This parmesan roasted cauliflower recipe is a quick and easy side dish to a weeknight meal. The smoky spice mix adds a pop of flavor to this mellow vegetable that's baked to tender perfection. Dusting it with some parmesan cheese adds a slightly salty flavor and gritty texture that really brings it all together!
Roasting vegetables on high heat is one of the tastiest ways to add more vegetables to your diet. You can toss them into a salad or include them as a simple side dish.
I didn't consider making cauliflower for a long time because I assumed it would be too bland to be interesting. In reality, cauliflower has a really nice flavor that comes out from cooking. The best part is that it goes well with a variety of flavors to suit the occasion or time of year.
What Are the Health Benefits of Cauliflower?
Cauliflower contains cancer-fighting properties, it can improve your memory, and can lower your blood pressure. For a more comprehensive summary on the health benefits, check out this article from Food Matters called 8 Fascinating Health Benefits of Cauliflower.
- Cauliflower - look for medium to large heads of cauliflower in order to fill up a large rimmed baking sheet.
- Parmigiano Reggiano cheese - this is the authentic Italian version of parmesan cheese. It has a sharper and somewhat nutty/fruity flavor. I recommend this version if you can find it. Otherwise, regular parmesan cheese works too.
- Butter - I highly recommend Kerry Gold's Irish Butter as it comes from grass-fed cows that are free of growth hormones and has a richer flavor. Why is grass-fed important? Because it results in a more beneficial nutrient profile than butter from grain-fed cows. Specifically, it is higher in omega-3 fatty acids, which is a good thing, since the standard American diet tends to skew too high in omega-6 fatty acids.
- Olive Oil - use extra-virgin for the best flavor and cold-pressed for health benefits.
- Spice Mix - use a high-quality brand for your spices, such as Frontier Co-Op for more potent health benefits. For this recipe, you just need some garlic powder and smoked paprika, along with some kosher salt and black pepper.
Starting with a whole cauliflower, cut it in half, then into quarters. You can then cut away the center core from each piece and break off the leaves.
Cut the florets into bite-sized pieces. Alternatively, you can cut each quarter head of cauliflower into ½-inch-thick cauliflower steaks. Keep the sizes uniform so that they bake more evenly.
Transfer the cauliflower florets onto a large rimmed baking sheet, then pour melted butter over the florets.
Using a spatula, toss the cauliflower to until evenly coated with butter.
Sprinkle the spice mix on top of the cauliflower and toss again to get an even coating. Spread the florets out in a single layer. For a crisper outcome, transfer half of the prepared cauliflower to a second baking sheet so that you can space them out even more before baking.
Bake in the oven preheated to 425 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 15-20 minutes. The cauliflower is ready when it becomes fork-tender on the inside and slightly crispy on the outside.
Sprinkle the parmesan cheese over the baked cauliflower before serving. If you prefer, to brown the cheese, add it during the last 5 minutes of baking. I also like to have some extra cheese on the side in case anyone wants to add more!
Paprika - if you don't prefer smoky flavors, swap the smoked paprika for regular or sweet paprika
Oil - if you prefer not to use butter, you can just use olive oil on its own. If you don't have any olive oil on hand, avocado oil also works for roasting, but it will not add much flavor to the cauliflower.
There are so many ways to enjoy roasted cauliflower! Here are a few other simple ingredients that you can try:
- For an herbal version, try using fresh or dried rosemary, oregano, and/or basil
- If you love lemon, try sprinkling grated lemon rind on top with a little bit of sea salt for balance.
- For a mac 'n cheese vibe, you can use garlic salt and shredded cheddar cheese and bake until golden brown.
- Roasted cauliflower can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- Reheat in the microwave in 30-45 second increments to warm it up before serving.
Yes! While it won't come out crispy on the outside, it'll still be delicious. The baking time should be similar but may vary depending upon how frozen your cauliflower is.
It is a good idea to rinse the cauliflower after you've quartered it. This will remove any dirt that may be on the surface and between the florets. When at the grocery store, try to find ones with minimal dirt to make it easier to clean.
Absolutely! You can bake the stems and they will taste the same as the florets. As for the leaves, you can toss them in oil and bake them at 425 degrees Fahrenheit to make crispy veggie chips!
Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 medium heads of cauliflower
- 2 tablespoon grass-fed butter, melted
- 2 tbsps extra-virgin olive oil cold-pressed is best
- ¼ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese regular parmesan works fine too
- Preheat the oven to 425° F.
- Combine the spice mix ingredients in a small container and set aside.
- Cut the cauliflower into bite-sized florets and transfer them to a large rimmed baking sheet.
- Melt the butter and whisk in the olive oil.
- Pour the oil mixture over the cauliflower then toss to combine.
- Sprinkle the spice mixture onto the cauliflower and toss again to combine.
- Spread out the cauliflower florets as much as possible so that they will become slightly crispy on the outside from baking.
- Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until fork-tender on the inside and slightly crispy on the outside.
- If you prefer to brown the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese on top of the cauliflower, then sprinkle it on during the last 5 minutes of baking. Otherwise, add the cheese right before serving.