Roasted Cauliflower

I’ve remarked on this blog how cauliflower and broccoli were vegetables I struggled with, due to their mistreatment by the cooks at the boarding school I ate in for four years. It was often a case of “Please sir, don’t give us any more” when it came to the sodden mush formerly known as vegetables served up every night.

(It should be noted that we had lots of lovely food in the school, too. Some mornings we had warm croissants and honey, and about four times a year we got strawberries and cream for dessert. There was a pretty much constant supply of Coco Pops and lots of relatively fresh salads on Wednesdays. So, we did quite well, really. It was just the vegetables that seemed to suffer the most.)

If I’ve made one food discovery this year that I will take forward with me throughout the rest of my cooking days, it is that roasting is more often than not the best way to cook vegetables. The roasted broccoli pasta dish is now a firm favourite in this house.

More recently, I discovered a stunning recipe for roasted cauliflower on one of my fave food blogs, Smitten Kitchen. I’ve made it a number of time since, but, in an unintentional bout of selfishness, have neglected to share it with you until now. This is such a simple yet outstandingly satisfying dinner, that you I must simply insist you to try it for yourself!

The recipe makes a good sized lunch or dinner for one. I would imagine this would work just as well doubled. It also makes for a gorgeously unusual side dish.

The first time I made this, I stuffed it into to a steak sambo and it was fecking amazing. I stuffed the bun with rare steak and used the cauliflower as a topping, getting a good dollop of harissa yoghurt in there too.

I’d be inclined to pair it with roast chicken or beef, but I can’t see why it wouldn’t go with most roast meats.

What you need for Roast Cauliflower for 1 to 2 people as a main

1 head of cauliflower (get a good big one so you can feed two!)

Olive Oil

1 teaspoon of whole cumin seeds

1 teaspoon of salt

1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper

50 to 100g of feta cheese, crumbled (you can decide how much you want)

A few sprigs of fresh mint leaves

1 pomegranate

Greek-style natural yoghurt (use Glenisk’s if you can, it’s the best)

1/2 teaspoon of harissa paste

Start by pre-heating the oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas mark 7.

Chop the cauliflower into bite-size florets and give it a good wash. Put onto a baking tray or into a roasting dish and drizzle with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle the cumin seeds, salt and pepper evenly over the cauliflower florets. Roast them for 20 to 30 minutes, until the cauliflower is tender and starting to crispen up.

Meanwhile, crumble your feta and chop your fresh mint leaves. Half your pomegranate and remove the lovely seeds. Set the seeds aside for serving.

Transfer the cauliflower into a serving bowl. Sprinkle with the crumbled feta, remembering that you can decide how much or how little you want – some people find feta over-powering so you don’t want to distract attention from the lovely cauliflower. As you may notice from the photos, I completely forgot to add it when I made it that particular time. It’s optional but it does add another dimension to the dish, so give it a go.

Top with a sprinkling of those gorgeous pomegranate seeds and some freshly chopped mint.

Finally, mix 3 tablespoons of lovely greek yoghurt with the harissa paste. Dollop the cauliflower with the spicy yoghurt and serve hot.


As you’ve read your way through that recipe, no doubt you’ve remarked on my beautiful new plates. These were a thoroughly thoughtful for-no-reason gift from my pal Alan, who write the Bitzl R music blog. Here’s one of his favourite music videos of late, which is the track Hey Sparrow from California husband and wife duo Peaking Lights.

Categories: Dinner, Lunch Tags:


  1. I adore cauliflower and I adore roasted cauliflower even more, so this is a great new recipe for me to have a bash at ;-)

  2. Oh, now this is interesting. I quite like broccoli the “traditional way”, so I couldn’t believe how damn tasty it was when roasted.

    But roasted cauliflower, you say? I am definitely open to this idea! :)

    • I know! It’s awesome, right? I just can’t believe it’s taken me so long to come around to the idea of roasting these beauties. Definitely give this recipe a go, it won’t disappoint!

  3. Hi Aoife,
    do you use any harissa paste in particular? Is a jar off the shelf in tesco as good as it gets or is there some amazing one I should be sourcing?

    • Hi SJ, I haven’t tried the Tesco one but I’m sure it’s really good. The one thing Tesco does well is spices! I use a brand called Le Phare Du Cap Bon which comes in a handy tube, like tomato purée, rather than a little tin. I got it in Fallon & Byrne but you can also get it in the amazing Asian Market on Drury Street. And it’s like half the price of F&B of course!

      • Asia Market really is one of the best shops in Dublin, the range of stuff in there is amazing; it’s much better than the Oriental Emporium on Jervis Street.

  4. Hi Aoife, I have been following your blog for a while and love your recipes and tunes and your lovely new plate. Funny all I have in my need to go shopping empty fridge today is some cauliflower, feta and believe it or not some mint I bought with great intentions of making some kind of tea. I have no choice but to try this today, after I attempt to find harissa paste in a blink-or-you-miss-it American town, it looks delicious.

  5. Hi there! Thanks for your lovely comment! What a happy coincidence that you have the makings of this dinner in your fridge. And don’t worry at all if you can’t find the harissa, it’s just an extra addition and the dish will be lovely without. But don’t forget the cumin seeds! That’s the real secret to its yumminess :)

  6. Hi again Malachy – I love all of David’s recipes! I meant to try that one of the blog, definitely doing that with the next head of cauliflower that comes my way.

    And Stef, you’re definitely right about the Asian Market on Drury Street, it’s amazing. The best one in town, for sure.

  7. Pingback: How To Eat A Pomegranate | How to eat a pomegranate

  8. There’s the pro-cauliflower and anti-cauliflower lobbies in our house. Those of us in the pro- lobby know how to wait patiently until the others are out for dinner. Then we strike. This fabulous recipe will be our first weapon next time they’re dining elsewhere. Can’t wait!!!

  9. Making this tonight! I strangely had every ingredient on hand except the cauliflower, which I just bought.
    If it is accompanied by Peaking Lights tracks and Harissa-yogurt I know I can’t go wrong!

    • Good! I hope you enjoy it, although I am pretty sure you will. It’s such a clever way to exoticise (I so want that to be a word) cauliflower. Hope you enjoy it – and the Peaking Lights track! :)

      • Loved it—Stuart did too! I used this mixture of coconut butter and ghee that I have instead of olive oil and it was tasty. Otherwise stuck to the recipe. Also great cold the next day.

  10. Hi Lucy! Delighted you guys liked it. I was pretty sure you would – it’s a super yummy recipe. Might make it myself tonight! :)

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