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How to Make a Whole Roasted Cauliflower

by Kari
A roasted cauliflower on a white dish with a fall colored napkin.
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Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Lemon and Garlic is easy to prepare and is so buttery and delicious. A whole roasted cauliflower head can be the star of the show or a healthy side. 

A roasted cauliflower on a white dish with a fall colored napkin.

We recently saw a clip on the news featuring a fancy restaurant that made some amazing oven-roasted cauliflower and I knew I had to make some. The restaurant owner has a philosophy of respecting the food, leaving the cauliflower head in one piece so as to not “hurt” the flower.

I’m not sure about that logic, but it is certainly delicious! Even Michael took a bite and said, “Oh, this is really good!” He doesn’t even like cauliflower.

What Do You Need to Roast a Whole Head of Cauliflower?

To prepare oven-roasted cauliflower, you just need a pie pan, dutch oven, or square glass baking dish. Then some foil, a small bowl, and a basting brush or daring fingers.

How Do You Roast a Whole Head of Cauliflower?

Preheat your oven to 400°F. Clean your cauliflower by removing the leaves, cutting off the stalk at the bottom, and washing it off in the sink. Pat dry and put in your baking dish of choice. You should end up with a big pile of green leaves and a stalk that you can save for bone broth.

A whole head of cauliflower in a gray dutch oven.
Cauliflower leaves on a plastic bag.

What are the Ingredients of the Herb Sauce for Roasting Cauliflower?

Gather olive oil, ghee (or butter), parsley, a lemon, kosher salt, and pepper.

In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of ghee or butter with 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil. Mince or press 3 small garlic cloves or 2 large garlic cloves and mix into your butter. Add to that 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper, 1/2 – 3/4 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of lemon zest, 1 teaspoon of parsley, and a few shakes of red pepper flakes.

A head of cauliflower, a jar of ghee, a lemon, parsley, salt, and black pepper on a wooden background.

A unmixed butter and herb sauce in a small white bowl.

Melt in the microwave for 10 – 15 seconds:

A red and white bowl filled with a butter and herb mixture on a gray background with a small teaspoon.

Totally smother your cauliflower with this mixture using a pastry/basting brush or your fingers, as long as the mixture is not too hot to touch.

A whole head of cauliflower in a dutch oven being brushed with garlic and butter with a blue silicone brush.

A parsley, garlic, and lemon seasoned head of cauliflower in a gray dutch oven.

A parsley, garlic, and lemon seasoned head of cauliflower in a gray dutch oven.

How Long Do You Bake a Whole Head of Cauliflower?

Bake your whole head of cauliflower in a dutch oven or small baking pan, such as a pie pan – covered with foil or the lid of the dutch oven at 400°F for 30 minutes.

A gray dutch oven in an oven.

Next, remove the foil or lid and bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes to crisp up the outside.

A roasted cauliflower in a gray dutch oven in an oven.

Put your lid or foil back on and bake at 425°F for another 5 – 10 minutes. When the cauliflower is ready, you should be able to pull off the florets easily or pierce a knife into the center of the cauliflower. If it is not done, roast at 425°F with the lid on for another 5 – 10 minutes.

A whole head of roasted cauliflower on a white plate with a piece cut out on a blue and white dish towel.

A roasted cauliflower in a gray dutch oven with a blue and white dish towel.

A roasted cauliflower on a white plate.

How Do You Serve a Whole Roasted Cauliflower Head?

Serve your roasted cauliflower as an appetizer or side dish. It is stunning on a plate and pieces can easily be pulled off to share.

A roasted cauliflower on a white dish with a fall colored napkin.

How to Roast a Whole Head of Cauliflower

Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Lemon and Garlic is easy to prepare and is so buttery and delicious. An oven-roasted cauliflower head can be the star of the show or a healthy side dish.
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: American, Vegetarian
Keyword: cauliflower, paleo, vegetables, whole30
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 3
Calories: 224kcal
Cost: $4

Equipment

  • Pie pan and aluminum foil or dutch oven
  • Pastry Brush

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp ghee You can also use butter.
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced Use 3 cloves if they are small, 2 if they are large.
  • 1 tsp lemon zest This comes out to be about half of a lemon.
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 1/2 - 3/4 tsp salt, kosher I made this with 1 tsp salt and it seemed too salty - adjust based on your preferences.
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes Just a few shakes of red pepper flakes is perfect.

Instructions

  • Clean one head of cauliflower by removing the stem, leaves, and core and rinsing it off. Pat dry and place in a dutch oven.
  • Combine your ghee, olive oil, salt, pepper, parsley, garlic, lemon zest, and red pepper flakes in a bowl.
  • Microwave for 10 - 15 seconds to melt the ghee.
  • Slather this mixture all over your cauliflower using a silicone pastry brush or your fingers.
  • Bake at 400°F, covered with the lid of your dutch oven or with foil for 30 minutes.
  • Remove the lid/foil and bake at 425°F for an additional 15 minutes.
  • If your cauliflower is soft enough to pierce through with a knife, it is done. If you cannot pierce the cauliflower easily, cover and bake for another 5 - 10 minutes. Your cauliflower should be easy to pull apart.
  • Carefully remove from the pan and pull apart to eat/serve.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.3head of cauliflower | Calories: 224kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 26mg | Sodium: 1029mg | Potassium: 585mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 25IU | Vitamin C: 94mg | Calcium: 48mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @southernbytes or tag #southernbytes!

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4 comments

Angela Greven | Mean Green Chef August 25, 2019 - 8:28 am

5 stars
Great side dish, cauliflower is such versatile veg and takes flavor so well. Really adore your addition of lemon zest, perfection! Thanks so much for sharing 🙂

Reply
Kari August 25, 2019 - 3:25 pm

The lemon zest puts it over the top! So good!

Reply
Morgan August 22, 2019 - 1:17 pm

5 stars
This looks incredible and so simple! I will definitely give it a try!

Reply
Beth August 22, 2019 - 6:15 am

5 stars
This recipe really appeals to me, first because it’s pretty! I love cauliflower but I also have one eater who doesn’t really like it. I’m going to try it without the ghee but use olive oil instead. I so appreciate the comment about the amount of salt, since I’ve been using pretty small amounts lately and it helps me estimate.

Reply

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