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Roasted Head of Cauliflower

This company-worthy roasted head of cauliflower, crowned with a bright zesty-sweet grape relish, makes a beautiful centerpiece for special occasions.

It’s a delicious vegetarian side dish or main dish served over quinoa, rice or couscous.

roasted whole cauliflower with grape relish on top on plate

We’re using a whole head of cauliflower for this dish. The grape relish adds a juicy, sweet-tart complement. I found a really tasty relish in Canadian Living Magazine and just added a couple of teaspoons of maple syrup to balance the tartness of the lemon.

Is whole roasted cauliflower difficult to make?

No. The roasting method does take a bit of time, but it’s mostly hands-free.

The process is pretty simple:

  1. Coat a whole cauliflower in a spiced seasoning mixture.
  2. Roast it covered for half the time then uncovered for the rest.
  3. Make the grape relish while the cauliflower is roasting.
  4. Transfer the roasted cauliflower to a platter and spoon the relish on top.

And, there are a couple of shortcuts to make it even easier.

This is an impressive dish for dinner guests that can be made ahead and kept warm. I love the dramatic presentation. And the fact that it’s healthy, low cal and low carb is a bonus.

What to serve with your roasted head of cauliflower

As a vegetarian main dish, I like to serve it over quinoa or curried rice with raisins. Or as a side for stuffed portobello mushrooms.

As a side dish, the cauliflower pairs with almost anything. A few favorites: maple balsamic rainbow trout, pork roast sous vide, chicken fricassee and sweet and spicy chicken wings (as a low carb side).

How to make this whole roasted cauliflower recipe with grape relish

whole cauliflower, lemon, oil, seasonings
Ingredients: whole head of cauliflower, chili garlic sauce, lemon, paprika, olive oil, salt, pepper
spice oil mixture in cup for cauliflower
Mix oil and seasonings together in a small bowl or cup
roasted whole cauliflower in skillet
Roast it covered (steam it) for 20 minutes. Uncover and roast another 20-30 minutes or until tender and browned. Cooking time will depend on size of cauliflower.
roasted whole cauliflower with grape relish on top p1
Transfer roasted cauliflower to a platter and spoon grape relish on top of the cauliflower.
cut open roasted whole cauliflower with grape relish on top
Slice down to make wedges and serve.

Tailor To Your Taste

  • Seasoning: Try a very simple seasoning mixture of olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Or add some cumin, turmeric or curry powder.
  • Grape relish modifications: Use any toasted nuts, a shallot instead of a green onion or any kind of seedless grapes.

Shortcuts

  1. Shorten roasting method: 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 card below.
  2. Use store-bought seasoning: Instead of coating the cauliflower with a homemade mixture, use your favorite oil-based salad dressing such as Italian, Balsamic, Tahini sauce, Catalina, etc.
  3. Skip the grape relish and use a store-bought fruit chutney. Or just a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and some fresh herbs.

Make Ahead 

  • Make the relish a day or two ahead and store it in the fridge in an airtight container.
  • 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.

FAQ about cauliflower

How do I buy the best cauliflower?

Look for a creamy white color with fresh green leaves (not yellowed) and tightly packed florets. The cauliflower should not have blemishes and dark spots and it should feel firm and heavy for its size. If there are a few brownish spots, just cut them off.

How should fresh cauliflower be stored?

Although cauliflower doesn’t need to be refrigerated if you’re planning to use it within a day or two, it will last longer in the fridge (4-7 days) in an an open bag.

Is cauliflower a healthy vegetable?

Yes. The mayo clinic calls it a nutrition superstar. It’s an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, high in vitamin C and fiber. And low carb, low calorie, low cholesterol and fat free.

roasted whole cauliflower with grape relish on top on plate
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Roasted Head of Cauliflower with Grape Relish

This company-worthy roasted head of cauliflower, crowned with a bright zesty-sweet grape relish, makes a beautiful centerpiece for special occasions.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6 sides (or 3 mains)
Author: Cheryl

Ingredients

  • 1 whole cauliflower head

Dressing for Cauliflower

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon water
  • lemon zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon paprika (smoked or regular)
  • 2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce for medium spice level (or more to your taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon each, salt and pepper (or more to taste)

Grape Relish

  • lemon (zest plus juice) (about 2 Tablespoons)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped green onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons currants
  • 1 cup chopped seedless grapes (I use purple)
  • 1 teaspoon -2 maple syrup or honey (optional)
  • kosher salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • HEAT OVEN TO 425F/218C. Line a rimmed baking sheet or cast-iron skillet with tin aluminum foil or parchment paper for easy clean up.
  • MAKE SEASONING MIXTURE: Mix all ingredients for cauliflower seasoning mixture/dressing in a small measuring cup.
  • PREPARE AND ROAST CAULIFLOWER: Remove outer leaves from bottom of the cauliflower. Cut off bottom of the stem to create a flat bottom. Cut some of thick core out as well, careful not to dislodge any branches. Turn cauliflower over, core side up. Pour half of dressing to coat inside of cauliflower as much as possible and the other half over the top of the cauliflower to coat it well.
  • ROAST CAULIFLOWER (or Note 1 for shortcut). Place cauliflower on prepared baking sheet or skillet. Add half cup water to pan. Cover completely with tin foil. Place in oven to steam and soften for 20 minutes. Uncover cauliflower and place back in oven to roast for 20-30 minutes, uncovered, until golden brown and knife pierces it easily.
  • MAKE GRAPE RELISH: While cauliflower is roasting, mix all relish ingredients in a medium bowl to combine well.
  • SERVE: Transfer roasted cauliflower to a serving plate (over a bed of quinoa or rice if you like). Top with grape relish. To serve, slice down to cut wedges.

Notes

  1. Shortcut to steam cauliflower: Do the first part of the ‘roasting’ (which is actually steaming) in the microwave. Place cauliflower on microwaveable bowl/plate. Cover with plastic wrap. Microwave for 6-8 minutes on High heat or until tender crisp. Continue with roasting as per instructions above. 
  2. Other shortcuts
    • Use store-bought seasoning: Instead of coating the cauliflower with a homemade mixture, use your favorite oil-based salad dressing such as Italian, Balsamic, Tahini sauce, Catalina, etc.
    • Skip the grape relish and use a store-bought fruit chutney. Or just a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and some fresh herbs.
  3. Seasoning variations: Try a very simple seasoning mixture of olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Or add some cumin, turmeric or curry powder.
  4. To make ahead:
    • The relish can be made a day or two ahead and stored in the fridge in an airtight container.
    • 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.
 
Nutrition information is estimated and includes the grape relish. 

Nutrition

Calories: 185kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Sodium: 406mg | Potassium: 421mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 621IU | Vitamin C: 54mg | Calcium: 38mg | Iron: 1mg
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This whole roasted cauliflower with grape relish recipe, originally published in 2018, is updated with new information and edits.

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