Whole roasted cauliflower is a gorgeous and delicious centerpiece meal or side dish recipe inspired by Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern cuisines.

It’s one of the best ways to enhance the flavor of the cauliflower as it gets browned and flavorful outside while maintaining a succulent, juicy inside.

Make roasted whole cauliflower a meal with creamy Mediterranean spreads and sauces like yogurt tahini sauce, chermoula, and warm pita bread.

whole roasted cauliflower cut in half with chermoula sauce

Dietary Note: this recipe is suitable for a vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free diet.

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What is Whole Roasted Cauliflower?

baked whole cauliflower of yogurt tahini sauce

Whole roasted cauliflower is a gorgeous and delicious centerpiece meal or side dish.

It’s easier to make than roasted cauliflower and air fryer cauliflower florets, as there’s no chopping involved.

You can prepare it with minimal effort in about 45 minutes tops. Boil it for 10 minutes in salted water first, then season it with olive oil and salt, and roast for 30 minutes.

This creates the perfect balance between a succulent, juicy core and a flavor-packed, perfectly crisp, and brown exterior.

Also, as the whole cauliflower roasts, you can prepare sauces and toppings to go with it!

Whole roasted cauliflower with chermoula and drizzle of tahini sauce

Cauliflower has a mild and slightly nutty flavor that goes well with most world cuisines.

From Indian cauliflower curry, Navratan korma, and aloo gobi to American broccoli cauliflower salad, cauliflower Alfredo sauce, and Italian cauliflower pasta.

However, for this roasted whole cauliflower recipe, we recommend Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern ingredients and flavors like those we use in our Moroccan chickpea stew, roasted cauliflower soup, and roasted cauliflower salad.

For example, you’ll love it on a bed of creamy-dreamy yogurt tahini sauce, topped with herby chermoula sauce and served with warm pita bread.

Ingredients & Substitutions for Whole Roasted Cauliflower

Ingredients for whole roasted cauliflower

Quantities are in the recipe box at the bottom of the page.

Cauliflower

Pick a firm, fresh, medium, or large whole head of cauliflower.

You can use white cauliflower, green cauliflower, orange cauliflower, or purple cauliflower.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

We recommend extra virgin olive oil because it’s the least processed and the most flavorful oil to cook with.

Despite popular belief, EVOO is excellent to cook with thanks to its high polyphenol content, which makes it stable at high temperatures.

It also perfectly matches the flavor of cauliflower.

Substitute avocado oil or regular olive oil for extra virgin olive oil.

Salt and pepper

We recommend sea salt or kosher salt. Black pepper is optional.

Serves well with

Easy whole roasted cauliflower with tahini sauce on a plate

How to Make Whole Roasted Cauliflower

US cups + grams measurements in the recipe box at the bottom of the page.

Trim the leaves and bottom part of the stem off, ensuring the florets don’t separate from the core.

hands trimming of head of cauliflower with a pairing knife

Rinse, then boil the cauliflower for 10 minutes in a large pot with plenty of salted boiling water.

whole head of cauliflower boiling in a white pot

In the meantime, preheat the oven to 400°F or 200°C.

After 10 minutes, drain the cauliflower and put it on a baking tray. Season it with extra virgin olive oil all over and a generous pinch of salt to cover all sides.

Tip: Use a small square or rectangular baking pan, a baking sheet with rimmed edges, a cast iron skillet, and even a Dutch oven.

whole head of cauliflower drizzled with olive oil

Roast for 30 minutes at 400°F or 200°C.

The cauliflower should be tender to the core and slightly charred outside. You can check core tenderness by inserting a skewer into the center.

baked whole cauliflower of yogurt tahini sauce

Serving Suggestions

You can serve whole roasted cauliflower as a side dish, or you can make it a meal by serving it with sauces, toppings, and warm bread.

whole roasted cauliflower with yogurt, chermoula and pita bread

We recommend serving it with the following:

Spread the Yogurt-Tahini Sauce on a plate and arrange the cauliflower on top. Drizzle with chermoula sauce on top and between the crevices.

Sprinkle with a tablespoon or two of pomegranate seeds or pistachios, cut it in half or quarters, and enjoy it with warm pita bread.

Whole roasted cauliflower with chermoula, pita bread and fresh lemon

Recipes that go well with roasted cauliflower

Alternatively, you can serve whole roasted cauliflower as a colorful Middle-Eastern appetizer and dinner (mezze) with other small dishes such as:

Variations

Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Harissa

cauliflower head with lemons and herbs

This variation is inspired by Yotam Ottolenghi. Boil the cauliflower in salted boiling water for 10 minutes.

As it boils, prepare the seasoning by whisking together 2 tablespoons harissa sauce, 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon water, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon ground cumin, ¼ teaspoon black pepper.

Drain the cauliflower and arrange it on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Place it upside down and fill it with half the harissa seasoning.

