Spicy Roasted Cauliflower
In the short month between two major holidays, I’m always on the search for quick, healthy, flavorful dishes. I don’t want a huge list of ingredients or tons of steps. I just want something that’s warming and filling without all the fuss.
Cauliflower fits the bill. It’s super-overlooked in the stores. It’s like broccoli’s weird albino brother and people just walk on by.
The truth is though that it isn’t any harder to cook than broccoli and has a lot more flavor in my opinion. This is especially true if you douse it in spices and roast it!
Spicy Roasted Cauliflower
Yield: Serves 4.
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 lime, juice only
Pinch of salt and pepper
Mortar and Pestle
1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut cauliflower into florets. Halve any large florets so that the pieces are roughly the same size.
2) Toast cumin and red pepper flakes in a dry skillet for a few minutes over medium heat until fragrant.
3) Lightly crush spices in a mortar and pestle or with a heavy pan.
4) Toss cauliflower with olive oil, spices, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
5) Transfer cauliflower to a baking dish and bake for 40-45 minutes until cooked through and lightly browned in parts. Stir once halfway through to ensure even cooking.
6) When cauliflower is done, spritz with juice from half of a lime and garnish with fresh cilantro. Serve immediately!
As far as I know, you can’t buy cauliflower that’s already been cut into florets so you’ll have to probably buy the whole huge head of it. Don’t stress out about this. It’s pretty easy to break down into floret-sized pieces.
Wash it well and cut off any large leaves around the exterior of the veggie. Then chop it up! Any large florets should be cut in half or in quarters to make everything roughly the same size.
There are just two main spices for this dish: cumin and red pepper flakes. Use a heavy hand with both of them. To get the most flavor out of the spices, lightly toast them in a dry skillet for a few minutes over medium heat.
Then just barely smash them up. You don’t want them ground, you want them smashed. I used a mortar and pestle for this, but you could use a heavy pan to smash them or just run your knife through them a few times after they toast.
Toss the cauliflower florets with a good drizzle of olive oil and the spices.
Also, season them now with a big pinch of salt and pepper.
Into the baking dish they go! Any baking dish will do the trick here.
Baking and Spritzing
Bake the cauliflower for about 45 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Stir it once halfway through to make sure it’s cooking evenly.
When it comes out of the oven, spritz the cauliflower with the juice from half of a lime which adds some needed acidity.
See that green thing that’s completely out of focus? That’s a lime. Promise.
After that, add some fresh cilantro leaves to the dish and serve it immediately!
This isn’t really enough of a dish for a meal on it’s own (unless you really like cauliflower), but makes for one great side dish.
I also like the leftovers cold in a simple salad.
Nothing fancy, but definitely worth trying!