Cauliflower takes center stage in this gorgeous dish. This Hemp Seed-Crusted Whole Roasted Cauliflower is perfectly crusted on the outside and tender on the inside. If you haven't tried roasting a whole cauliflower yet, I urge you to give it a try. It is my absolute favorite way to eat cauliflower and is sure to get you out of any vegetable rut!
This modern, savory dish is visually dramatic for a vegetable and looks so beautiful on a table! It will turn any cauliflower hater into a hard core fan. I truly believe that! It's a Hemp Seed-Crusted Whole Roasted Cauliflower. The flavors are locked in and crusted with a golden brown outside while the inside is perfectly tender and tasty. I added a dose of plant-based protein from the hemp seeds and tahini sauce to make this dish even more satisfying.
How to Make Hemp Seed-Crusted Whole Roasted Cauliflower
The Hemp Seed-Crusted Whole Roasted Cauliflower is first basted on all sides with a simple, flavorful marinade. I recommend flipping the cauliflower over and pouring some of the marinade into the core. Get all that goodness into every bite! Then, I roast it to a golden brown and slightly caramelized outside that keeps it fork-tender on the inside. The end result is a dish that is savory and a little bit sweet with a slightly meaty texture. It is excellent served over fluffy quinoa. Here's how I make Perfectly Fluffy Quinoa in the Crock Pot!
After the cauliflower has roasted, I then drench it in either my Green Tahini Sauce or Herbed Tahini Sauce. Either one of these rich sauces pair perfectly with this dish and I highly recommend it...although even without the sauce the cauliflower is irresistible!
With both the hemp seeds and the tahini sauce, this recipe offers plant-based protein for a more satisfying vegetable roast. I get a lot of requests for vegan main dishes that are satisfying and filling, and this is a favorite! It's got texture, flavor, and beauty. Plus, it is budget-friendly and easier to make than it looks. Don't you love a recipe like that?
This recipe is a fun and inspiring way to get more cauliflower into your diet without it feeling like a chore. Here, I used a head of white cauliflower but you could swap it for orange cauliflower, purple cauliflower or even romanesco if you want to add some unexpected color and texture to your table. We love a cruciferous vegetable in any form!
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! You probably know by now just how versatile cauliflower can be, too. I make Quinoa Cauliflower "Rice," Cauliflower Tikka Masala, and even Mashed Cauliflower with Roasted Garlic!
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. The sooner you use it the sweeter your cauliflower will be.
You can carve this dish at the table and serve in the cast iron skillet or you can transfer it into a serving dish. Either way, your guests will be inspired! This cauliflower dish tastes amazing but it also looks impressive and beautiful, so it's really fun to serve to a crowd.
This recipe is gluten-free, grain-free, paleo, meat-free, nut-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free, egg-free and dairy-free. I really enjoy having recipes like this one in my back pocket because it's a delicious meal that everyone can enjoy no matter their allergies or dietary preferences!
I hope you love this dish as much as I do. It is so easy and flavorful. If you give it a try, please let me know! Leave a comment below, rate it, and tag a photo @eatingbyelaine and #eatingbyelaine so I can see your creations!
More Roasted Vegetables
Crispy Oven Roasted Cauliflower
Perfectly Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Walnut Crusted Roasted Delicata Squash
Crispy Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Roasted Green Cabbage with Green Tahini Sauce
Maple Roasted Butternut Squash
Mini Hasselback Potatoes with Garlic and Herb Aioli
Roasted Whole Rainbow Carrots
This modern, savory dish is visually dramatic for a vegetable. It will turn any cauliflower hater into a hard core fan. The flavors are locked in and crusted on the golden brown outside while the inside is perfectly tender. I added a dose of plant-based protein from the hemp seeds and tahini sauce to make this dish more satisfying.
This recipe is gluten-free, grain-free, paleo, meat-free, nut-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free, egg-free and dairy-free.
- 1 small head cauliflower, rinsed, patted dry, bottom green leaves trimmed
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 3 tablespoons hemp seeds
- Green Tahini Sauce for drizzling/pouring/dipping
- Garnish: raw hemp seeds + freshly chopped parsley and cilantro
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and place a rack in the middle position of your oven.
- Carefully cut and remove the cauliflower's bottom hard stalk that protrudes out without removing too much of the core (be careful not to cut the main stem or any florets to keep the head intact). I usually just cut off the part of the core that sticks out of the bottom. Place in a cast-iron skillet or oven-safe parchment-lined pan and set aside. For best results and best flavor, I strongly recommend using a cast-iron skillet.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, maple syrup, salt, pepper, garlic powder and hemp seeds. Turn the cauliflower upside down and pour a quarter of the mixture into the core of the cauliflower (invert the cauliflower over the skillet so any marinade drips onto the skillet). Then pour the remaining marinade on the top of the cauliflower. Use a basting brush to spread the marinade evenly throughout the top of the cauliflower so all the florets are evenly coated. Use the brush to redistribute any marinade that dripped onto the skillet. Sprinkle with extra salt, pepper and hemp seeds if desired. I like to use a spray bottle of extra virgin olive oil and give the cauliflower one light stray to ensure all parts of the cauliflowers outside have been coated with olive oil.
- Place the cauliflower floret side up on the cast iron skillet and cover with aluminum foil. Roast for 50 minutes. Then remove the aluminum foil and roast uncovered for 20-25 minutes (or slightly longer for a larger head of cauliflower). Watch closely at the end to avoid burning. You want the outside to be golden brown. To test for doneness, a knife should slide in and out of the center core without any resistance. You should be able to cut through the cauliflower with one hand with ease.
- To serve, drizzle the green or herbed tahini sauce on top of the cauliflower and garnish with raw hemp seeds, freshly chopped parsley and cilantro. Serve while hot.
- Serve the whole roasted cauliflower in the cast-iron skillet or from a serving plate. Alternatively, you could cut into four wedges and spoon the green tahini sauce onto each wedge. I like to serve over fluffy quinoa.
When reheated in the oven for 10 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit and the green tahini sauce caramelized and creates the most amazing texture and flavor. I highly recommend giving this a try too!
- Prep Time: 5 mins
- Cook Time: 75 mins
- Category: Side or Entree
- Method: Oven
Keywords: whole roasted cauliflower