This whole roasted cauliflower has certainly everything to be the main star at your dinner table. Indian flavors, roasted garlic and lime add great taste to this vegetarian dish. Perfect as a side for a family meal or served as an entrée with a salad, It’s actually so good you can even enjoy it as a main course by itself.
At home, we often love making dishes with cauliflower as it is a family favorite. We usually marinate the cauliflower with yoghurt, spices or tahini and roast it in the oven until it turns golden brown.
The beauty with cooking cauliflower is, that it's versatile. It has a great texture and holds it's shape well. At times when we don't feel like a meaty barbecue, I throw some cauliflower on the barbie and just before serving, dress it with a herb dressing.
Lately, I have seen whole roasted cauliflower dishes making it into cooking magazines and even restaurant menus. I think, it's a great idea! One of these days, I plan to bake a whole cauliflower in a salt crust at work, something I haven't tried before.
But for now, let's get on with this yummy whole roasted cauliflower recipe.
Ingredients for making whole roasted cauliflower
- Cauliflower - I bought a cauliflower with leaves still attached. I purposely leave them on as they actually taste good and also give the dish a rustic look. A medium sized cauliflower works best.
- Curry spice powder - We love Madras curry blend and use it for many dishes. It was invented for the British in India, in a city called Madras (now called Chennai). It is a subtle blend of aromatic spices, with a mild kick of chili. If you are not a fan of the curry flavor or even chili for that matter, you can replace the Madras curry powder with tumeric.
- Grapeseed oil - besides being healthy, it has a high smoke point and a 'clean' taste hence an ideal all-purpose oil. The reason why I prefer using grapeseed oil for this recipe is because I am making garlic oil first. If you skip making the garlic oil, then you can use olive oil instead.
- Garlic gives more flavor to the cauliflower. I cook the garlic slowly in grapeseed oil and use the strained oil for marinating the cauliflower. The cooked garlic pieces are served with the final dish. Alternatively, you can chop the garlic and add it to the whole cauliflower but only in the last 10 minutes otherwise the garlic will burn.
- Lime adds a beautiful citrusy taste to the cauliflower. I add some in the marinade and also serve lime wedges with the cauliflower for those who like an extra squeeze over the top. Lime of course can be replaced with lemon. Another way of adding acidity to the marinade, is using a good vinegar or a spoonful of dijon mustard.
- Salt is important not only in the marinade but also for seasoning the cauliflower itself. Be mindful that the marinade works it's way only from the outside hence it's best to sprinkle and rub the salt into the cauliflower too.
How to make whole roasted Cauliflower?
The first step for making the roasted whole cauliflower is to prepare the garlic oil for the marinade. We want to extract as much flavor as possible so be patient. In case you are not a big fan of garlic, then you can leave this step away. But if possible, do try to follow the recipe as is because when you eat the whole dish together, you will realize what a difference garlic makes.
How to make garlic oil?
Peel the garlic and cook slowly on low heat in grapeseed oil. This step may takes about 20 minutes. I recommend you make a big batch as it can be stored for up to a month. The garlic is great for sauces (aioli), salads, on bread or just added to all kinds of stews and stir fries. Our favorite though is with homemade spaghetti or tagliatelle, think of 'aglio e olio'😋 You can find the recipe for our homemade pasta dough here.
Quick tip🧐: Once the garlic is cooked, leave it covered in the oil so that it remains warm till its time to serve with the cauliflower.
Now, back to the recipe!
How to marinate the cauliflower?
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees. Once the garlic has cooked, mix the Madras curry powder to the strained garlic oil. Add salt and lime juice, adjust to taste. Remove the excess leaves from the cauliflower and cut the stem part so the cauliflower sits well.
Make sure you keep some leaves on the cauliflower as they actually taste good. Rub the marinade on the cauliflower to cover all sides. Place in a baking tray and roast in the oven for 30 minutes.
Keep spooning the oil dripping into the baking tray over the cauliflower.
Increase the heat to 200 degrees and cook for a further 20 minutes.
What to serve with the roasted Cauliflower?
I made the whole roasted cauliflower as a vegetarian appetizer. Served it with a herbed yoghurt and some grilled bread on the side. You can find the steps for the herbed yoghurt under the recipe section below.
This recipe can be made as a side as well, it makes a great addition to a braised lamb shoulder or any other roasts.
Need some more ideas?
Serve the whole roasted cauliflower with:
- Poached salmon and oven baked potatoes
- Chickpea curry and steamed rice
- Or cut in quarters to grill over a barbeque
- Tahini as a delicious midday snack😉
Our favorite ways to use the leftover cauliflower (if there is any) are either in a salad or in a wrap with hummus and haloumi cheese👨🏻🍳
If you try this recipe, let us know! We would love to know how it turned out and how you used any left over cauliflower (that is, if you had any leftovers😁) Leave a comment, rate the recipe and share an image of your dish on Instagram! Don't forget to tag @between2kitchens
Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Herbed Yoghurt
For the Cauliflower
- 1 whole medium cauliflower with leaves attached
- 1 whole garlic pod
- 100 ml grapeseed oil
- 2 tablespoon madras curry powder
- 2 lime
- salt to taste
For the Herb Yoghurt
- 200 g greek yoghurt
- 4 spring onions
- 1 bunch fresh mint leaves
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- salt & pepper to taste
For the Garlic Oil
- Seperate the heads of garlic and peel each garlic clove leaving them intact.
- Place the garlic in a small pot and cover with the grapeseed oil. Cook the garlic on high heat for 5 minutes and then reduce to low heat.
- Continue cooking for another 15 minutes. Check with a knife if the garlic is soft. There should be no resistance when piercing them. Strain the oil in a container and let it cool. Keep the garlic cloves on the side for later.
For the Cauliflower
- Preheat the oven to 180° degrees fan bake.
- In a bowl mix the madras curry powder with half of the garlic oil and the juice from 1 lime. Season with salt and whisk well.
- Clean the large outer leaves from the cauliflower leaving the smaller leaves attached. Cut the base of the stalk so the cauliflower sits flat.
- Rub the cauliflower with the marinade on all sides and season with salt. Place the cauliflower in an oven dish and cook in the oven for 35 minutes.
- During the cooking process keep spooning the oil from the bottom of the oven dish over the the cauliflower with a spoon.
- Turn up the heat to 200° degrees and cook for another 20 minutes.
- Using a long skewer, pierce the cauliflower to check the doneness. It should go through the cauliflower easily.
For the Herb Yoghurt
- Clean the spring onion and cut into thin slices with a sharp knife. Use both the white and green parts.
- Chop a handful of the mint leaves into julienne.
- Mix the mint, spring onions, yoghurt and olive oil together. Season with salt and pepper.
For plating up
- Cut the cauliflower in half and place on a serving dish. Drizzle a few spoons from the oven dish around the cauliflower. Add the warm garlic and lime wedges. Serve with the herbed yoghurt on the side.