Whole Roasted Cauliflower is a great option for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. I promise that this recipe will change the way you think about cauliflower! It has so much flavor and comes out so tender, you will be licking the skillet clean to get every last bit.
Choosing a Cauliflower & Trimming the Head of Cauliflower
For this Whole Roasted Cauliflower recipe, definitely try to find the largest cauliflower possible. You could even do two if you can only find smaller cauliflowers, as there is enough sauce for a large cauliflower.
When you’re about to begin cooking, start with gently washing the cauliflower if you haven’t yet. Allow the cauliflower to dry before using a sharp knife to trim the outer leaves and outer core.
To trim and prep the cauliflower, angle your knife slightly and begin cutting the outer leaves from the bottom of the cauliflower. I find it easiest to not try to go very deep but instead work in layer, just chopping leaves off and then going in deeper if need be. You want to remove the outer leaves and outer core but leave enough of the core for the cauliflower to stay in one piece.
Once the cauliflower is trimmed, cover the entire thing in a thin layer of oil and then sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper. Place it in a cast iron and cover with foil and bake at 385 for 30 minutes.
How to Make the Sauce
The sauce is obviously where the magic happens with this Whole Roasted Cauliflower recipe! It imparts so much flavor into the cauliflower and turns it from blah to AMAZING. The elements of the sauce are:
Mayo- mayo is the base of this sauce recipe! If you are vegan, you can absolutely substitute this for vegan mayo of your choice!
Dijon Mustard- for a tiny bit of kick, the dijon mustard in this recipe is perfect! If you don’t have or don’t want to use dijon, a stone ground or spicy mustard would also be delicious.
Lemon Juice & Zest- lemon adds the perfect zest to the sauce to help round out the flavors. I love using both the juice and zest, but if you do not have a zester, I would recommend using the whole lemon for juice!
Parmesan Cheese- the parmesan in this recipe is what thickens the sauce so that it sticks to the cauliflower and doesn’t completely slide off. If you are wanting to make this recipe vegan, I suggest substituting with nutritional yeast. I would not recommend leaving this out, as it is really important for the texture of the sauce!
Smoked Paprika & Chili Powder- the seasonings and spices used in this recipe are smoked paprika and chili powder. You can sub regular paprika if that’s all you have, but smoked paprika is really something special! If you want the cauliflower to have some heat, add ¼ tsp cayenne powder.
Cooking Instructions for Whole Roasted Cauliflower
Once the cauliflower has roasted for 30 minutes while covered in foil, remove from the oven and take the foil off. Then, using a spoon, cover the cauliflower with the sauce until well-coated.
Continue to roast the cauliflower, uncovered, for another 30 minutes until it is browned and ready to eat!
When the cauliflower is done, cut slices into it like a cake and serve it with lemon wedges! It’s a perfect meal to serve with a big salad for a vegetarian dinner the entire family will love.
Best Ever Whole Roasted Cauliflower
- 1 large head cauliflower
- 1 cup mayo
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 lemon, juice & zest
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 tsp chili powder
- Preheat oven to 385 degrees.
- Prep the cauliflower by using a sharp knife to remove outer leaves and outer core.
- Rub the cauliflower with olive or avocado oil and cover with aluminum foil.
- Bake in a cast iron skillet or baking dish for 30 minutes.
- In a bowl, combine: mayo, dijon, salt, pepper, lemon juice & zest, parmesan cheese, paprika and chili powder.
- Remove cauliflower from oven and uncover. Using a spoon, spread the mixture all over until the outside of the cauliflower is coated. Depending on the size of the cauliflower, there may be extra sauce.
- Bake the cauliflower, uncovered, for another 30 minutes.
- Slice like a cake and serve with lemon wedges.