Company-worthy Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Grape Relish becomes a beautiful centerpiece with its bright fruity zesty topping.
Use it as a side dish or as a main dish served over quinoa, rice or couscous. The process is pretty simple: coat a whole cauliflower in a mixture of olive oil, paprika, chili garlic sauce and lemon zest; roast it covered for half the time then uncovered for the rest; and while it’s roasting, toss all the relish crowning-glory ingredients together (grapes, nuts, parsley, lemon, currants, maple syrup) and top the cauliflower when it’s done. That’s it.
The roasting method does take a bit of time, but it’s mostly hands-off which frees you up to do other things. And, it’s much simpler to make than it looks.
The whole roasted cauliflower is flavorful and tender. The grape relish adds a juicy, sweet-tart complement. I used a really tasty relish from Canadian Living Magazine. I just added a couple of teaspoons of maple syrup to balance the tartness of the lemon.
This is an impressive dish for guests that can be made ahead and kept warm. I served it over quinoa in the picture above along side a spicy salmon or our Maple Balsamic Rainbow Trout. I’ve also served it as a side with grilled bone-in chicken to great dinner party reviews.
Tailor To Your Taste
- Instead of a whole cauliflower, try our grilled cauliflower or roasted cauliflower wedges.
- Try a very simple coating mixture of olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
- For the grape relish, use any toasted nuts, a shallot instead of a green onion or any kind of seedless grapes.
- Do the first part of the ‘roasting’ (which is actually steaming) in the microwave. This option – about 6-8 minutes – instead of 20 minutes – is described in the recipe below.
- Instead of coating the cauliflower with a homemade mixture, use your favourite oil-based salad dressing such as Italian, Balsamic, Catalina, etc.
- Skip the grape relish and use a store-bought fruit chutney.
- Instead of a whole cauliflower, try grilled or roasted florets – much quicker. (see pictures below recipe)
Make Ahead Whole Roasted Cauliflower
- The relish can be made a day or two ahead. The cauliflower can be made ahead the same day and kept in a warm oven, then topped with the relish at serving time. Or, do the covered part of the cauliflower roasting ahead of time, then the final uncovered roasting before serving.
Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Grape Relish
- 1 large head of cauliflower
Dressing for Cauliflower
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp water
- zest of one lemon
- 1 tsp paprika (smoked or regular)
- 1 tsp chili garlic sauce for mild spice (or more)
- 1/4 tsp each, salt and pepper (or more to taste)
- zest from 1 small lemon
- juice from 1 small lemon (about 2 Tablespoons)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 1/2 tbsp chopped green onion
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley
- 2 tbsp currants
- 1 cup chopped seedless grapes (I use purple)
- 1-2 teaspoons maple syrup or honey (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 425F. Line oven proof pan with tin foil. I use a cast iron pan or small baking pan
- PREPARE AND ROAST CAULIFLOWER: Remove green leaves from underside of cauliflower. Cut off stem of core to ensure a flat bottom. Cut some of core out, careful not to dislodge any branches. Mix all ingredients for cauliflower dressing in a small measuring cup. Turn cauliflower over, core side up. Pour half of dressing to coat inside of cauliflower as much as possible. Rub remaining dressing over top of cauliflower. Place cauliflower in pan. Add half cup water to pan. Cover completely with tin foil. Place in oven to steam and soften for 20 minutes. Shortcut (Note 1) To make ahead (Note 2). Uncover cauliflower and place back in oven to roast for 20-30 minutes, uncovered, until browned and knife pierces it easily.
- MAKE GRAPE RELISH: While cauliflower is roasting, mix all relish ingredients in a bowl to combine well.
- SERVE: Place roasted cauliflower on a plate (or over a bed of quinoa or rice). Top with grape relish. To serve, slice down to cut wedges.
- SHORTCUT TO STEAM CAULIFLOWER: Place in microwave bowl/plate. Cover with plastic wrap. Microwave for 6-8 minutes on high or until tender crisp. Continue with roasting as per instructions above.
- TO MAKE AHEAD: Make relish and do first parting of steaming/microwaving ahead. Do final uncovered roasting before serving or a bit ahead, then keep in a warm oven.
Other cauliflower dishes you might like: