This is the easiest weeknight side dish ever! Cauliflower florets are tossed with a bit of oil, some simple spices, and roasted in the oven. Crispy Oven Roasted Cauliflower has the perfect bite on the outside with a tender, flavorful middle that isn't mushy at all. There are so many ways to enjoy this roasted veggie side, and they're all delicious!
Cauliflower is one of those veggies that is SO versatile. Cauliflower gets added into smoothies, pizza crust, turned into rice, the list goes on and on! One of my favorite things about this incredible veggie, though, is how good it can be by itself with just a drizzle of oil and some pantry spices. Cook it properly and cauliflower has the most incredible, crispy texture on the outside while being tender (not mushy!) on the inside. It's so good served over quinoa, in a bowl, dipped into your favorite sauces, or eaten right off the pan.
Health Benefits of Cauliflower
Cauliflower is full of dietary fiber, vitamin C, and folic acid. It's also really low in calories! Cauliflower is great for digestion and iron absorption as well. It's a total vegetable all-star and really helps round out a healthy meal!
Choosing Perfect Cauliflower
While browsing the produce section, look for cauliflower with compact creamy white curds and bright green firmly attached leaves. Skip cauliflower heads with brown spots or loose sections that are spread out. You can store raw uncut cauliflower in your refrigerator for up to five days. If it comes wrapped in a tight plastic bag, it's best to leave it in that until you plan to use it. I used a head of white cauliflower for this Crispy Oven Roasted Cauliflower but you could swap it for orange cauliflower, purple cauliflower or even romanesco.
How to Cut & Prepare Cauliflower
To separate the cauliflower florets from the core, halve and then quarter the head. This exposes the core, making it easy to cut out the florets without any crazy knife maneuvering tricks. It is safest this way and happens to be faster and easier. Try to cut the florets into uniform sizes so they cook evenly. Larger florets can be cut in half. If you have some smaller pieces, don't stress it! Those get a little crispy and I actually love having them mixed in for texture. I prefer to roast cauliflower on a bare baking pan and lightly grease it with olive oil for best results.
What Spices Taste Best On Cauliflower?
I kept it simple as can be in this recipe: salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Give it a try this way and just see how flavorful it actually is with this simple ingredient list! Of course, from here you can also add in any of your favorite seasonings to play with the flavor profile of this dish.
Getting Crispy (Not Mushy!) Roasted Cauliflower
There are a couple key steps to getting tender Crispy Oven Roasted Cauliflower. When done right, it's everyone's favorite side dish! Let's make it happen...
- Dry the cauliflower really well after washing - I sometimes let it sit out for an hour on the counter to make sure all the moisture is gone.
- Coat the bottom of a bare baking sheet with olive oil. Don't use parchment paper here.
- Space out the cauliflower so the florets are not touching and don't steam. Steamed cauliflower is mushy! No thank you!
- Cut the florets into small, evenly sized pieces.
- Put the cut sides down and rotate the cauliflower florets 180 degrees halfway through roasting.
- The sweet spot for perfectly golden brown roasted cauliflower: 30 minutes at 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Enjoy immediately! If you are reheating, reheat briefly in the oven at a high temperature for the best results.
How to Serve Crispy Oven Roasted Cauliflower
I like to dip it in my Vegan Tzatziki Sauce, Green Tahini Sauce, Quick & Easy Creamy Hummus, or Easy Creamy Vegan Tahini Sauce. You could also serve it over Perfectly Cooked Quinoa or eat it straight off the pan! It's one of my favorite side dishes since it's so easy and quick to make.
This recipe is naturally gluten-free, grain-free, paleo, keto and Whole30-friendly, nut-free, soy-free, and vegan.
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Crispy Oven Roasted Cauliflower has the perfect bite on the outside with a tender, flavorful middle that isn't mushy at all.
- 1 head cauliflower, washed and dried thoroughly, core and stem removed, cut into small and evenly-sized florets
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided (1 for coating the bottom of the baking sheet and 2 for tossing with the cauliflower)
- optional: ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon fine salt (add after it comes out of the oven for best results)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a half sheet baking sheet or cast iron skillet with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Set aside.
- Place cauliflower on the baking sheet and use tongs to toss well with olive oil, black pepper and garlic powder if using.
- Arrange the cauliflower florets in one even layer cut side down. Make sure the florets are not touching. Use two pans/skillets if needed.
- Roast in the middle rack of your oven for 30 minutes flipping florets 180 degrees halfway through.
- After roasting, sprinkle with the salt and toss well.
- Enjoy immediately alone or with your favorite sauce or grain bowl. Best when fresh out of the oven. I love to dip them in my Vegan Tzatziki Sauce or Green Tahini Sauce.
- Allow any leftovers to fully cool to room temperature before storing or they will steam and get overcooked/soggy in your storage container. Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to four days. Reheat leftovers in the oven at a high temperature for a brief period of time so they don't get mushy on the inside.
To cut the cauliflower, place the core down and head face up. Cut in half and then turn 45 degrees and then cut in half again (creating 4 equally sized pieces). Then, place each piece at a 45 degree angle and use a knife to easily separate the florets from the core. For best results, you may need to cut the cauliflower florets in half if they are large.
- Prep Time: 5
- Cook Time: 30
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Oven
Keywords: crispy roasted cauliflower