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.
- 1 small head cauliflower, rinsed, patted dry, bottom green leaves trimmed
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 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 F and place a rack in the middle position.
- 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 skilletor 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 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.
Note: After photographing this cauliflower, I reheated in the oven for 10 minutes at 400 degrees and the green tahini sauce caramelized and created the most amazing texture and flavor. I highly recommend giving this a try too!