Roasted Garlic-Parmesan Cauliflower

CATEGORIES: Gluten Free, Sara, Vegetables

Last week in my post about the cheesy pasta bake, I mentioned that I’m not a huge cauliflower fan.  I didn’t eat it much growing up and I’ve never been able to swallow it raw as an adult.   But then a few years ago I tried cauliflower puree, back when it was all the rage and people tried to convince you it was a perfectly acceptable low-carb substitution for mashed potatoes and no one would ever know it wasn’t potatoes because it tasted just the same!  For the record, those people are full of crap.  Those are the same people that tell you to put marinara sauce on a spaghetti squash instead of actual spaghetti.  Do not trust those people; it will end in disappointment my friends.  While cauliflower is an absolutely horrible replacement for mashed potatoes, I was shockingly surprised to find that I actually liked the flavor of the puree.  If you or your spouse or kids have vegetables they don’t like, my advice is to experiment with different cooking methods.  It’s amazing what a difference one cooking method to another makes in taste and texture and you might just find you love something you previously despised!  When it comes to vegetables, there is one tried and true cooking method that will transform just about anything into something delicious: roasting.  If you’re ever in doubt about how to cook an unfamiliar veggie, or you’re not too fond of it- roast it.  I swear.  Amazing things happen.  (Hello Brussel Sprouts!)

So here’s a great, quick and easy side dish recipe.  Start with a head of cauliflower.

Remove all of the stem and leaves and then just carefully cut it into large florets.  It’s a little different than broccoli in that the pieces sort of stick together more.  You’ll want to slice the florets into about 1/4 inch slices.  See in this picture below, it’s basically just one piece of stem. You’ll want to keep most pieces attached to at least some portion of a stem so it doesn’t all fall apart on ya.

Just toss it all on a foil lined baking sheet so it’s in a single layer.  You want all of the pieces to have contact with the pan so they can brown and caramelize.  Next, drizzle on fresh minced garlic and extra virgin olive oil.  A little trick you’ll see in the instructions is that I heat the oil and garlic in the microwave just to warm it.  That infuses the oil with the garlic flavor, therefore better flavoring your veggies.

And sprinkle on some kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper, too.

You’ll notice when you toss it all together that you’ll have little bits all over.  It’s crumbled pieces of cauliflower and garlic and it’s the best part after it’s cooked!  Scoop all of those up and sprinkle them on top of everything else before you put your pan in the oven.

Now, pop that pan in a hot oven and let it do its thing.  Everything starts to brown and caramelize and smell amazing.  You’ll toss it midway through, and then toss it with a little parmesan cheese in the last few minutes of baking.  See how it looks like it all shrank in the photo below??  That’s because I ate half the pan with my fingers before I even snapped a picture.

In fact, I just ate it all plain.  Comin’ from a self-professed cauliflower hater y’all!

PS, if you own our cook book you’ll see this is basically the exact same way I cook my broccoli.  Try it with both!  


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  1. Going to second Sara – I hate cauliflower, but I love it roasted and so do my little boys, so if you’re reluctant to try it, go for it! Never tried it with the parmesan though, so excited to try this variation.

  2. I’m still working up the nerve to try the cauliflower sauce you posted last week and I’m pretty sure I’m not ready to try it plain yet. But I’ll definitely try this with broccoli. I love your cookbook but I haven’t discovered that gem yet. Thanks for the tip.

  3. I JUST made the broccoli version of this last night and it was absolutely delicious! I can tolerate fresh broccoli & cauliflower, but they’re not my preference, but, like you, I scarfed down nearly half of the broccoli before it made it to the serving bowl. YUM!!

  4. Broccoli was never on my list of favorite foods. However, I did get your book for Christmas and the 1st thing I tried was the broccoli. Wow! I never new it could have a slighty sweet flavor because all I ever got before was bitter flavor and that dirty feet smell that so many veggies have when they cook. I cooked that broccoli 3 times in less than a month! I may have to try the cauliflower just because of the broccoli and this post.

