Super tender, flavor that's fire, and visually stunning this whole roasted cauliflower is perfect as a rut breaking main dish or a show-stopping appetizer at a dinner party.
Cauliflower recipes don't have to be boring and basic. I like a nice mashed cauliflower, but cauliflower is destined for so much more. Roast it and enjoy it's texture.
This recipe represents the continuing evolution of two things I'm super passionate about; one - making cauliflower a star and two - jerking everything in sight! If you've followed the blog, then you've probably seen recipes for smoked cauliflower, fried, or roasted whole or roasted. This was my attempt at vegan Jamaican food if you will.
ROASTED CAULIFLOWER INGREDIENTS
COOKING INSTRUCTIONS FOR ROASTING WHOLE CAULIFLOWER
Prepare the cauliflower
Remove the leaves and cut away as much of the stem as you can without the florets falling apart from the base.
Bring the wine, water, lemon juice, jerk seasoning, salt, and bay leaf to a boil in a large pot. Add cauliflower and cook for 5 minutes. Be careful not to cook too much so stay right around 5 minutes. After 2 minutes of cooking flip the cauliflower with a large slotted spoon and cook for the remaining 3 minutes.
Transfer the cauliflower stem side down to a colander and drain for 10 minutes.
Make the basting sauce
While the cauliflower drains, mix the olive oil and jerk marinade in a bowl.
Roast the jerk cauliflower
Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F.
Transfer cauliflower stem side down to a cast-iron skillet or oven-proof pan. Brush the oil and jerk mixture over the cauliflower. Reserve about a ¼ of the oil/marinade mixture.
Roast the cauliflower, rotating the dish once or twice. Spoon any oil drippings and/or reserved marinade mixture over the cauliflower every 8 minutes or so.
Remove the cauliflower after about 20-25 minutes. There should be a fair amount of browning and a knife should be able to easily pierce the center of the cauliflower. Let cool.
Treat the cauliflower (or any vegetable for that matter) as you would a meat protein. Meaning - go all out with the same level of thoughtfulness and obsessing in the form of rubs, marinades, etc. and you will end up with something extraordinary. A whole roasted cauliflower should be loved like a pot roast.
All cauliflower types work for this recipe, but colored ones present really well. Choose smaller cauliflower heads over large ones. Larger ones are a challenge to achieving a fully cooked center without overcooking the exterior.
Cooking time will vary somewhat depending on the size of the cauliflower.
Boiling the cauliflower in seasoned broth seasons the interior. This is where this recipe WINS as you get that jerk flavor inside and out. The outer surface retains flavors well whether from herbs, rubs, marinades. Slow cooking and frequent basting nets a tender center.
Proper draining of the cauliflower is essential. This step plus the actual roasting help preserve the natural crunchy texture. Otherwise, the cauliflower is soft and near mushy. Don't leave the cauliflower in the water longer than the recipe calls for as you don't want it to absorb too much liquid which will impact texture.
Don't be afraid to baste. Using a towel or glove tilt the skillet slightly and scoop the juices up with a spoon and repeatedly pour on top of the cauliflower.
ROASTED CAULIFLOWER FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Which Commercial Brand Jerk Marinade works best?
You're definitely free to make my homemade version, but there are a few easily accessible quality ones available in most mainstream grocery stores. I use Walkerswood most frequently but have been satisfied with Grace and Matouk's as well. Walkerswood offers both traditional spicy and mild versions and tends to have the widest distribution.
Does this recipe work with other flavors or ingredients?
This recipe is heavy on the jerk side, but cauliflower pairs well with any flavor. The process is foolproof, but feel free to go with your preferred flavor profile. If you want a more Spanish profile go with a heavy paprika scented rub or if Korean is your thing make a gochujang sauce to baste the cauliflower with.
Does cauliflower have protein?
Whole roasted cauliflower is a great meatless alternative. But not surprisingly the question of protein always comes up when talking vegan meat replacement options. Like broccoli, cauliflower provides a high amount of protein for the number of calories it delivers. One cup of cauliflower weighs 100 grams and contains 2 grams of protein. Protein accounts for 19% of its calories.
What are the health benefits of cauliflower?
Cauliflower contains a high amount of fiber, which is important for digestive health and may reduce the risk of several chronic diseases. The fact that it's also low in calories in conjunction with fiber content makes it perfect for weight loss. Lastly, Cauliflower provides a significant amount of antioxidants, which aid in reducing inflammation
I write a lot about cooking cauliflower and include several good recipes below:
JERK BASED RECIPES
Making Jerk Roasted Cauliflower Head
If you make this delicious whole roasted cauliflower recipe, 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.
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- 1 medium cauliflower
- 1 ½ cups dry white wine
- 8 cups water
- 2 tablespoon jerk spice mix
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 bay leaf
- Juice from 1 lemon
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup jerk marinade Walkerswood is a good store-bought alternative
- Preheat oven to 475°.
- Bring wine, jerk seasoning, kosher salt, lemon juice, bay leaf, and 8 cups water to a boil in a large pot. Add cauliflower and 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.
- While cauliflower drains mix olive oil and jerk marinade in a mixing bowl.
- Transfer cauliflower stem side down to a cast iron skillet or oven proof pan. Rub the top with oil and jerk marinade mixture. Reserve some of the oil marinade mixture.
- Roast, rotating the dish once or twice. Spoon any oil drippings and/or reserved oil marinade mixture over the cauliflower in 8-10 minute increments until the cauliflower browns and a knife/metal skewer when inserted to the center meets no resistance roughly 20-25 minutes.
- Let cool for five minutes before serving.