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Roasted Whole Cauliflower With Cilantro Chutney (Vegan Option)

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Looking  for  an  impressive vegetarian  recipe  for  your   next  dinner  party ?   Try  this –  Roasted  Whole Cauliflower  With Cilantro Sauce, you wont  believe  how  easy it is  until you try !    The   cauliflower  covered in a tandoori inspired  marinade and  roasted in  a hot oven.  Once  cooked it is  fork tender all the  way through   with a  nice  crust  on top.  As  it  cooks  the  flavors  infuse  the florets so not only does  it  look  pretty  but  tastes  delicious as well.   The  fresh flavors of  the  cilantro  chutney   adds a nice  contrast .  Delish !

Roasted Cauliflower


Few years  back I was  chatting with    a  friend  about  vegetarian  thanksgiving  menu.   We  both agreed  that  the whole  head of roasted  cauliflower  looked  very pretty , but  were  not  excited about  the   flavors.   Once  you   cut  into the   cauliflower   the  insides  look  bland  and  not  exciting.  It is  fine  if  you  are a  fan  of  steamed  cauliflower,  but  out  here  we  like  things a  little   more  flavorful.

I definitely wanted to spice  it  up a  bit,  but –   and  that is a  big BUT –    still  wanted  to do it  in  a  short  time.    The  first  thing  that  came  to mind  was  a  sauce – this  dish needs a sauce.   The  cilantro chutney  picks  up on the   flavors  used  in marinade  and  creates a  beautiful contrast  of  flavors  and   colors.  Just a  dab  of  it   and  you go  from  ‘blah’ to ‘yeah’ !

Roasted Cauliflower


Did I say that   this  was  an  easy dish to make  ?  Well it  is –  all you do is  mix the  marinade ,  rub  all over the  cauliflower  and  roast .  No waiting ,  no stirring , no lengthy prep.  And for  the  chutney,  just  pulse  all the  ingredients together in the blender!  If  you are pressed  for  time, you are  going  to love  this – both  the  chutney and  the  marinade  can be  made a  day in advance. Do not  marinate the  cauliflower  for  long  periods  though.  The  moisture  and  acidity  tends  to  break down the  florets.

The  marinade used   here is  inspired by the tandoori flavors-   yogurt , paprika , garlic , salt, cumin, oil  and  lemon juice.    Jut  rub it  well all around making  sure  that  it  gets  into all the the  nooks  and  crannies of the  cauliflower.  When you  cut  into this  you want to  see  the beautiful paprika  slowly seeping  into the  core.   A  pastry brush  is helpful here.  It  gently coxes  the  marinade  into the   tiny  gaps  without  breaking off  the  florets.
Roasted Cauliflower

Obviously we do not want the steamed cauliflower – so it is important that the it gets roasted in a fairly hot oven 400°F or  425°F should suffice.  You don’t need any fancy equipment either. Just roast it in a pan that will catch the juices – in other  words  don’t  use a  cookie  sheet.   Here I have  used a  porcelain casserole, but  you can use any oven  safe, non reactive cookware ( the marinade is acidic).  A skillet,  cake pan, clay baker ,  dutch oven  or  anything  that   is  big  enough to hold  the   cauliflower  will get the  job done.
Making Roasted Cauliflower

The other thing to remember is to trim the stem so that the cauliflower stays  in the pan firmly. Remove  the  leaves  and trim the  stem. Do not remove the stem to the  core as   we  want  to keep the  head intact.

Mix  all the  ingredients   for  the  marinade.  Turn the  cauliflower  upside  down and  brush the  marinade.  Let  it  sit  for 1  minute.    Lightly coat  the  roasting pan with oil   and place the  cauliflower right side up in the  pan. Slowly pour the  marinade  on top. Use a  pastry brush to get  the  marinade  into  all  the  nooks  and  crannies. We are looking for a nice thick coating , so don’t be  afraid  to  slather it on.

Place  the  lid on or  cover  with  aluminium   foil.   Now it is  ready for the  oven.  Place the oven rack a little below the center and transfer the cauliflower to the pre-heated oven. Cook covered for  about  30 minutes. By this  time  the  cauliflower  would  have  given off  some juices.  30 minutes should suffice for a medium head of cauliflower, for larger ones add an extra 10 minutes. All that is  left  now  is  to brown the tops a little. If you have the broil option broil for about 10 minutes, keeping an eye on it after the 5 minute mark. Or turn the oven temperature to the maximum and bake for another 10 minutes. I burnt  the tops a  little – but  you can   do   better.

Take  it  out  of  the  oven  let  it  rest for   few  minutes.  Transfer to the  serving  plate.  If there are pan juices drain  and  strain it. Taste and adjust seasoning (a dash of lemon or salt) and drizzle over the cauliflower while serving. Or  you  can do what  I did I did  here,  brighten  up the  flavors  with the  cilantro chutney.  I prefer  the  cilantro chutney  as  it  is  a  nice contrast of  flavors and colors.

Before I forget, if you  want a  vegan  version  substitute  equal amounts of vegan  yogurt, coconut cream   or  almond  milk for yogurt in the  marinade.

Roasted Cauliflower

Roasted Whole Cauliflower With Cilantro Chutney

By Syama
This is an impressive  looking  vegetarian  dish  that is  easy to make.   Whole  head of  cauliflower is  coated with  a  flavorful marinade  and  roasted in  high  heat. 
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Main Course
Cuisine Fusion


  • 1 Cauliflower Medium
  • 1/4 C Yogurt
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 1/2 Tsp Cumin
  • 1 Tsp Paprika
  • 1 Tsp Garlic Grated
  • 2 Tbsp Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice

Cilantro Sauce

  • 1 Bunch Cilantro
  • 1/2 C Extra Virgin Olive oil
  • Salt To taste
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 Green Chili Chopped , To Taste
  • 1 Clove Garlic


  • Pre-heat the oven to 400° F.
  • Mix all the ingredients for the marinate well. Taste , it should be a little salty, and adjust spices if needed.
  • Remove the leaves  of  the  cauliflower and trim the stem in level with the florets. Wash and pat dry.
  • Invert the flower and brush the marinate on the bottom. Let it rest for a minute. lightly coat the baking dish with oil and place the cauliflower in it. Slowly pour the marinade on top. Use a pastry brush to push the marinade int the crevices.
  • Tightly cover the dish with a lid or foil and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Uncover and broil for 10 minutes or till the tops brown lightly.
  • Remove from the oven and let rest for a few minutes. Transfer to a serving plate.

Make cilantro sauce

  • Remove the thick stems from the cilantro and reserve the leaves. Squeeze the lemon and set aside about 2 Tbsp of juice. Add cilantro , olive oil , garlic and green chili to a food processor or blender and process till smooth. Add salt and half the lemon juice. Pulse once and adjust salt and lemon juice per taste.


  • Slice the cauliflower and serve drizzled with the cilantro sauce.


  • If you don't like cilantro substitute green onions (scallions), mint or parsley .
  • For vegan  version  substitute   1/4 C yogurt with  2 Tbsp coconut  cream and 1 Tsp lemon  juice. Thin the  marinade   with 1  to 2  Tbsp of  water, as  needed.
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Try  these  other  vegetarian / vegan   recipes


Roasted Whole Cauliflower With Cilantro Chutney - A perfect vegetarian option for the holiday table



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