  5. i made roasted cauliflower for Thanksgiving and Christmas and I kept the entire head in tact – I just removed the leaves. So much easier. I knew it was done roasting because it was super easy to take a fork to it and the florets would come out really easy. Also, I think I used a whole stick of butter instead of olive oil – your version would be WAY healthier – I’ll have to try it! It also looks really pretty on the table as a whole! I agree – LOVE roasted cauliflower.

  6. Yeah for veggie sides! I love it! Keep em coming! We need a lot more ideas for healthy vegetable side dishes. THank you!

  7. I make a lot of veggies this way, potatoes included. brussel sprouts, broccoli, asparagus, bell peppers, the list could go on and on…parmesan cheese is good, and so is feta cheese!

  8. I am a latecomer to cauliflower and love it well-roasted. I add four large carrots cut on the diagonal to a head of bite-sized cauliflower, use ONE TABLESPOON olive oil (you really can get away with a little bit if you rub it all over the veggies in a bowl), spread on a large pan, sprinkle with nutmeg and bake 40 minutes @ 400 degrees F. After it cools 10 minutes, I squeeze the juice of a lime all over it. Our family of four eats it right up! It’s nutritious and low in calories.

  9. Thanks for sharing this. Also, try putting a few parsnips (steamed) in the cauliflower when you puree it. It ads a bit of pop.

  10. This looks good but I’m a bit confused. How do you toss it if it is on the baking sheet? Do you just turn it with a pancake turner? Also do you sprinkle on the cheese and then turn it over again? The tossing has me perplexed 🙂

    1. Flip, stir, mix, toss, whatever you want to call it 🙂 We’re not talking about actually tossing in the air if that has you perplexed. Just gently toss everything with a spatula.

  11. Lovely recipe. I adore the taste of roast cauliflower and it makes a great base for soup. I make something similar to this recipe but add sprinkle of lemon juice and shredded parmesan cheese at the end without returning to the oven.

  12. I am with you on roasting veggies…esp. Brussel sprouts, broccoli & sweet potatoes…SO good. Now, I’m definitely trying this cauliflower recipe. Thanks!

  13. Even my picky teeanger is eating vegies roasted in the oven… usually just with olive oil and salt and pepper… fast, easy, tasty! (I don’t bug him about silverware with these either… pick your battles, mommies!)

  14. Hi there! Can’t wait to try this! By “crumbled” parmesan, do you mean fresh grated? Will that work OK? thanks!

  15. I love raw cauliflower but have never been able to eat it cooked — go figure! I will definitely be giving this a try this week!

  16. Just wanted to pop in and say, I stumbled onto your blog last year when looking for a Cafe Rio-ish vinaigrette dressing, and had tried a few recipes, which were all great. Then I received your cookbook at Christmas, and we have tried a new dish from it nearly every day. What a wonderful cookbook! Everything has turned out so yummy, even my picky family has scarfed it all up. Can’t wait for your new cookbook!

  17. It’s in the oven right now…smells divine! Can’t say I’ve ever served cauliflower as a side dish before, but you’ve convinced me 🙂

  18. Cauliflower was okay, kind of mushy when cooked and I couldn’t really stand raw. Then a friend posted about roasting her cauliflower on FB and I was intrigued. I tried it. Oh my heck!!! It takes on a whole new flavor and has a wonderful nutty taste. AND MY KIDS ATE IT UP!!! So, yes, this is a wonderful way to make cauliflower. I will have to try the olive oil/garlic trick, and then toss it with p. cheese at the end. YUMM!

  19. I love cauliflower and really want to try this recipe but it’s summer here so no caulies for months. Never have liked winter but bring it on!!!

  20. Roasting vegetables is amazing. I love roasting green beans with just a little olive oil and kosher salt. So simple and so good. This recipe is going on my menu for the week. I really appreciate all of the healthy recipes you and Kate are posting.

  21. LOL: “For the record, those people are full of crap. Those are the same people that tell you to put marinara sauce on a spaghetti squash instead of actual spaghetti. Do not trust those people; it will end in disappointment my friends.” You guys crack me up! Love reading your blog!!

  22. We just had this for dinner. Oh my it was delicious! My husband does not like cauliflower, but he loved this. He said it was the best caulfilower he has ever had! I used less (1.5 tbs) of olive oil.

