Super tender, flavor that’s fire, and visually stunning this cauliflower is perfect as a rut breaking main dish or a show stopping appetizer at a dinner party.
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.
The thing with cauliflower recipes for me is what I consider the cauliflower conundrum. Mashing it opens it up to all flavor pairings. But what are your options if you want to experience cauliflower’s natural crunchiness and also maintain most of the nutrients.
I’ve always been amazed at how much time we spend preparing, dressing and fussing over meat, but dedicate so little to vegetable sides or main dishes. For me, cauliflower has those meat like qualities that make it worthy of the same fuss. A whole roasted cauliflower is prepared in very much the same way as a pot roast. The outer surface retains flavors well whether from herbs, rubs, marinades. Slow cooking and frequent basting nets a tender center.
This recipe was supposed to be for another smoked version, but I was out of wood and decided to roast it. If only I could get more of the jerk flavor on the interior of the cauliflower. This issue has always been where whole cooked cauliflower fell down in my opinion and is what stood in the way of making this humble vegetable a flat out superstar. As I laid out in my last cauliflower post, brining is the way to go to add that interior flavor. However, the 2.0 version of the recipe is next level stuff. I’m talking battle with blandness over for good!
Precooking the cauliflower in seasoned poaching liquid infuses the entire vegetable with flavor; draining and roasting it preserves the crunchy texture.
Roasted Cauliflower Head Cooking Tips
- Cooking time will vary somewhat depending on the size of the cauliflower
- Season the poaching liquid generously.
- After roasting 20 minutes, baste with pan juices every 10 minutes
- All cauliflower types work but if available choose a colored one as they present beautifully, giving the impression you worked extremely hard
- Choose smaller cauliflower heads, as larger ones can lead to an overcooked exterior and undercooked interior
- The color of cauliflower doesn’t matter. I chose yellow variety because it was available and I liked the color, but whether traditional white, yellow, green, purple, etc. the flavor and texture are the same.
- 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. Similarly, let it drain adequately before roasting
- Don’t discard the cauliflower leaves. Roast them too with oil and seasoning for a nice snack
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
Making Jerk Roasted Cauliflower Head
If you make this delicious roasted jerk cauliflower head 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. You can also keep up with my food exploits as well as original recipes! You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. If you like any of the music you find on the site, visit me at Spotify to find curated monthly playlists.
- 1 medium cauliflower
- 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
- 8 cups water
- 2 tbsp jerk spice mix
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 1 bay leaf
- Juice from 1 lemon
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/4 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.