This whole roasted cauliflower is slathered in a mixture of lemony garlic and herbs and baked up until tender. Serve it up as an impressive vegan and gluten-free centerpiece at your next special dinner!
Sometimes you need a big fancy meatless centerpiece to carve up and enjoy for special dinners, right? Well, let me introduce you to the whole roasted cauliflower.
I'm sure I'm getting some eye-rolls at this point, because who can be satisfied with a roasted cauliflower head as a main dish? Let me explain!
I love whole roasted cauliflower because it looks cool and all, but it doesn't have to be a main dish! You can totally use a side dish as your centerpiece and go with something a little more substantial like vegan shepherd's pie or vegan meatloaf for a main dish. OR, use the baked cauliflower head as your main dish, and make a side dish that incorporates some satiating plant-protein, like this tempeh stuffing.
Do what you like, but in any event, this recipe is a really fun way to roast some cauliflower, and it's pretty easy to make. Find a way to work it into your dinner![feast_advanced_jump_to]
What You'll Need
- Fresh herbs. We're using fresh thyme and parsley. I definitely don't recommend using dried herbs for this recipe.
- Olive oil. You could substitute another high-heat oil, but olive will give your baked cauliflower the best flavor.
- Salt & pepper.
- Cauliflower. Use a medium-sized whole cauliflower head.
- Lemon juice. Use freshly squeezed juice for the best flavor.
How It's Made
The following is a detailed photo tutorial on how to make this dish. Scroll all the way down if you'd like to skip right to the recipe!
- Clean your cauliflower and cut the stem so it's flush with the bottom of the cauliflower head. You want it to be able to sit upright without rolling around or falling over.
- Place your cauliflower onto a cooking surface. This can be a cast iron skillet, like I'm using, or a Dutch oven or baking sheet.
- Rub the entire outside of your cauliflower with olive oil, cover it, either with a lid or some foil, then pop it into the oven.
Note: I find that my cauliflower cooks up softer if I roast it in a Dutch oven with a lid (which seals pretty tight and will trap a lot of steam), versus if I use a baking sheet or skillet and some foil.
- While your cauliflower roasts, mix up your cauliflower rub in a small bowl by combining chopped herbs, minced garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Begin checking on your cauliflower after about 30 minutes. When you get to the point where a knife can be inserted into the center with just a bit of resistance, take it out of the oven.
- Rub the outside of the cauliflower with the herb mixture. You can brush it or spoon it on. Be careful if you attempt to use your hands, because the cauliflower will probably be pretty hot!
- Stick your cauliflower back into the oven, but don't cover it this time. Let it cook for 10 minutes more, just to toast the herbs and brown the outside a bit.
- Squeeze some lemon juice over your cauliflower and sprinkle it with some extra salt and pepper before serving.
- Slice it up into wedges and dig in!
Leftovers & Storage
Leftover whole roasted cauliflower can be stored in a sealed bag or container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
More Cauliflower Recipes
- Baked Cauliflower Manchurian
- Spicy Cauliflower Tacos
- Sticky Sesame Cauliflower
- Creamy Cauliflower Curry
- Cauliflower Fried Rice
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Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Garlic & Herbs
- 1 medium cauliflower head
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more as needed
- ¼ cup fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, or to taste
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Using a large knife, cut the stem from the bottom of the cauliflower head to get a nice flat surface so it can sit upright.
- Place the cauliflower head, cut side down, onto a baking sheet, oven-safe skillet, or in Dutch oven (Note 1). Slather the top with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Cover the cauliflower with foil if using a skillet or baking sheet, or with a lid if using a Dutch oven.
- Place the the cauliflower on the center rack of the oven to roast.
- While the cauliflower roasts stir together the remaining olive oil, parsley, thyme, garlic, salt, and pepper in a small bowl (Note 2).
- Begin checking the cauliflower after 30 minutes. Test it by inserting a sharp knife into the center. When the knife meets just a slight resistance, take the cauliflower out of the oven and uncover it. This can take up to 60 minutes.
- Spoon or brush the parsley mixture over the cauliflower, drizzling it with some extra olive oil if needed.
- Return the cauliflower to the oven, uncovered, and roast it for 10 minutes more, until the cauliflower is tender and lightly browned on the outside.
- Remove the roast from the oven and carefully transfer it to a plate. Drizzle with lemon juice, then sprinkle with additional salt and pepper to taste. Slice into wedges and serve.
- Cooking your cauliflower in a Dutch oven will give you a softer roast, while using a baking sheet or skillet and foil will give you a firmer roast.
- Optional: Double the herb and olive oil mixture and save half of it as a dipping sauce for serving.