If you’re looking for a side dish that’s delicious, impressive, and good for you, look no further than this easy-to-make Whole Roasted Cauliflower! Seasoned with aromatic Italian notes like olive oil, Italian seasoning mix, parmesan cheese, and fresh garlic, this cauliflower side dish might just steal the show from your main entrée.
Whole Roasted Cauliflower
Cauliflower’s been all the rage for the last few years, and it’s a favorite vegetable for me as well. It’s loaded with vitamins and nutrients that are fantastic for your body, and it’s like the chameleon of the vegetable world! It’s not just a cauliflower, you can turn it into so many different things. There’s Cauliflower Rice, Mashed Cauliflower, and Cauliflower Pizza Crust – just to name a few! (Have you tried cauliflower “mac” and cheese?!)
With all of the different shapes and consistencies that cauliflower can take on, it’s easy to forget just how delicious it is in its original form. That’s just one of the numerous reasons I’m so in love with this simple whole roasted cauliflower recipe. It’s a great side dish for all who love cauliflower (just like me), because it’s the vegetable at its most simple, but it’s also so wonderfully enhanced.
The enhancing ingredients that make this cauliflower recipe so good include olive oil, Italian seasoning mix, garlic, parmesan cheese, and more. All of those ingredients come together to create a wonderful aromatic experience of Italian flavors, and they also compliment the natural flavors of the veggie. Oh! And as if that wasn’t enough, the appearance of the whole roasted cauliflower is impressive as part of a dinner party spread.
How to Make a Whole Roasted Cauliflower
Ingredients You Need:
- Cauliflower – Try to avoid cauliflower heads that have any dark spots. If you do have any dark spots, you may still be able to salvage the vegetable by slicing off the brown spots with a knife, but it’s best to get a purely white cauliflower head.
- Olive Oil – Extra virgin olive oil lends the best Italian aroma and flavor.
- Garlic Cloves – Make sure to use fresh garlic for the best results! Pre-minced or paste garlic will not yield the smell or flavor we’re aiming for.
- Italian Seasoning – This aromatic mix of dried herbs is ideal for lending the best Italian flavor to the cauliflower.
- Garlic Powder – Be careful with this seasoning, as a little goes a very long way. If you’re too heavy handed with it, your cauliflower will be overpowered with garlic flavor.
- Salt – It’s best to use coarse kosher salt, and just enough to taste.
- Parmesan Cheese – Be sure to either freshly grate the parmesan cheese yourself, or head to the deli section of your local grocery store for freshly grated parmesan there.
Prepare the cauliflower.
Remove the outer leaves of the cauliflower and give it a good rinse. Pat it dry and let it continue to drain off water onto a towel.
Combine the seasonings, olive oil, pressed garlic, and parmesan cheese in a small bowl.
Turn the cauliflower head upside down and cut off the majority of the thick stem. Don’t cut off the area where the florets’ stems attach.
Starting with the underside, spread the seasoning mix all over the cauliflower. For the best results, get the mixture on the inside of the cauliflower between the stems.
Turn it back over and cover the head with seasoning as well.
Cook the cauliflower.
Place the cauliflower stem side down onto a cast iron pan that’s been lightly greased. Cover the pan and cauliflower tightly with aluminum foil.
Cook the cauliflower in an oven preheated to 375°F for about 30 minutes.
Remove the foil, then increase the heat to 400°F. Roast the cauliflower uncovered for 30 minutes.
If you want a crispier top, turn the broiler on and keep an eye on your cauliflower to make sure it doesn’t burn!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I make it ahead of time?
You can definitely prep the cauliflower ahead of time and then bake it when you’re ready! Prepare the cauliflower right up to the step of baking and then wrap it in a plastic wrap airtight and refrigerate for about a day.
Place it up side down in the refrigerator – you can place it inside the bowl so it doesn’t roll. Take it out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before baking and follow the remaining steps of the recipe to bake it. It’s that easy!
How to Serve a Whole Cauliflower
You can serve it whole and slice it at the dinner table like a cake. That way, you still get to enjoy the presentation of the picturesque whole cauliflower. Serve the wedges with your favorite main dishes! Here are just a few of my favorite entrees to plate with a slice of roasted cauliflower.
Whole Roasted Cauliflower
Whole Roasted Cauliflower
- 1 head of cauliflower
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 large garlic cloves
- 1 1/2-2 tbsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp kosher coarse salt more or less to taste
- 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 375° and lightly grease a cast iron skillet.
Prepare the cauliflower:
- Remove all the outer leaves of the cauliflower and rinse it inside and out. Pat it dry and set it down onto a clean tower to drain off water from the inside, while you prepare the seasoning.
- In a small bowl, combine the seasoning, olive oil, pressed garlic, and Parmesan cheese. Mix well to combine.
- Turn the head of cauliflower upside down and carefully cut off most of the thick stem. Make sure not to cut off the area where the florets' stems attach.
- Spread the seasoning mix all over the cauliflower starting with the underside. Make sure to get the seasoning on the inside, between the stems to season the inside of the cauliflower. Turn it over, and cover the outside of the cauliflower head with seasoning.
Cooking Whole Cauliflower:
- Place seasoned cauliflower onto the prepared cast iron pan, stem side down, and cover the pan and cauliflower with a sheet of aluminum foil tightly.
- Place into the oven and let it cook about 30 minutes.
- Take the aluminum foil off, raise the heat of the oven to 400°, and place the pan with cauliflower back into the oven.
- Bake uncovered for another 30 minutes. You can test if the cauliflower is done by inserting the fork and feel how easily it goes in.
- If you want to top of the cauliflower to be crispier, you can turn on the broiler for about a minute, but make sure to keep an eye on it.