How to Cook Green Cauliflower – Roast your Way to Success

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Just as cauliflower comes in more than just beige, it also lends itself to many cooking methods. This post will show you my favorite method – roasting – with a focus on a gorgeous head of green cauliflower! (first posted March 2013, updated July 2019)

I first wrote about roasting vegetables in 2010 as I was cooking my way through a heat wave. I am so enamored of roasting vegetables and fruit that I’ll roast cauliflower or any type of produce all year long – whether it’s icy cold or horribly hot.

whole head cauliflower on bamboo cutting board

Green Cauliflower: Inspiration from the Farmer’s Market

On a visit to the farmer’s market, I realized not everyone thinks of popping their cauliflower in the oven. A woman was staring at the gorgeous cauliflowers in green, purple, and off white, pondering her purchase.

I struck up a conversation and she asked me how to cook the cauliflower. I suggested roasting and she looked at me a bit surprised. “Really? What do you flavor it with and how long do they need to cook?”

Well since you asked ….

green florets with lemons on parchment

How to Cook Green Cauliflower (or any color)

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees or 375 degrees convect
  2. I start by cutting the heads into florets.
  3. Then I pop them on a parchment-lined pan (a huge timesaver for clean-up), drizzle them with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  4. Then I place them in the oven on 375 degrees convect roast or 400 degrees regular bake. About 15 minutes later they will be ready – a bit crunchy on the outside, just tender on the inside, and completely devoured by the end of dinner.
  5. When I take them out of the oven, I drizzle them with lemon juice (normally I have meyer lemons). Then we usually grab them straight from the parchment to add to our dinner plates.

cooked cauliflower on parchment with lemon

How should I flavor my cauliflower?

Other flavor choices could be za’atar – a middle-eastern spice blend – which tastes glorious on cauliflower. Parmesan cheese added before or after roasting marries beautifully with the lemon juice. Or how about a bit of that pistachio dust from the cookbook RIPE by Cheryl Sternman Rule?

green cauliflower on tray cut into florets

You can also add other veggies that will cook in similar time frames such as broccoli or carrots. Think about what your main course is, what’s in your veggie and spice drawer and just draw inspiration from those elements.

But honestly, the olive oil, salt, pepper, and lemon juice will work with almost any main course and bring out the best of the cauliflower every time.

What’s the Difference between Green Cauliflower and Romanesco?

Both green cauliflower and romanesco are sometimes called broccoflower, both originating as hybrids of broccoli and cauliflower. Romanesco looks like a head of green cauliflower with elegant pointy adornments added on. If you are into math, you’ll appreciate that many compare the look of romanesco to fractals.

romanesco at farmers' market

Different Colors, Same Taste?

Taste-wise, both green cauliflower and romanesco taste milder than regular white cauliflower, making them both good candidates to eat raw on a crudites platter. For the sake of cooking, though, you can use romanesco and green cauliflower almost interchangeably with any other color of cauliflower in a recipe. To be honest, if I did a blind taste test, I’m not sure I could tell the difference.

green cauliflower cut in half

But, the more vibrant colored cauliflowers  – purple, yellow and green – contain more antioxidants. So go ahead and eat the rainbow, as they say, it’s good for you!

green purple orange cauliflower

Don’t forget roasted cauliflower when preparing your holiday dinner menus – it makes a nice side dish with so many proteins and pairs so well with other vegetables.

More Cauliflower Recipes!

Roasted Cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts

Roasted Whole Cauliflower with Za’atar

Roasted Whole Cauliflower with Alfredo Sauce

Orange and Purple Whole Roasted Cauliflower

Cream of Cauliflower Soup with Browned Butter

Supplies for Roasting (Green) Cauliflower

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What’s your favorite cauliflower preparation? Have you ever roasted it? Have you ever tried the other colors and do they taste the same to you as white? Leave a comment below – let’s talk about cauliflower!

cooked cauliflower on parchment with lemon
5 from 6 votes

Roasted Green Cauliflower (or any color!)

Roast your way to a delicious side dish with this simple preparation - versatile enough to use with many other vegetables as well.
Course Vegetables
Cuisine American, Mediterranean
Keyword cauliflower, roasted vegetables
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 6 kcal
Author Beth Lee


  • 1 large head cauliflower or 2 small
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • meyer lemon juice from 1/2 medium lemon optional or just use regular lemons


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 convection roast (if you have this setting) or 425 degrees regular cook.
  2. Cut the cauliflower into florets - relatively the same size. Spread them on a parchment-lined sheet pan.
  3. Drizzle about 2 tablespoons of olive oil all over. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste (about 1 tsp each) then mix the florets around a bit to be sure they are evenly coated with the oil and salt and pepper.
  4. Cook for about 10 - 12 minutes, open the oven door, and check for tenderness with a fork and move them about with some tongs. Cook for about 5 - 8 minutes more depending on how hot your oven is and how large you cut the florets.
  5. Remove from oven when crisp but tender when pierced with a fork or you take a bite.
  6. Drizzle all over with lemon juice immediately, then serve piping hot or let sit until the rest of the meal is ready. They are delicious even if cooled down a bit.

Recipe Video


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32 Responses to How to Cook Green Cauliflower – Roast your Way to Success

  1. Laura July 14, 2019 at 12:58 pm #

    5 stars
    Wow! This is so fascinating and those colorful cauliflowers look so beautiful! I love roasted vegetables and roasted cauliflower sounds so easy and delicious!

