My husband, Rod, loves cauliflower. He will steam or stir fry it and add this subtle tasting vegetable as a low-cal filler to many meals. And he is perfectly happy doing so. Until maybe now. He wasn’t prepared for the burst of flavor that comes from roasting it … oh, and adding garlic and parmesan cheese, of course.
Taking the first bite of this Roasted Garlic Parmesan Cauliflower is like biting into your favorite piece of warm, cheesy garlic bread without the carbs or calories. I’m not kidding. It is that satisfying. Roasting cauliflower makes a huge difference in its flavor profile, bringing out a deeper almost nutty flavor, elevating it from bland to fabulous. Add a healthy dose of garlic (who doesn’t love that) and a generous sprinkle of parmesan cheese and you have a side dish that could easily stand on its own.
Oh, and did you know it came in colors? Who knew cauliflower could be this delicious or fun!
White cauliflower is common and typically the cauliflower found in recipes, steaming bags and raw on salads. But, when visiting my local grocery store I couldn’t resist the array of color options available. Purples, oranges and green … who could resist such a fun, eclectic burst of color for a side dish? Not me, that’s who!
With a head of traditional white cauliflower in one hand, I quickly grabbed a head of ‘far more interesting’ purple cauliflower with the other hand and added them both to my basket. Then, my inner designer took over and I grabbed the vibrant orange cauliflower to add a pop of excitement to the dish.
A literal trio of fun on a plate!
But, would it taste the same?
To be honest, I couldn’t tell the difference between the three colors in taste. This Roasted Garlic Parmesan Cauliflower dish had the same ‘oh my goodness, this is garlicky delicious’ taste using a trio of white, purple and orange cauliflower that it does when I just use white cauliflower. If there is a difference in taste, it’s subtle.
And, why does cauliflower come in these colors?
- Purple cauliflower is vibrant and gets its color from anthocyanin, the same group of antioxidants that paints skins of eggplants, black plums, dark grapes, cranberries and red cabbage (to name a few) in hues of reddish-purple.
- Orange cauliflower gets its cheddar-cheese color from an increased amount of beta carotene stored in its florets, making this variety a rich source of Vitamin A.
Roasted Garlic Parmesan Cauliflower
For this recipe, I used three different types/colors of cauliflower (white, purple and orange), but you could go with just one type or even two.
Don’t be afraid of the cauliflower’s firm, armor-like appearance. They really are quite easy to break apart. Simply turn your cauliflower over, cut the large stem and begin peeling apart the branches holding the florets.
Break each head into florets and place 1/3 head each of white, purple and orange cauliflower into a large bowl. (If using just one type of cauliflower, place the whole head of florets into the bowl.) Set aside.
Mince two cloves of garlic, set aside. Pour olive oil into a small bowl and add garlic, basil and lemon juice. Whisk until blended well and pour over the cauliflower florets. Using two large spoons (or your hands) toss the florets with the dressing until coated.
Spread the cauliflower on a foil-lined baking sheet and place into a 400 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes, tossing them midway through.
The cauliflower are done when golden brown and softened. Take them out of the oven and sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese. Be prepared, the delicious cheesy, garlic aroma will quickly fill your kitchen alerting everyone to the dinner table.
This Roasted Garlic Parmesan Cauliflower tastes just as gratifying using only white cauliflower as it does using a trio of white, purple and orange. But, adding a little color to the dinner plate always brings about more fun.
- ⅓ head each of white cauliflower, purple cauliflower and orange cauliflower (or 1 whole head of cauliflower)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon lime juice (or lemon juice)
- 1 tablespoon basil
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- Break apart cauliflower into florets and place into large bowl.
- In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, minced garlic, lime juice and basil. Pour on top of cauliflower and mix well using two large spoons or your hands.
- Spread on top of foil-lined baking sheet and place into 400 degree oven for 20-23 minutes, tossing them midway through cooking. The cauliflower is done when softened and browned.
- Remove from oven and sprinkle grated parmesan cheese on top. Serve.