Learn how to make the best roasted cauliflower with these simple tips! Lightly crisp & caramelized, it makes a delicious vegetarian side dish.
If you asked me what vegetable I like to roast most, I’d have to say… the almighty cauliflower! It’s a vegetable that I barely tolerated as a kid, but I’m absolutely obsessed with it now, especially when it comes out of the oven with those roasty-toasty browned edges. I love it as a simple side dish or as the starting point to a main meal – pastas, pizzas, curries, you name it! Below is my foolproof way to roast it as well as a handful of no-recipe seasoning suggestions, including, but not limited to, my favorite – simply tossing it with herbs and fresh lemon zest… obviously 🙂
How to Roast Cauliflower
- Start by preheating your oven to 425 degrees. Don’t go any lower with your oven temperature here – a hot oven will create nice browning and crispy edges on your florets.
- Wash your cauliflower and dry it thoroughly. The dryer it is, the better it will brown in the oven.
- Break the head into bite-sized florets – I like to break mine with my hands rather than cutting it with a knife. This way, I get prettier florets!
- Drizzle the florets with olive oil, salt, and pepper, toss to coat, and spread them into an even layer on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet.
- Roast in your preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until browned around the edges.
- Use in salads, soups, curries, pizzas, and more, or season to taste with more salt and pepper and enjoy as-is!
Roasted Cauliflower Variations
If you’re serving your roasted cauliflower as a side dish, try any of these easy variations:
- Toss it with lemon zest and fresh herbs such as chopped parsley, fresh thyme, or minced rosemary.
- In the final few minutes of baking, sprinkle florets with grated Parmesan and minced garlic. Bake for 2 more minutes or so, until the cauliflower is crisp and the cheese is melted.
- Sprinkle baked florets generously with vegan Parmesan.
- Spice it up! When your cauliflower has just come out of the oven, toss it with your favorite spices while it’s still warm. I like chili powder, curry powder, or a shawarma spice blend.
Roasted Cauliflower Tips
- Use convection bake if you have it. Air circulates constantly in a convection oven, making the temperature consistent throughout it. If you have convection bake, you can get better-browned florets in less time. Start checking your cauliflower after 20 minutes!
- Make sure there is space between your florets. If they’re too crowded, they’ll steam, and they won’t get brown and crisp around the edges.
- Don’t be afraid of the salt. No one loves bland cauliflower, so salt yours generously. I salt mine with sea salt before roasting and then add more, to taste, after it comes out of the oven.
- Aim to have evenly-sized florets for even cooking. You don’t want to have small florets burning before big ones finish roasting!
- Don’t toss the cores and greens. Chop the cores into bite-sized pieces and roast them along with the florets, turn them into cauliflower rice, or boil & blend them into a creamy puree or soup! If your cauliflower has good greens attached, you can cook those too – toss them with olive oil, salt, and pepper and roast on a separate baking sheet until they get lightly browned around the edges.
So golden! (especially with the lemon zest!)
Roasted Cauliflower with Lemon Zest
- 1 medium cauliflower
- extra-virgin olive oil, for roasting
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, for sprinkling
- zest of 1 lemon
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Break the cauliflower into bite-sized florets. Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper and spread evenly onto the baking sheet. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes or until browned around the edges.
- Season to taste with more salt and pepper and toss with lemon zest and parsley. Or keep it plain and use it in any recipe that calls for roasted cauliflower.