  23. This will be my go-to recipe for cauliflower. I just made it for lunch and am eating it RIGHT NOW! It comes together very quickly, especially if you chopped up the cauliflower the day before. So tasty, and I love that there are so few ingredients, and always things I will have on hand.

  24. I did a pan of broccoli and cauliflower last night….soooo good!My kids even ate it without saying anything except “yum!”

  25. After seeing this recipe the other day… I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. So for dinner tonight, I made some. THAT was my dinner. I literally ate it all!

    YUUUUUUMMMMM! So addicting! I will be making this as a staple! Thanks for the recipe. 🙂

  26. FABULOUS recipe!! Loved it! Paired it with the Honey-Ginger Glazed Tilapia. This cauliflower is like…addicting. You could seriously eat a whole head of cauliflower without realizing it! Can’t wait to try this with broccoli! I would LOVE some more of these delicious VEGETABLE recipes!

  27. I love it raw in salads, boiled to softness, batter dipped and french-fried (pure heaven!), or roasted. My husband would never eat it except in a salad until I sprinkled it with olive oil and curry. Now he loves it, too, horray! I must try it with this recipe, too; it sounds so, so good! We love fresh parm.

  28. We loved it! The kids turned there noses up at first, we aren’t big on cauliflower (I am it’s the rest of them LOL!) and they all loved it! They kept asking for more, my 2yr old especially! Thanks!

  29. They don’t make cauliflower heads big enough for this recipe. I’m up to two heads now and that barely is enough just for the kids. I have to eat it straight from the pan in order for me to get any. They even request this instead of chips when they have friends over.

    A few years ago I was teaching the chemistry merit badge to 12-13 year olds and we went through the science of sucrose turning into fructose and glucose when you caramelize veggies. It was cool (in a nerdy sort of way) to see the chemical equation but then it hit home when I had them eat fresh raw veggies and then eat the sweet caramelized veggies.

  30. Just made this tonight…SOOO yummy! I too don’t believe people who say cauliflower tastes like potatoes (on what planet?). My kids still won’t eat it but they turn their noses up at everything I make that isn’t tacos. Oh well. I love it!

  31. When the parmessan is almost done, sprinkle on slivered almonds & bake for 1-2 minutes (the burn fast).When all done spray on a little bit of soy sauce. If you want to go crazy, have some processed, ground up almonds & sunflower seeds(50/50) on hand & add with the slivered almonds. They go with everything.

  32. Fabulous recipe (even without the cheese!)This so so much better than sitting down with a bag of chips! My kids hate raw or steamed cauliflower, but when I make this, they fight over who gets the most!

  33. Could you roast broccoli with this on the same tray, or would that mess one of them up? These look so yummy and I am sad I guess I missed this original post, I love when you do your round-ups and I find something “new”!!! 😀

  34. Super yummy! I used shaved Parmesan because apparently I was out of the green can and it was awesome. My husband inhaled it. 🙂

  35. This is one of my fav cauliflower recipes EVER. Super good and I really think the trick of infusing the olive oil with the garlic by warming it up together totally works. I used parm cheese out of the green jar (since it is cheaper), and it was also delish. I’ve made this before without the cheese, and it is good that way too. Another great recipe!

  36. UGH I LOVE YOUR BLOG. We ate this often before, but now that I’m pregnant, we eat this like once a week. I don’t know why but I probably eat half of it myself!

    Do you think there might be a way to freeze this in the middle of the process? Or maybe blanch/steam them partway done to decrease the cooking time? Starting to make dinner at 3:30 can be… demoralizing to me as a person. 🙂

    1. 3:30?? It doesn’t take THAT long to make! lol. I suppose you could blanch the cauliflower to decrease baking time a bit, but you sort of need it to caramelize too, so you’d just have to experiment. Glad you like it though!

  37. First time making this tonight. My neighbor came in and started talking to me and I FORGOT TO DO THE EGG PART!!! I just took the raw chicken coated in corn starch straight to the frying pan. I was so annoyed that I had ruined so much chicken but cooked it anyway. To my surprise, it still tastes great!!! The sauce is so unbelievable it even makes up for such a huge mistake! Thanks for sharing. I will definitely make this again the RIGHT way.

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