Tasty comfort food doesn't always call for carb-heavy, health-averse ingredients. In fact, sometimes the best comfort foods come in the form of veggies. Enter roasted cauliflower. Slightly crispy in texture and endlessly versatile, the best roasted cauliflower recipes (try cauliflower rice, too) will leave you feeling fully satisfied every time. And this produce offers perks that extend far beyond its ability to hit the spot. Aside from being grain-free and low-cal, one cup of cauliflower alone has 73 percent daily value of vitamin C, 11 percent DV of fiber, and 9 percent DV of omega-3 fatty acids, among other important vitamins and minerals.
So to reap the benefits that this foodie-favorite and picky kid-friendly cruciferous vegetable has to offer, we rounded up 18 of the best roasted cauliflower recipes. Allow these yummy and nutritious recipes to guide the way to an impressive side dish, indulgent appetizer, wholesome main course, or even a quick and easy lunch.
Buffalo Cauliflower Bites
Introducing your new favorite appetizer, side dish, and game-day snack: buffalo roasted cauliflower from Salt and Wind. The recipe only requires about 10 minutes of your hands-on time, plus 20 minutes to roast the bites in the oven. Just add your favorite beer and turn on ESPN.
Pro Tip: Counter the bites' spicy-sweet sauce and earthy char by dunking them into a smooth and creamy blue cheese dip.
Garlic Cauliflower Pasta
Whether you're trying to cut back on meat, you need to use all your extra cauliflower before it goes bad, or you're simply craving something filling and delicious, this garlic cauliflower pasta recipe won't let you down. Originally published by America's Test Kitchen and adapted by The First Mess, the recipe is great for busy weeknights or make-ahead weekday lunches, and it also happens to be gluten-free and vegan.
Pro Tip: While the photos show the pasta made with arugula and walnuts, feel free to swap them out for broccoli and almonds.
Shawarma Cauliflower Steak
Who says that cauliflower is only good enough to be a side dish? This shawarma roasted cauliflower steak recipe from Minimalist Baker will convince you to put it under the main spotlight. It's smoky, crispy, tender, and citrus-y all at once.
Pro Tip: To make these steaks even more satisfying, serve them alongside a protein-rich grain or legume, like quinoa or chickpeas.
Sweet and Sticky Cauliflower Florets
Brought to us by Playful Cooking, this recipe is a serious crowd pleaser. The crispy cauliflower florets are doused with a sticky-sweet sauce for a unique yet palatable dish. Put it over a bed of grains, or enjoy it as a side dish alongside your protein main.
Pro Tip: Serve this dish immediately after cooking. Otherwise, the florets soak up the sauce and lose their crispiness.
Southwestern Cauliflower Flatbread
Give your Southwestern cauliflower a heartier base with this roasted buffalo cauliflower flatbread recipe from How Sweet Eats. It's the ideal shared plate for a cocktail party or family-style meal.
Pro Tip: The flatbreads are just as delicious the next day—just remember to wait to sprinkle them with the cilantro, chives, and green onions after they've been reheated.
Kung Pao Cauliflower
For all the flavor of Kung Pao chicken minus the poultry, try this recipe from Pickled Plum. It's super smoky and flavorful, but it's a lot lower in fat and calories thanks to the cauliflower base. Vegetarians and meat-eaters alike will come back for seconds.
Pro Tip: If spicy food isn't your thing, omit the Thai chili from the recipe.
Roasted Cauliflower Soup
Prefer your cauliflower in liquid form? Try this immune-boosting adaptogenic roasted cauliflower soup from Wu Haus. Aside from being sinfully delicious and unexpectedly healthy, it's also highly photogenic. Just sprinkle on some black sesame seeds, purple radishes, shallots, and turmeric for a similar visual effect.
Pro Tip: Be sure to roast the cauliflower until it's golden brown; the char is what gives this soup its toasty flavor.
Cauliflower Halloumi Tacos
These halloumi and roasted cauliflower tacos are a vegetarian dream dish. Brought to us by Half Baked Harvest, this delicious recipe is worth a save for special occasions, whether that means entertaining guests or whipping up something comforting after a long day.
Pro Tip: The recipe calls for pan-fried halloumi, but don't fret about making a mess of your pan: This semi-hard cheese has a high melting point.
Popcorn Cauliflower With Blue Cheese
Spicy, cheesy, crispy… What else could we ask for in a veggie-based dish? This recipe for roasted cauliflower bites from Half Baked Harvest is simply delicious. Even better, the chef blogger includes a recipe for homemade tahini ranch, making all your dipping dreams come true in one bite.
Pro Tip: In the unlikely event that you have some bites left over, toss them into a salad or a bowl of pasta the following day.
