Skip to Content

"Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing" cheesy parmigiano reggiano whole roasted cauliflower

Sharing is caring!

Cheesy Oven Roasted Cauliflower - Simple side or main dish vegetarian option with deep, complex flavor from Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

whole roasted cauliflower topped with parmigiano reggiano cheese.

Baked cauliflower is a favorite among vegetable side dishes in our house. And living with two teens there are always demands for more intense flavor as well as variety. So in order to satisfy such a tough crowd I partnered with Parmigiano Reggiano for a sponsored post and made this REAL cheesy whole roasted cauliflower dish.


Cauliflower because of its blandness works with just about any flavor. Previous recipes have featured jerk spice, fennel, citrus, etc. but never cheese until now. One of my favorite things to eat is cacio e pepe which is an incredibly simple dish featuring pasta, cheese, and black pepper; few ingredients but when executed properly is the best thing you'll ever eat. Cacio e pepe was the influence behind this dish. The recipe consists primarily of cauliflower, pepper, and a heavy dose of Parmigiano Reggiano.

whole roasted cauliflower topped with parmigiano reggiano cheese.


For the Broth

  • Parmigiano Reggiano cheese rinds
  • White Wine
  • Garlic Cloves
  • Olive Oil
  • Water
  • Fresh Thyme
  • Fresh Parsley

For the cauliflower

  • Cauliflower head
  • Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher Salt
  • Pepper


My trick to ensuring a well seasoned cauliflower inside and out is to poach the cauliflower first. The poaching liquid actually infuses the interior of the cauliflower with flavor.

I made a cheese broth using one of those best kept secret ingredients - the rind from a wedge of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Those rich, aged notes add flavor complexity, so by poaching the cauliflower in a cheese broth base liquid I was able to get the intensely rich flavor of the Parmigiano Reggiano inside it.

Next came the easy part, I.e. getting that cheesy goodness on the exterior. The Parmigiano Reggiano works as the finishing ingredient. About 10 minutes prior to finishing baking in the oven I sprinkled a layer of cheese. Feel free to put as much or as little cheese as you prefer, but either way your end dish will be both intensely aromatic and flavored with that sharp, nutty taste.


Is Parmesan the same as Parmigiano Reggiano?

Though sharing a few similarities they are actually two distinctly different cheeses. Parmigiano Reggiano is highly regulated. It can only come from the Parma region of northern Italy and is required by law to have only three ingredients - cow's milk, salt, and the enzyme rennet. It's aging process leads to a harder cheese that's darker in color and much sharper in flavor relative to parmesan. It's because of that sharper, stronger flavor I used parmigiano reggiano to make this whole roasted cauliflower.

whole roasted cauliflower topped with parmigiano reggiano cheese.

What are other uses for the rind?

Admittedly, I sometimes buy aged cheese for the rind. I've noticed recently my local grocery store actually sells packaged rinds which is like Christmas for me. Back in the day when we started our fellas monthly wine tasting group, I'd hoard all the left over cheese rinds. When I inevitably got those strange looks I tried to explain that I used them to flavor olive oil or broths which only added to the confusion. So I just conceded and used the composting excuse. Maybe you're more open than my fellas crew and can see how the rinds would make a great flavoring agent. Here are a few uses to consider instead of throwing away those rinds. Just remember to remove the rind before serving the dish.

  1. Throw them into tomato sauce when cooking.
  2. Infuse olive oil by placing the rinds in a jar, then pour olive oil over them and let sit.
  3. Add to bean soups or Minestrone.

Are there health benefits to Parmigiano Reggiano?

The long aging process provides many different benefits including the fact that Parmigiano Reggiona is easily digestible as the aging breaks down much of the protein present. Similarly, despite being a dairy product, Parmigiano Reggiano is rendered lactose-free through aging.


For a tutorial on making whole cauliflower checkout this cauliflower 101.

Smoked Whole Cauliflower

Whole Roasted Jerk Cauliflower

Cauliflower Curry

Cauliflower Potato Soup

2-Step Roasted Cauliflower

Making Baked Cauliflower

If you make this delicious cheesy oven roasted cauliflower recipe made with Parmigiano Reggiano, please come back and leave me a comment below with your feedback. Definitely take a photo of the dish and be sure to tag #foodfidelity so that I can see them.

You can also keep up with my food exploits as well as original recipes! You can find me on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest. If you like any of the music you find on the site, visit me at Spotify to find curated monthly playlists.

whole roasted cauliflower topped with parmigiano reggiano cheese.

whole roasted cauliflower topped with parmigiano reggiano cheese.

Cheesy Whole Roasted Cauliflower w/ Parmigiano Reggiano

Simple side or main dish vegetarian option with deep, complex flavor from Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 246kcal
Author: Marwin Brown


For the Broth

  • ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped
  • 9 cups of water
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • Parmigiano Reggiano cheese rinds
  • Fresh Thyme
  • Fresh Parsley

For the cauliflower

  • ½  cup  kosher salt
  • Black pepper and kosher salt to taste
  • pound  head cauliflower leaves trimmed
  • tbsp  olive oil
  • ¼ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano


Make the cheese broth

  • Heat large sauce pan on medium. Add olive oil and then saute garlic 2 minutes.
  • Add water and wine then bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to simmer then add cheese rinds and herbs. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest a few minutes. Strain broth using a fine mesh sieve and reserve broth.

Make the Cauliflower

  • Heat the oven to 475 degrees F with rack in the middle position.
  • In a large pot, bring 8 cups of the broth to a boil. Add ½ cup salt then lower in the cauliflower.
  • Cook for 5 minutes EXACTLY starting from the time you drop the cauliflower into the pot. Flip the cauliflower with a large spoon after the first two minutes.
  • Transfer the cauliflower stem side down to a colander and drain for 10 minutes.
  • Transfer cauliflower stem side down to a baking dish. Rub the top with oil and sprinkle with black pepper and kosher salt.
  • Roast, rotating the dish once or twice. Spoon any oil drippings over the cauliflower until the cauliflower browns and a knife/metal skewer when inserted to the center meets no resistance roughly 25 minutes. After 20 minutes of cooking remove the cauliflower from the oven and top with the grated cheese. Return cauliflower back to oven and finish cooking.
  • Let cool for five minutes before serving.


Calories: 246kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 4mg | Sodium: 11658mg | Potassium: 720mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 50IU | Vitamin C: 109.8mg | Calcium: 154mg | Iron: 1.3mg
Subscribe To My YouTube ChannelSubscribe To My YouTube Channel for full length recipe videos. Click the bell icon to be notified when I post new videos.
My YouTube Channel
Tried this Recipe? Tag it Today!Mention @foodfidelity or tag #foodfidelity!

Sharing is caring!

Recipe Rating


Tuesday 27th of November 2018

Hi, I have a question about the second half of the recipe. It says to boil 4 quarts of broth (16 cups). The broth recipe is 9 cups. Do I need to make the broth twice?


Tuesday 27th of November 2018

Hi Sarah, thanks for the catch. The broth recipe should be 9 cups as it will likely reduce about a cup down to 8 during cooking. The second half is just a typo. The broth you'll use in the recipe will be 8 cups (basically the entire broth). Keep in mind this was for a small to medium size cauliflower which I recommend. If you use a larger head, then you'll want to make more broth.

Francesca De Cata

Monday 29th of October 2018

Wow, sounds and looks absolutely amazing! I also love the fact you include the nutrition facts below. I will definitely be trying this one out :)


Monday 29th of October 2018

Thank u! Definitely give it a try and let me know what you think.