Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Indian Spices

I think of cauliflower as a highly inoffensive vegetable.  (Update: J takes offense at this description.  He wants me to describe it as “a PERFECT vegetable.”  Anyway.)  It’s mildly flavored when cooked, and it’s not green.  You can hide it in mac and cheese if you’re so inclined (or so I hear).  Even avowed vegetable-haters should find nothing offensive about its sweet flavor or tender texture when roasted.  And yet…my kids won’t touch it.

This recipe, which is for the grown-ups, hides nothing.  In fact, it makes a whole head of cauliflower the proud center of a serving plate.  It takes a while to cook but no time to prepare, which makes it a perfect side dish when company’s coming (we had it with The Best Red Lentil Soup of 2012 tonight).

Just a few things to keep in mind: try to core your cauliflower carefully, so that the entire head remains intact (I did not succeed at this).  And if you’re like me, you’ll want to tear the leaves of the cauliflower into bite-sized pieces, toss them with a bit of the oil and spice mixture, and roast them alongside the cauliflower until they are beautifully crisp.   Cauliflower chips!

Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Indian Spices (adapted from Everyday Maven): Wash and core a whole head of cauliflower, leaving the florets attached to each other (there are good step-by-step photos here).  In a small bowl, combine 1 tsp. curry powder, ½ tsp. cumin, ½ tsp. salt, ¼ tsp. turmeric and a pinch of cayenne.  Rub the cauliflower evenly with olive oil and then the spice mixture, then bake at 450 for about 90 minutes, until the cauliflower is tender all the way through, turning the baking sheet halfway through cooking.  (If you are making cauliflower chips, make sure to check them after 10 minutes and every few minutes after that.)


33 thoughts on “Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Indian Spices

  1. leroywatson4

    Love it Emmy. I love whole roasting anything (only vegetables now of course!) We have plenty of cauliflowers (we have some amazing looking romanesque cauilflower here, don’t know what you’d call that in Seattle, its all spirals and peaks and quite green). My favourite cauliflower dish is truffle puree (with a dash of cream and truffle oil). As usual, you inspire…..Happiness, leex

    1. emmycooks Post author

      We get that too! It has some made-up name (Romanesco?) and it is stunningly beautiful. I never puree cauliflower but I will try that sometime–talk about inspiring! :)

  2. Karista

    We had Ghobi this past week and it seems it’s the only way my family will eat cauliflower. I usually whole roast the cauliflower and drizzle with a little olive oil, salt and pepper for me and then serve with… of course cheese sauce for the girlies. Hahaha! Another bribe to get them to eat the cauliflower. I’ll have to try it roasted with these delish spices. Sounds fantastic! Enjoy the week :)

  3. shuhan

    I didnt know you could roast cauliflower whole! This looks bloody brilliant. I actually do like cauliflower anyway so this might not mean as much, but really do love that extra pinch of spices.

    1. emmycooks Post author

      It is fun–it takes a while longer but looks so much more dramatic. The spices are great–and would be delicious regardless of the shape of your cauliflower. :)

    1. emmycooks Post author

      I usually think of cauliflower as a winter vegetable and I probably wouldn’t have bought it at this time of year, but I got lucky and it showed up in my CSA box! I’ll definitely be revisiting this recipe throughout the year, so no worries if you don’t have a cauliflower on hand this instant. :)

  4. Sonya

    I actually went to the lengths of making cauliflower fritters last night (I called them “latkes”) and still the boys didn’t budge. My littlest will eat mushrooms and eggplant but not cauliflower: I just don’t get it. Will try this next! They do love indian:)

    1. emmycooks Post author

      Yum, I make lots of things into fritters but never cauliflower! Do you cook it first or just let it cook in the pan? That sounds delicious! I figure I’ll just keep making cauliflower and someday the kids will come around. :)

      1. Little Sis

        This is really the only attitude to have with the little turkeys – you don’t like it? That’s good because I REALLY want some more.

  5. Somer

    I can’t figure out why my husband and kids don’t love cauliflower, what would be more delicious? I want to eat that photo.

  6. musingmar

    I had to laugh at your update! I started writing a response the other day, but got distracted … one of the things I was going to say was that “highly inoffensive” wasn’t exactly high praise! I’m very fond of cauliflower, and sometimes roast it with olive oil, cumin and pepper. I’m definitely going to try some Indian spices next time!

    1. emmycooks Post author

      I do like cauliflower too. I’m glad that J urged me to correct my understated prose so I didn’t alienate fellow cauliflower fans. :)

  7. originaltitle

    I tried this tonight, my first recipe taste from your blog (although I’ve been following for awhile, just haven’t had time to cook!). It was soo good! I just wish the whole thing was crispy like the outside was. I might have to cut and roast next time to get more crunchiness, but it was delicious!!! Thank you!

  8. Pingback: Health Benefits of Cauliflower « Reflections with Rhonda

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