Savoury whole roasted cauliflower nestled on a bed of sweet and smokey romesco sauce is a great way to elevate this humble vegetable!
For another shockingly good cauliflower recipe, try Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower Bites!
I would never have believed it when I was a kid, but I really do love eating vegetables. Not only do I feel good afterwards, but they come in such a huge range of taste and texture that I never get tired of a plate of veg.
But I get most excited when vegetables are roasted. Roasting enhances the flavour of vegetables, especially the sweetness, while adding a pleasant smokiness. So good!
For this recipe, I’ve made a savoury whole roasted cauliflower with the perfect blend of spices. And to really take it up a notch, it is paired with a sweet and rich romesco sauce!
Cauliflower can be cooked in numerous ways, including grilled, steamed or boiled, and can be turned into steaks or mash or left as bite-sized florets. But I think that roasting is the best option to get the most interesting flavour with the perfect texture.
One of the reasons I love cooking with cauliflower is how effective it is at holding other flavours. It’s a fairly blank slate, which is why it turns out so well when spice or sauce is added.
I chose to add garlic powder and smoked paprika along with olive oil to add a bit of punch to the vegetable. With the greens cut off and the bottom trimmed so the cauliflower stands upright, all I needed to do was add the spice mix evenly to the top.
Place the head into a dutch oven and into a preheated oven with the lid on for one hour. I then took the lid off and left it in the oven for another 20-25 minutes to get a slightly crispy top.
Sprinkle with finely chopped parsley, and it’s ready to enjoy!
To me, romesco sauce is the Spanish response to Italian pesto. They don’t taste alike, but they are made in a similar fashion and are equally versatile and flavoursome. Both pest and romesco are simple, tasty sauces that can transform a simple dish into something special.
Romesco sauce was developed to serve with fish in the Tarragona region of Spain, where it was developed to serve with fish. But it has spread far and wide and there are now a myriad of versions, each bringing something.
Some are quite smooth and silky, but I like mine with a bit of texture. There is no hard and fast rule here, so do what works best for you!
While there are a million things you could put this sauce on, cauliflower with romesco is a match that is just meant to be. I served the cauliflower on a thick bed of the sauce, and couldn’t be happier with how it tasted!
Recipe tips and tricks
- For a more rustic look, some of the green leaves can be left on when cooking. Just make sure to fully expose the head of cauliflower.
- The spices for the cauliflower can be changed to fit your taste and mood. Any range of spices could be used, including Greek or Mexican spices, or it could be covered in pesto for an Italian twist. I love the spices used in this recipe but there is a lot of room to be creative!
- Pick a pot that is deep enough to fit the cauliflower and has a lid to cover when cooking. If you do not have a lid, aluminium foil will do the job.
- This cauliflower will also be amazing with tahini sauce, or served in tacos when cooked with Mexican flavours.
- The cauliflower looks stunning when cooked, so try serving it as the centrepiece on your dinner table.
Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Romesco Sauce
Head of roasted cauliflower with sweet and smoky Romanesco sauce.
- 1 large cauliflower
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
For the Romesco Sauce
- 250g roasted red peppers from a jar
- 1 tablespoon tomato puree
- 100g blanched almonds
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1.5-2 tablespoon sherry vinegar
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 50ml extra virgin olive oil
- Salt to taste
- ½ teaspoon red chilli flakes (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 170C/325F. Trim the outer leaves of the cauliflower to expose the top but don’t cut all the way down. Trim the base so it sits flat.
- Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt, garlic powder and smoked paprika, put in a deep roasting casserole dish like a Dutch Oven, cover with a lid and roast in the preheated oven for 1 hour. Uncover and roast for 20-25 minutes longer until the top is golden and slightly crispy. Serve sprinkled with fresh parsley.
- While the cauliflower is roasting in the oven for the last 20 minutes, make the sauce. In a blender combine the drained roasted red peppers, almonds, garlic, sherry vinegar and olive oil, add with a pinch of salt, process until you have a sauce. Taste and add more salt or a bit more vinegar if needed. If you like spicy sauces, add the red chilli flakes or leave them out. Serve with the roasted cauliflower.
For a more rustic look, leave some of the green leaves. Just make sure that the head is fully exposed for cooking.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 249Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 303mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 6gSugar: 6gProtein: 7g
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