Creamy Cavatappi Pasta With Cauliflower Sauce
This recipe from A Couple Cooks leads the way to a creamy pasta dish that's (surprise!) actually on the lighter side. That's thanks to its reliance on cauliflower and veggie broth, both of which stand in for the cream and butter of typical Alfredo sauces. The cavatappi pasta's corkscrew-like curves capture the gooey cauliflower sauce, delivering toothy texture and creaminess in every bite.
Pro Tip: A Couple Cooks also offers a vegan Alfredo sauce. While cauliflower still has a starring role in the sauce, the recipe calls for cashews instead of cheese.
Coconut Cauliflower Curry
Chickpeas, coconut milk, sweet potatoes, and, of course, cauliflower combine to make this warmly spiced vegan curry from A Couple Cooks. Not only is the curry comforting and full of nutrient-packed veggies, it's easy to make, requiring only 10 minutes of prep time and 25 minutes of cook time. Scoop the curry atop a bed of rice, or pair it with naan and a dollop of cooling plain Greek yogurt.
Pro Tip: Reach for full-fat coconut milk when making this recipe; lighter versions won't deliver the same level of lick-your-bowl-clean richness.
Vegan Breakfast Sausage Tartines With Scrambled Cauliflower
Sandwiched between tempeh-based sausage and a crusty slice of seeded bread, mashed cauliflower masquerades as scrambled eggs in this recipe by Feed Me Phoebe. The cauliflower gets its yellow tinge from turmeric, while the vegan sausage receives its depth of flavor from sage, smoked paprika, and maple syrup.
Pro Tip: After boiling the cauliflower in salted water, be sure to drain it well—excess liquid will make the "eggs" watery.
Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice
A low-carb alternative to traditional rice, this cauliflower "rice" from Food Faith Fitness is given a Mexican twist via lime juice and chopped cilantro. Use the rice as the foundation for a burrito bowl, or plate the rice next to a lean protein, like grilled shrimp or chicken.
Pro Tip: To rice the cauliflower, use a box grater or enlist the grater attachment of a food processor.
Skillet Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
While some recipes use cauliflower in place of carbs, that's not the case with FoodieCrush's recipe for cauliflower mac and cheese. Here, caramelized cauliflower florets take a good thing—extra cheesy baked mac and cheese—and makes it even better. The casserole is crowned with garlicky breadcrumbs for a delightful contrast in flavors and textures.
Pro Tip: Resist the urge to use pre-shredded cheese for this recipe. To prevent clumping, packaged shredded cheese is often coated with cornstarch, and the cornstarch can cause the cheese sauce to become grainy.
Mashed Cauliflower With Parmesan and Chives
Presented by FoodieCrush, this recipe for mashed cauliflower has the same look (and silky mouthfeel) as mashed potatoes, but with way fewer carbs and calories. Only a handful of ingredients (cauliflower, chicken broth, parmesan cheese, fresh chives, and salt and pepper) are needed to create a creamy puree worthy of a spot at the holiday table.
Pro Tip: To make this recipe suitable for vegetarians, simply substitute veggie broth for the chicken broth.
Garlicky Roasted Cauliflower Cheddar Dip Recipe
An essential dish for game days or movie nights, Hello Glow's recipe for garlicky roasted cauliflower cheddar dip is a creamy, decadent combination of roasted cauliflower, shredded cheddar, garlic, jalapenos, and plain yogurt. The dip is best served warm with some pita chips or, for a (relatively) guilt-free snack experience while parked in front of the TV, crudités-style veggies.
Pro Tip: You can use fat-free yogurt in the recipe, but the finished product won't be as rich and creamy as it would be if you used a full-fat version.
Toasted Cauliflower and Brie Baked Rosemary Risotto
This recipe for toasted cauliflower and brie baked rosemary risotto by How Sweet Eats side-steps the tedious stirring of stovetop risotto and leaves the heavy lifting to the oven. Garlic, onions, cauliflower, and uncooked rice are sautéed together until golden-brown, then joined by stock and wine in the same pot. After 40 minutes in the oven, parmesan and brie are added into the mix, then crowned with a sprinkling of fresh rosemary.
Pro Tip: By adding one cup of hot water to the risotto right after baking, the dish takes on the creaminess of traditional stovetop risotto.
Cauliflower Pizza Crust
As if you need a reason to reach for a second slice of pizza, The Modern Proper's recipe for cauliflower pizza crust is low in carbs, gluten free, and surprisingly easy to make. Cream cheese and an egg help bind the cauliflower together, while onion powder and oregano impart some Italian flavors to the crust.
Pro Tip: If you're short on time, you can swap pre-packaged frozen cauliflower rice instead of making it yourself.