25 February 2011

Roasted curried cauliflower: effortless and shockingly delicious

Cauliflower Cauliflower haters: this is for you, and possibly even your kids. This is one of those recipes that's so simple, you may not believe it could be so delicious. I'm telling you, this is a cauliflower game-changer.

Cauliflower is a winter vegetable, so it's inexpensive right now. Next time you're at the grocery store, buy some and cook this!

With thanks to my neighbor, John, who made this for a neighborhood dinner party.

Roasted Curried Cauliflower

1 head of cauliflower, stem removed, cut into small florets
Olive oil (the best quality you can get your hands on)
Kosher or sea salt
Curry powder to taste (I used 1 tablespoon)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, toss the cauliflower with olive oil till lightly coated. Sprinkle with salt to taste (I used about 1/2 teaspoon of course kosher salt) and toss to distribute. Sprinkle with curry powder and toss again till everything is evenly coated.

Dump the cauliflower into a large roasting pan and place in the oven. The pan should be large enough to hold the cauliflower in an uncrowded, single layer. Roast until brown and crispy, turning a few times.

Amazon: How to Cook Everything, Completely Revised 10th Anniversary Edition: 2,000 Simple Recipes for Great FoodServe as-is, or toss with chopped peanuts and raisins. I think a sprinkling of cilantro would be lovely as well.

This recipe could be adapted for any number of vegetables and seasonings. For those who like it mild, roasting vegetables with a simple coating of olive oil and salt works beautifully. Mark Bittman describes how to roast vegetables perfectly in one of my favorite cookbooks, How To Cook Everything.

Read more: Vegetable hacks

Your comments

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I've never tried it with the curry powder - sounds terrific. It's on my shopping list! Thanks!

Roasted asparagus (same basics, without the curry powder) is delicious too.

Roasting any vegetable carmelizes the sugars and releases more flavor. Sweet potatoes and butternut squash done this way are sublime. My kids (both under 4) can't get enough of the veggies when I use this technique. I never thought to try it with cauliflower and will be tackling that very soon!

I can appreciate that since there are so few ingredients, you'd want to use "the best quality [Olive Oil] you can get your hands on", but I'd think the 20 or so minutes in a 425 oven would negate a good amount of that quality.

Otherwise, it sounds like a great & simple dish!

You're probably right. The fact is most of us have plain, old, olive oil and table salt, and the results will still be delicious.

Add a few onions, cut into chunks. Add a whole head of garlic wrapped in tin foil. The cauliflower and onion are good together. The garlic cloves will be perfectly roasted, ready to be spread on crackers or toast.

Cauliflower is also fabulous roasted with chili powder, cumin, and salt (and a little olive oil, of course). Yum!

We love it with just salt and pepper.
The same process works great with broccoli, roasting drives off some of the funk and leaves a great tasting broccoli.

You can take this recipe a step further and add about 6 medium carrots to the roasting process. Now make some soup! When the veggies are tender and caramelized, pop them in to a large pot, add a few cups of veggie or chicken stock, and a can of coconut milk. Bring to a gentle boil, then puree (I use my immersion blender) and add more curry to taste. To make it creamier you can add milk, cream or even sour cream.

Yes! What I love about this "recipe" -- it's more of a technique. The trick is to use a large enough pan. If you crowd the vegies they steam instead of roast. Still yummy, but not all toasty and crispy and caramelized.

I did a similar dish with cauliflower and balsamic vinegar. It was fantastic. I am excited to try this with the curry powder! My kiddo and I love cauliflower... we have to eat it at lunch though because Hubby won't touch it. :)

I chop up steamed cauliflower and use it in place of rice. I read it in one of the Paleo Diet-type books, maybe The Primal Blueprint? I've never felt better since almost completely eliminating grains from my diet. I use steamed green beans in place of pasta.

We love roasted veggies around here - this technique brings out a carmelized sweetness, no matter what vegetable you start with! We tossed roasted cauliflower into a butternut squash ginger soup (from Pacific Foods) and mixed with curry for over brown rice recently - it was amazing! Even the kids loved it.

Good point on spreading out the veggies when roasting. My husband doesn't always follow the instructions I leave behind and recently had soggy potatoes in a pyrex that was way too small for the amount he had. I like to spread them out on a cookie sheet - and use two if I need to. I also like to hit them with the broiler for a minute or two at the end, for a little crispiness on the outside. yum!

Thanks to this comment, I just blew 5 bucks on a bunch of asparagus. I'm now craving roasted vegies of all kinds!

This sounds amazing. I've been pretty uninspired in the kitchen recently, and this conversation is making me want to cook, cook, cook!

Mashed steamed cauliflower can stand in for potatoes, too.

You're right, Alex. Cook's Illustrated notes that extra-virgin olive oil's flavors dissipate in high heat, so it's better used for things like salad dressings than for cooking.

Hi Asha! I have this recipe roasting in the oven right this minute! Thank you so much for posting it - sounds AWESOME. Can't wait to try it - I thought it was the perfect thing to cook for Oscar night. Hugs!

I just roasted some cauliflower with olive oil and sea salt this evening for supper, and my 7yo veggie-phobe actually asked for more and mooched some from her dad's plate.

"Cauliflower game changer".... hehe... quote of the day. ;)

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