Feb 092014

whole roasted cauliflower recipe

I’ve always loved cauliflower steamed until just tender, salted, and served with a little melted butter, or olive oil. But lately I’ve become curious about other ways to serve it, especially now when the vegetable is at peak season, so snowy and tender.  Something a little piquant seems called for, to offset the vegetables’ slight sweetness – something acid, something herbal, something cheesy.

Here’s a recipe that does all of that.  And the great thing is, it’s easy. Wait – another great thing. When you serve an entire head of cauliflower, all you need is good bread, butter, and salad to make a fine vegetarian meal.

Whole Roasted Cauliflower With Yogurt And Herbs


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 head cauliflower, trimmed of leaves and hard stem parts

1½ cups plain Greek yogurt

Juice of 1 lemon

1 large garlic clove, crushed

1/4  cup chopped parsley or fresh za’atar or oregano

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup grated Parmesan or other sharp cheese.

Line a baking sheet with baking paper, or grease it well with butter. Preheat the oven to 205°C – 400°F.

In a large bowl, blend yogurt with all remaining ingredients except cheese.

Steam the cauliflower: see UPDATE below. Turn the cauliflower, head-down, into the bowl. Move it around gently to cover as much of the surface as possible with the yogurt blend. Spoon more yogurt into the spaces between the florets. Turn right-side-up and massage more yogurt all over it.

Press the grated cheese all over the surface, as much as possible. Place it on the baking sheet.

Roast the cauliflower 30 – 40 minutes, until well crusted and tender. Check for done-ness by inserting a thin knife into the thickest part, on the bottom.

Serve, and enjoy.

UPDATE: I’ve received a couple of comments where the readers stated that their cauliflower remained tough even after prolonged cooking. Maybe Israeli cauliflower is more tender, or maybe   late-summer cauliflower is more mature and tough. But I now advise steaming the whole head of cauliflower in an inch of boiling water for 5 minutes before going on to seasoning and roasting it.

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  16 Responses to “Whole Roasted Cauliflower With Yogurt And Herbs”

  1. I love roasted cauliflower. The yogurt dressing is a great idea. Tip: to cut roasting time, microwave the cauliflower for 10 minutes first.

  2. Wow! That looks AMAZING. Do you have a technique for checking for thrips and other bugs that you feel comfortable sharing? I have trouble checking for bugs without breaking the head. Could this recipe be adjusted for loose florets without killing that gorgeous presentation?

  3. Hmmm? Never tried roasted cauliflower. But I scour the Internet for vegetable recipes and this one sounds mouth-wateringly awesome!

  4. Looks like a lovely way to prepare cauliflower!

  5. Hi Rivka. I buy the bug-free cauliflower when I can. That’s my secret technique! Otherwise, you pretty much have to take the head apart in order to check for bugs. For a pretty presentation, I gather all the florets into an oven-proof bowl so that they fit in side as tightly as possible, then roast.

  6. Great tip, Raizy. I don’t own a microwave myself, but I’m sure most readers do, and will appreciate that tidbit.

  7. Have you tried it yet? If you like cauliflower, you’ll like this one.

  8. Yes, Kalyn, and it’s so easy! Hope you try it!

  9. The ‘marinade’ is SO wonderful, I’m using it for a veggie tray dip.

  10. I tried this recipe. the sauce is quite good. However the Cauliflower seems to stay very hard. am I supposed to steam it first?

  11. Luther, I would venture to guess that the cauliflower simply needed to cook longer. It might help to fit the cauliflower into a pan that’s only a little bigger than the vegetable, so that the steam from released juices will cook it more thoroughly. Finally, if the cauliflower was old, that might account for its toughness.

  12. Tried this as the pic looked delicious.

    I do think you need to cook the cauliflower more than halfway first as I baked for over an hour and it’s hard.

    After 30 minutes I added some water to the pan and covered with foil, but that did little to help after giving it another 30 minutes.

    Now I’ll scrape the dried yogurt coating off, cut up, and bake with butter and breadcrumbs.

    The cauliflower has very little moisture within to bake whole.

  13. Susan, I’ve updated the recipe to include steaming the cauliflower in an inch of boiling water prior to seasoning and roasting it. Honestly, I’m a bit mystified, because my cauliflower has always come out tender this way – but, as I replied to the commenter below, I think that your vegetable must have been tough to start with. I can think of two reasons for this: one, that it was stored in a commercial cooler for so long that it began to dry out some; or that it was picked when already old. Whatever the reason, steaming it first should take care of the problem. I hope your baked cauliflower idea was a good solution.

  14. If you like this recipe ,,you may like a variation on a theme..try adding some pataks curry paste to your yogurt,,whatever your favourite might be Balti,,rogan josh,,Jalfrezi,,any of these will give your cauliflower a whole new dimension.

  15. Ken, what a good suggestion. Darn, now I want some curried roasted cauliflower.

  16. Glad you like the idea..You could try Brinjal pickle blended up and added to your yoghurt.. i also like to add things like lime pickle and brinjal pickle to mayonnaise as a dip you can make some interesting and spicy ( if you like spicy ) dips this way.

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