Sides · vegan · vegetable

Leen’s Favorite Roasted Cauliflower

I’ve been digging on cauliflower since it became cool to eat it.

I’m talking 20+ years ago, y’all. When I was a kid, my favorite veggie in a vegetable tray was the raw cauliflower (dunked in oodles of ranch, of course). My family has been using it as a side dish for years. One of my grandma’s favorite salads to make back in the day was a simple one: raw cauliflower, homemade ranch, raw bell peppers, and green olives.

I bet that sounds gross to most of you—but YOU GUYS. It is amazing. The best cruciferous salad money can’t buy.

About 8-10 years ago, while visiting my aunt, she made this roasted cauliflower with garlic and almonds. I was blown away at the taste within the first bite. Granted, this was a time long before I ever started roasting things. Roasting is now a regular thing I do, and it always brings out the best flavor of—well—just about anything. I managed to snag the recipe from my aunt and have been making cauliflower this way ever since.

It’s the easiest thing you can make for a side, honestly. You only need 7 ingredients, half of which you probably have in your kitchen right now. The seasoning is simple: cumin, salt and pepper. Whisk those three together with some olive oil and drizzle it on top of chopped cauliflower and your done! Could anything be easier than that??

There are two things that might shy away new home cooks, though:

  • Chopping cauliflower. Chopping cauliflower is the literally worst. It’s not that it’s hard, it’s that it’s messy. Little pieces of the stuff fly everywhere, and hours later you’ll be taking a shower and no, that’s not dandruff—that’s pieces of cauliflower in your hair. Oh joy.
  • Toasting the sliced almonds. I can’t tell you how many pounds of almonds I’ve probably wasted in my life because I’ve burned them. Hundreds. Has to be hundreds.

I’ve got two solutions for you though.

First, the cauliflower. Lay a tea towel (or paper towels, but we’re trying to be eco-friendly here, okay?) underneath your cutting board, making sure it extends way past the borders. That way any loose pieces will fall on the towel, and when you’re done you can throw them away. DO NOT put the little pieces on your roasting pan! They will cook faster since they’re smaller, and will burn, tainting the taste of the rest of your well-cooked cauliflower.

If you’re not keen on wasting the little bits, don’t worry! Bag them up and use them sometime for cauliflower rice!

As for the almonds: don’t leave the oven. I broil my sliced almonds, and it takes NO TIME to get them nice and browned and toasty. Stand there by the oven while you’re toasting them and check every 15 seconds. Mucho importante, that part is. You can go from raw sliced almonds to black discs of despair in seconds flat.

If you follow those two rules, you’ll have the best roasted cauliflower you’ve ever tasted.

Leen's Favorite Roasted Cauliflower

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Savory roasted cauliflower with creamy garlic and toasted almonds.

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • 1 head garlic, separated into unpeeled cloves
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Place the cauliflower florets and unpeeled garlic on a large, rimmed baking sheet.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, salt, pepper, and cumin. Drizzle over cauliflower and garlic and toss to coat. Roast until tender and lightly charred, about 25 minutes. Let cool a bit.
  3. Once garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze out of their skins and place back on roasting pan or in a large bowl. Toss cauliflower together with garlic and toasted almonds and serve.

Step-By-Step Instructions

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Place the cauliflower florets and unpeeled garlic on a large, rimmed baking sheet.

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, salt, pepper, and cumin. Drizzle over cauliflower and garlic and toss to coat. Roast until tender and lightly charred, about 25 minutes. Let cool a bit. Once garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze out of their skins and place back on roasting pan or in a large bowl. Toss cauliflower together with garlic and toasted almonds and serve.

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