Turn it over and brush it with the remaining seasoning.

Roast at 400°F or 200°C for 15 minutes, then baste it with its liquid and roast for another 15 minutes, or until fork-tender and slightly charred on top.

Drizzle with chermoula or chimichurri. Serve with tahini sauce or yogurt tahini sauce and warm pita bread.

Tips

Don’t skip the boiling step. Boiling the cauliflower first allows it to warm to the core, allowing it to cook faster and more evenly in the oven without burning outside.

With this technique, there is no need to cover the cauliflower with foil.

It also makes the cauliflower more succulent and juicy as it bakes faster.

Storage & Make Ahead

Make ahead: If you have dinner guests, you can roast the cauliflower a few hours before, undercook it slightly, then reheat it in the oven for 10 minutes before serving.

You can prep the sauces a day in advance and keep them in an airtight container in the fridge.

Refrigerator: keep the leftover cauliflower and the sauces in airtight containers for up to 3 days.

Freezer: whole roasted cauliflower is not a freezer-friendly recipe.

Reheat: warm whole roasted cauliflower in the microwave for a few minutes. You can also reheat it in the air fryer at 350°F or 180°C for 8 to 10 minutes or in a preheated oven at 400°F or 200°C for 10-15 minutes. Alternatively, take it from the fridge 15 minutes before serving and have it at room temperature.

Whole roasted cauliflower with chermoula cut into half

More Cauliflower Recipes

Even More Recipes With Cauliflower

For even more cauliflower recipes, check out these 25 cauliflower recipe ideas.

whole roasted cauliflower cut in half with a green chermoula sauce

Whole Roasted Cauliflower

By: Nico Pallotta
5 from 5 votes
Whole roasted cauliflower is a gorgeous and delicious centerpiece meal or side dish recipe inspired by Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern cuisines.
It’s one of the best ways to enhance the flavor of the cauliflower as it gets browned and flavorful outside while maintaining a succulent, juicy inside.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 2 – 4 people
Course: Main Course, Meze, Side dish
Cuisine: Mediterranean

Ingredients

  • 1 whole cauliflower head medium or large size
  • tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Serves well with

Instructions 

  • Trim the leaves and bottom part of the stem of 1 whole cauliflower head, ensuring the florets don’t separate from the core.
    hands trimming of head of cauliflower with a pairing knife
  • Rinse, then boil the cauliflower for 10 minutes in a large pot with plenty of salted boiling water.
    whole head of cauliflower boiling in a white pot
  • In the meantime, preheat oven to 400°F or 200°C.
    Drain cauliflower and put it on a baking tray. Season with 1½ tablespoon extra virgin olive oil all over and ½ teaspoon salt to cover all sides.
    whole head of cauliflower drizzled with olive oil
  • Roast for 30 minutes at 400°F or 200°C until tender to the core and slightly charred outside.
    You can check tenderness by inserting a skewer into the center.
    baked whole cauliflower of yogurt tahini sauce

MAKE IT A MEAL

  • Spread the yogurt tahini sauce on a plate and arrange the cauliflower on top.
    Drizzle with chermoula sauce on top and between the crevices.
    Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds, cut it in half or quarters, and enjoy it with warm pita bread.
    Whole roasted cauliflower with chermoula, pita bread and fresh lemon

Notes

Nutrition information is an estimate for 1 serving of whole roasted cauliflower out of 2 servings, without sauces.
STORAGE & MAKE AHEAD
Make ahead: If you have dinner guests, you can roast the cauliflower a few hours before, undercook it slightly, then reheat it in the oven for 10 minutes before serving.
You can prep the sauces a day in advance and keep them in an airtight container in the fridge.
Refrigerator: keep the leftover cauliflower and the sauces in airtight containers for up to 3 days.
Freezer: whole roasted cauliflower is not a freezer-friendly recipe.
Reheat: warm whole roasted cauliflower in the microwave for a few minutes. You can also reheat it in the air fryer at 350°F or 180°C for 8 to 10 minutes or in a preheated oven at 400°F or 200°C for 10-15 minutes. Alternatively, take it from the fridge 15 minutes before serving and have it at room temperature.
ALSO ON THIS PAGE

Nutrition

Calories: 93kcal, Carbohydrates: 0.03g, Protein: 0.01g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 8g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Potassium: 2mg, Dietary Fiber: 0.01g, Sugar: 0.01g, Vitamin C: 0.2mg, Vitamin E: 2mg, Vitamin K: 6µg, Calcium: 1mg, Folate: 0.3µg, Iron: 0.1mg, Magnesium: 0.1mg
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Nico and Louise in the kitchen

Hi! We are Nico & Louise

Welcome to The Plant-Based School, a food blog with easy, tasty, and wholesome recipes.

Our aim is to help you and your family eat more veggies through delicious recipes with simple ingredients.

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