This simple, Whole Roasted Baby Cauliflower is perfectly charred on the outside and tender in the middle. Made with just four ingredients – salted water, extra-virgin olive oil, coarse sea salt—and cauliflower.
Whole Roasted Baby Cauliflower
If you’ve ever had the “World Famous” Roasted Baby Cauliflower from Miznon, in Chelsea Market you’ll thank me! So simple and delicious as a side, appetizer or vegetarian/vegan main dish.
I took a trip into NYC a few weeks ago with my friend Heather for recipe inspiration. One of our stops was Chelsea Market. We heard great things about Miznon, an Israeli restaurant and it didn’t disappoint. As we stood on line trying to figure out what to get, we saw this beautiful, whole roasted baby cauliflower come out. Knowing we’d be sampling lots of food we knew we wanted to try it (among other things!). It was perfectly tender, you didn’t even need a knife or fork to cut it. We just pulled it apart with our hands! They have tahini sauce and a spicy green salsa as condiments so we dipped the cauliflower in and enjoyed, although it’s perfect on it’s own.
We asked the chef how he prepared it, and he was most generous in sharing. Most roasted cauliflower recipes I’ve tried usually had the same issue, they’d be great on the outside, but slightly uncooked on the inside. By boiling it first in salted water, then brushing it with olive oil and sea salt after with a quick roast at a high temperature, the cauliflower comes out creamy, golden and delicious.
I made this for friends as an appetizer, and like they do at Miznon, put it into the middle of the table for everyone to share and break apart. Added some tahini (affil link) for dipping, everyone loved it! If you like it spicy, try it with this spicy green hot sauce.
If you want to serve this as a vegetarian main dish, serve it for two people with pita and tahini.
Boil this with plenty of water in a large pot and salt it, like you would salt pasta water.
More Cauliflower Recipes You Might Like:
- Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
- Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Chowder
- Skillet Taco Cauliflower Rice
- Cauliflower Rice Arancini Balls
- Dad’s Creamy Cauliflower Soup
Whole Roasted Baby Cauliflower
- 1 small head cauliflower with leaves
- 2 gallons water
- 1/4 cup course sea salt or kosher salt
- 1 tablespoons best-quality extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- serve with tahini, optional
- Preheat oven to 550°F with oven rack in center of oven. Trim stem of cauliflower, keeping leaves intact, so it will sit level on a sheet pan.
- Bring 2 gallons water to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Stir in salt until dissolved.
- Add the cauliflower, placing something over the cauliflower to keep it submerged.
- Boil until very tender, 12 to 13 minutes.
- Carefully lift the cauliflower from water and drain. Transfer to the sheet pan, stem side down.
- Use a brush and brush the cauliflower with olive oil all over. Sprinkle remaining sea salt and bake in preheated oven until browned, about 25 to 35 minutes.
- Broil 2 minutes. Serve hot.
56 comments on “Whole Roasted Baby Cauliflower”
Question: it says to add 1/4 cup of salt but then says to sprinkle with remaining salt. How much salt should we sprinkle with?
Made this tonight and it was delicious!!! Will definitely make it again. Thanks!
Made it. Loved it!!!!
This was great! I used a medium-sized cauliflower and boiled for 12 minutes. I think 10 would have been enough. I used a lid from a small saucepan to weigh it down while boiling. I baked with a Silpat underneath for 25 minutes and it was browned enough that I didn’t think broiling was necessary. I made the Zhug and used only half of the oil called for and that was plenty. I ate most of it along with a portion of your Swedish Meatballs that I had frozen in a seal-a-meal bag. I placed the frozen bag of 4 meatballs in the hot water while the cauliflower baked. They heated up perfectly. I’ll be making this again for sure. Thanks, Gina for always providing great, healthy recipes that are easy to follow.
So glad you enjoyed it!
I really love this recipe! I don’t consider myself a cauliflower lover, but now I am. I will never make cauliflower any differently than this recipe! Great as leftovers the next day too.
