Garlicky Roasted Cauliflower Vegan Recipe

spicy garlic roasted cauliflower
Cauliflower is enjoying a big trend among dieters and health-conscious eaters. That’s because the vegetable has almost no calories and almost no starch. And it has so many phytochemicals – biologically active plant compounds – that listing them all here would make you think you’re reading a leaflet from a multi-vitamin box.

Cauliflower is such a healthy vegetable because of its high levels of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. Its high vitamin and mineral levels, especially vitamins K and C, are part of cauliflower’s health package that help fight off cancer, heart disease, diabetes, brain disorders, and other ailments. Anything that reduces or helps prevent inflammation is good, especially as we grow older.  And the fiber content certainly improves digestion. For another cauliflower recipe, one that includes broccoli, go here.

All very nice, but what about flavor?

I personally enjoy cauliflower steamed and served with a dribble of lemon butter, but when company comes over, I want to dress it up. Its characteristic flavor makes a good base for all kinds of seasonings. But if you’re tempted to cook cauliflower in a rich, cheesy sauce, remember that all that fatty goodness will undo most of the vegetable’s health benefits.

Here’s a healthier alternative, where cauliflower is seasoned and oven-roasted. It’s easy to make, and if you enjoy pungent garlic, you’ll like this recipe.

Garlicky Roasted Cauliflower
Serves 4
1 large head of cauliflower
A few of the smaller, tender leaves, cut up in pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, chopped coarsely
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon paprika – sweet or smoked
1/2 teaspoon chili powder

Feel free to increase any of the dry seasonings by 1/4-1/2 teaspoon, if you love extra spiciness.

Preheat the oven to 450°F – 220°.

Slice the cauliflower in half from the top down. Slice the halves into quarters, again from the top down.

Lay the quarters on their sides and slice off the core and remaining stalk in one long piece. Discard these tough pieces, or save them to flavor soup.

Separate the florets with your fingers.

Place the florets and leaves on a baking tray lined with parchment.

Toss the florets and leaves with the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and dry seasonings until all are well coated.

Roast the cauliflower and leaves for 10 minutes, then move them around with a spatula or wooden spoon to ensure that they roast evenly. Resume cooking the florets until they’re golden and tender about 20 minutes altogether.

The leaves will be crunchy.

For even more nutrition, and to add Middle-Eastern flair, serve with tahini or yogurt.

 Photo by Sierravalleygirl via Flickr.
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