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.
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 ….
How to Cook Green Cauliflower (or any color)
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees or 375 degrees convect
- I start by cutting the heads into florets.
- Then I pop them on a parchment-lined pan (a huge timesaver for clean-up), drizzle them with olive oil, salt and pepper.
- 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.
- 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.
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?
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
Roasted Green Cauliflower (or any color!)
- 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
- Preheat the oven to 400 convection roast (if you have this setting) or 425 degrees regular cook.
- Cut the cauliflower into florets - relatively the same size. Spread them on a parchment-lined sheet pan.
- 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.
- 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.
- Remove from oven when crisp but tender when pierced with a fork or you take a bite.
- 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.