Cauliflower...it's not just for dipping anymore! Put aside that ranch dip! You've gotta try this! I could make a meal on roasted cauliflower, and when I made this dish for the first time, it was immediately added to my non-meat list!
Leftovers? Even better! This recipe caught my eye when I saw that the cauliflower stays whole and intact, which means it stays tender and not mushy. We all know how cutting raw fresh cauli-florets (that's a word now!) can be a bit risky with a sharp knife. When roasted whole and tender, the serving is easier and the smaller pieces won't dry out.
Plus you'll want the flavors of the herbs and spices to meld while roasting. It is so worth it! With the thyme, garlic and paprika muddled together, you might need to resist the temptation of eating it by the spoonful!
Believe me, it was tough, but I held back!
The aromas of the sauce....oh boy! Just wait! Hot from the oven with the tomatoes and fresh lemon flavor, just the colors alone, this can be an impressive main course. Alongside steak or fish, this is a delicious side.
Tell your family that cauliflower is on the menu! It will be a cauliflower dish they'll finally be excited about!
Whole Roasted Cauliflower
- 4 cloves of garlic,, peeled
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ bunch fresh thyme
- olive oil
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced, (kept in separate dishes)
- 1 large cauliflower,, (with outer leaves left on)
- 4 Tablespoons dry sherry
- 1 14-ounce can petite diced tomatoes
- 1/3 cup raw almonds
- ½ bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley
- extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
- Using a mortar and pestle, combine the garlic, half of the thyme, and the paprika until it is a paste-like consistency. If you do not have a mortar and pestle, add the ingredients to a small bowl and use the back of a spoon to break-up and combine the ingredients. How good does it smell at this point?!
- Add 2 Tablespoons of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Muddle.
- Remove the thick outer leaves and stem/stalk of the cauliflower, making sure the cauliflower can sit flat.
- With a sharp knife, cut an “X” into the thick base.
- Rub the paprika paste all over the cauliflower, coating it completely. Place it in a medium casserole pan (preferably cast iron or ceramic).
- Drizzle the sherry and lemon juice on top. Cover and roast for about 1 hour 20 minutes, (you’ll want to remove the lid for the last 20 minutes). Before removing the lid for the last 20 minutes, be sure that when a knife is inserted into the thickest stem part comes in and out easily.
- Remove the pan from the oven and pour the diced tomatoes on top.
- Sprinkle the lemon zest on top.
- Strip the thyme leaves from the stems and sprinkle over the top.
- Place the pan back into oven for an additional 10 minutes, or until the cauliflower becomes golden brown.
- Meanwhile, chop the almonds and place in a small oven proof pan.
- Place in the oven for the last few minutes with the roasting cauliflower, until toasted (I love almonds, so extra tasty is the way I like to go!). Let cool.
- Once cauliflower and almonds are ready, remove from the oven.
- Scatter the toasted almonds and chopped or torn parsley leaves over the top.
- Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil over it all.