    • Beth Lee July 14, 2019 at 4:39 pm #

      W a finish of lemon, what can be better?

  2. Rita July 14, 2019 at 12:31 pm #

    Thanks for this, Beth. Since I’m not an oven user in summertime, I make mashed white cauliflower on the stove top. Almost exactly as mashed potatoes would be made. It’s quite tasty – with a bit of butter of course.

    • Beth Lee July 14, 2019 at 4:38 pm #

      I have to try this Rita – sounds easy and delish and on trend w the low carb alternatives!!

  3. Sandi July 10, 2019 at 4:21 pm #

    5 stars
    I love how you break it all down for me…Some veggies lose their color when they cook (like purple asparagus) so I am gad cauliflower keeps its vibrant color.

    • Beth Lee July 10, 2019 at 4:34 pm #

      That’s a really good point Sandi. You’re exactly right. But I have found that it doesn’t happen with cauliflower!

  4. Nellie Tracy September 28, 2018 at 10:01 pm #

    5 stars
    This really is the very best way to prepare cauliflower!

    • Beth Lee September 28, 2018 at 10:43 pm #

      Right – so easy and so good!

  5. Jennifer Banz September 28, 2018 at 9:53 pm #

    5 stars
    Awesome, thank you for sharing!

    • Beth Lee September 28, 2018 at 10:43 pm #

      Thx for stopping by Jennifer!

  6. cakespy April 20, 2017 at 6:11 am #

    Just bought green cauliflower for the first time – roasted it according to your instrux but used no lemon and subbed sesame oil. Delicious!

    • Beth Lee April 20, 2017 at 7:45 am #

      Love it! Thanks for sharing. Roasting cauliflower is still one of my absolute favorite things to do. Sesame oil is a brilliant change-up.

  7. Rhonda February 12, 2014 at 11:57 am #

    I roast mine the same way BUT, I add fresh sliced garlic and rinsed capers..OMG yummy!

  8. Rhonda February 12, 2014 at 11:55 am #

    I roast mine the same way BUT….. I add fresh garlic and rinsed capers…. OMG yummy…..

  9. Tricia March 18, 2013 at 12:11 pm #

    I agree – roasting is absolutely the best way to go with cauliflower. I recently worked out a new favorite recipe:

  10. Phil March 15, 2013 at 3:35 am #

    I LOVE cauliflower, but alas just boiled it to death! Thanks, Beth!

    • Beth Lee March 15, 2013 at 7:23 pm #

      Repeat after me Phil – R O A S T, not B O I L! And report back when you’ve done it properly 🙂

  11. Lizthechef March 14, 2013 at 3:15 pm #

    5 stars
    Our favorite way to prepare my husband’s favorite vegetable – once in a while, I bake it with a little cream and blue cheese. Makes your arties scream, though 😉

    • Beth Lee March 15, 2013 at 7:22 pm #

      Oh my – I’ve never done that – perhaps I shouldn’t even try it – probably just too good!

  12. Raquel @ Organized Island March 14, 2013 at 2:50 pm #

    I recently tried colored cauliflower at a restaurant. I had never had it before. It was on a pizza and was delicious! Stopping in from SITS.

    • Beth Lee March 15, 2013 at 7:21 pm #

      Wow – on a pizza. That’s unique but i think it could work – what else was on the pizza with it? Thanks for stopping by Raquel!

  13. Hannah March 14, 2013 at 2:31 pm #

    I wish I could bump into you at my farmer’s market for inspiration, Beth! What stunning pics and gorgeous heads of cauliflower. I am a huge, huge fan of cauliflower, especially roasted. Sounds like our families are similar – our cauliflower never makes it off the roasting pan to a serving bowl either! Lately I’ve also been making cauliflower “rice”, inspired by Alyssa ( and it’s a marvelous alternative to ladle stews and stir-fries over.

    • Beth Lee March 15, 2013 at 7:20 pm #

      I am so intrigued by the cauliflower rice idea – what a great way to cut down on those carbs. Going to head over and check it out!

      I wish we could bump into each other at farmer’s markets too!

  14. Pam March 14, 2013 at 9:22 am #

    That looks so good! I love cauliflower, but I’ve never made it this way. Stopping by from SITS. I love your blog header, BTW. Very unique! New follower.

    • Beth Lee March 15, 2013 at 7:18 pm #

      Thanks Pam – so happy to have you following! Definitely try roasting it – you’ll love it even more.

  15. Michelle | DailyWaffle March 13, 2013 at 4:33 pm #

    Totally agree this is the best way to cook cauliflower. I’ll have to add the lemon next time. If we don’t do just salt & pepper, I’ll do an Indian-inspired spice mix. Delish!

    • Beth Lee March 15, 2013 at 7:17 pm #

      Michelle – I was thinking just that. Also – the cauliflower dish with hazelnuts from Jerusalem is a fantastic dish and you start by roasting the cauliflower. Your pictures from Kauai are killing me!

  16. sandy corman March 13, 2013 at 3:37 pm #

    sounds very tasty and certainly different. Haven’t seen the colored cauliflower but I will look the next time I visit the farmers market.

    • Beth Lee March 15, 2013 at 7:16 pm #

      yes – your farmer’s market is a good one – I’m sure you’ll find some.

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