason it’s a favourite among vegetarians and vegans, those who are lactose intolerant, and anyone looking to eat a bit lighter.

Whole roasted spice-rubbed cauliflower | www.ricottaandradishes.com

 Whole roasted spice-rubbed cauliflower | www.ricottaandradishes.com

Pulse raw cauliflower in a food processor for a few seconds and it turns into tiny pieces similar to rice, making it a great low-carb alternative for fried rice dishes, pilafs, risotto and more.  Cauliflower is also great in pickled form (such as in Italian giardiniera), slathered in Buffalo sauce and served with blue cheese dip in lieu of chicken wings, or even served as “steaks” with a saucy topper.

If that isn’t enough, you can even find purple, yellow and green cauliflower at the grocery store.  Am I forgetting anything?

Whole roasted spice-rubbed cauliflower | www.ricottaandradishes.com

This whole roasted cauliflower recipe is one of the more unconventional ways to cook cauliflower, but it’s really easy and results in a pretty impressive looking dish.  You just need to make a spice rub, similar to what you’d use for meat (like this spice-rubbed turkey), smear it all over the cauliflower and roast it whole for 45 minutes to an hour.

Cauliflower isn’t a protein replacement per se, but it does have a meaty texture so it works as a sort of vegetarian roast.  Serve it as is with a simple side salad, or enjoy a wedge or two as a side dish alongside meat, poultry, fish, legumes or tofu for a more balanced meal.

Whole roasted spice-rubbed cauliflower | www.ricottaandradishes.com

Are you a fan of cauliflower? What’s your favourite way to cook it?

Whole roasted spice-rubbed cauliflower
Serves 2
Whole roasted cauliflower rubbed with spices - ideal as a vegetarian main or side
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
50 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
50 min
  1. 1 medium cauliflower
  2. 2 tbsp olive oil
  3. 1 tsp paprika
  4. 1 tsp chili powder
  5. 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  6. 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  7. 1/2 tsp black pepper
  1. Pre-heat oven to 375F. Remove the outer leaves from the cauliflower and slice off the bottom 1/2 inch of the stalk so that the cauliflower can sit upright. In a small bowl combine the olive oil and spices. Rub all over cauliflower and transfer to a roasting pan, baking sheet or Dutch oven. Roast for 45-60 minutes or until golden brown and fork-tender.
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{ 15 comments… add one }

  • Homemade & Yummy August 7, 2015, 2:45 pm

    I love cauliflower roasted….it is the best way to eat it…of course raw and in soups are great too!! I love the spice combination!!

  • Chrissie (thebusybaker.ca) August 7, 2015, 2:46 pm

    This looks so good! I’ve always wanted to try this but I haven’t yet. Maybe now I will :)
    Beautiful photos too!

  • Trudy @eatliveandplay August 7, 2015, 2:50 pm

    Holy moly Jennifer this looks sooo good and so easy! I’ll definitely give this a try.

  • Meaghan August 7, 2015, 2:51 pm

    I’ve always wanted to try a whole roasted cauliflower and never have! Great recipe I am definitely going to give it a try :)

  • Sarah | (Cooking for) Kiwi & Bean August 7, 2015, 3:47 pm

    One of my favourite veggies! I like to chop it up and roast it with some olive oil and salt and pepper. So simple yet tastes so delish! But I love the idea of roasting it whole. Much more impressive that way…

  • janet @ the taste space August 7, 2015, 4:49 pm

    I have cooked cauliflower in many ways but never has a whole head. I never thought it would cook all the way through. Did you find you had a problem with that?

    • Jennifer Andrews August 7, 2015, 8:51 pm

      Yes, actually. I’ve always had to cook it for the full hour, unless it’s a smaller head (in which case it’s more like 45 mins). The good news is that you can’t overcook it, so just popping the cauliflower back into the oven for extra time is a good solution. Maybe I will add that note to the recipe. Thanks!

  • Jason Sandeman August 7, 2015, 5:41 pm

    I love it. I wonder what it would be like with smoked paprika?

    • Jennifer Andrews August 7, 2015, 8:46 pm

      Mmm, I’m willing to bet amazing! Sometimes it burns in the oven at high temps (which happens to me when I make roasted mini potatoes) but I’d give it a try anyway :)

  • Christina August 7, 2015, 7:02 pm

    I have wanted to try this for a while now. Looks great!

  • kristy @ she eats August 9, 2015, 9:59 am

    Yes yes yes yes yes!!! I love cauliflower! I literally have a physical reaction whenever I make it or see it or whatever. It’s my favourite. Roasted usually but I had an amazing Cauliflower steak at this Mexican restaurant in Austin earlier this Summer and I can’t tell you what was in it, but hot damn it was good. I ordered 2. haha. Love this recipe my darling – stunning and delicious.

  • Kel August 26, 2015, 10:27 am

    Wow, how did I miss this post? I would love to make this!!

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