So good! I am glad I made two. Served it with a lemon tahini sauce.
Need sauce receipt
I wonder if you could cook Cauliflower in Instant Pot instead of boiling first? Has anyone tried that?
This was so good! What a fun concept. I did over boil mine so it was a little soft after baking, but I can’t wait to try it again. Will monitor more closely next time. Follow seasoning exactly. It really takes very little seasoning after the initial boiling. Did just as written. Can’t believe I just ate a whole head of cauliflower 😁
And thank you Gina!!! Your recipes are all we use.
Thanks Gina! 🙂
I made this the other day and was NOT impressed. I didn’t find boiling it added anything to it. It is one of the few vegetables I eat. It seemed like a lot more work than necessary. I would just roast it.
You can but it won’t turn out as tender.
i made this last night and i absolutely love it!
my one question is, what size/weight cauliflower would you say would be closest, to the nutritional value listed?
Had 1/2 head of cauli in fridge so tried this tonight. Interesting though not sure I would make again. I cooked in much less water (2 QT pot) and less salt (<2 TBSP?). It was soft-ish with browning on outer edges. If you are a crisp person you may not enjoy but it was interesting and different.
hmmm we have a newer kitchenaid oven /convection oven and it won’t go higher than 500 degrees. would you reccommend cooking longer?
That would be fine.
Can I airfry it?
I thought this was by far the best way to cook cauliflower! I have been trying different ways to cook cauliflower lately and using the cauliflower pizza crust . But this melted in my mouth like butter. I will be sharing it with my friends and family!!
I believe this is my first time ever posting a review, but, WOW! The roasted cauliflower was a simple, yet amazing dish. I dipped it yogurt ranch dressing and “ate with joy!”😋
Thanks for another winner, Gina!
Can you recommend another brand of tahini? The link says it’s unavailable, and they don’t know when it will be available.
Hint: Use a small ramekin to hold the stalk of the cauliflower when you roast it. It’ll prevent it from toppling over during cooking and make it more stable.
What is the sauce that is showed exactly?
Tahini, link is in the narrative.
elevate the cooking liquid by salting generously and adding spices and herbs (like bay leaves for example) and for a subtle but fancy twist, add white wine in the broth too… delicious!
Do you think this would work on standard sized cauliflowers? Having a hard time finding minis. Thank you!
Why do you boil this instead of steaming? I would be afraid of this being waterlogged
That’s how they do it. The salt is flavored throughout rather than just on top.
Have you tried this cauliflower dish in an air fryer?
No but it will def work!
Looks delicious, what can I put over it to keep it submerged in the water or would steaming it work? Thanks for your great recipes
Steaming works, it just want get salted throughout (like cooking pasta without salt)
I made this for dinner tonight! It was delicious and turned out perfectly! This will be on the menu often!
Hi. I tried to make this as described. I realized after about 10 minutes the cauliflower was getting pretty soft so I took it out. Roasted for a few and then went right to broil. It came out much too soft. I think would be easier to roast flowerets. Or maybe boil for a shorter time.
I usually love your recipes.
Did you do this with a whole cauliflower? Or florets? If I was cooking florets I wouldnt boil them first.
What do you use to keep it submerged??
a steamer rack on top, but honestly if you dont its fine
Hi Gina! Do you think this will work with regular sized cauliflower?
I see the 1/4 cup salt in the boiling pot- but then it says “sprinkle remaining sea salt” on boiled cauliflower. How much?
Just a pinch
Can this be done in the pressure cooker and air fryer?
Yes for sure! But I don’t know how much time as I didnt test it.
Are you really baking this for 35 to 40 minutes on 550°? Is that a typo?
550F 25 to 35 minutes, you want it to get browned and roasted so its a high temp.
Ok great! Thanks. I have it in the oven now. Yum!
Looks delicious! Will have to give this a try!