This crispy roasted cauliflower is roasted with cumin, cinnamon, and cayenne to give it loads of flavor. It's an easy and healthy side dish to make anytime.
Cauliflower has been very popular over the past couple of years. Many people use it to make low carb versions of pizza crust, rice, and tots. I however, make none of these things but still love cauliflower anyway. I love to use it in soups, in curries, and on it's own, as Crispy Roasted Cauliflower.
The idea to make this dish came to me many years ago after dining at a popular Lebanese restaurant in Vancouver - Nuba. My cousin had been there many times and insisted that we try the restaurant's signature dish. Najib's Special: "Crispy cauliflower tossed with lemon and sea salt, served with tahini". Really? Their signature dish is cauliflower?
But it's a good thing we got two orders because it all disappeared very quickly. It really was THAT GOOD. I knew I really wanted to try to recreate it at home, since a dish in a restaurant in Vancouver is not exactly readily accessible to me.
I'm not sure, but I suspect that the degree of crispiness at Nuba came courtesy of deep frying. And while I have no problem eating the occasional deep-fried food in a restaurant, I don't like to do it at home (so messy!). So I turned to roasting, with the addition of a generous amount of olive oil.
I didn't get the same super crispy results that I experienced at Nuba, but the olive oil and high oven temperature did help to get the edges of the cauliflower nice and crunchy.
And seasoning the cauliflower with cumin, cinnamon, and cayenne with a toss of lemon juice after cooking gave the dish the Lebanese flavors I remembered from the restaurant.
How to make Crispy Roasted Cauliflower:
The ingredient list to make this cauliflower is pretty short:
- Cauliflower - I find that to make your cauliflower as crispy as possible, it's best to use a whole cauliflower and cut/break it into florets yourself. I have tried using pre-cut bagged cauliflower for this recipe several times, and it always turns out much soggier than when I use whole cauliflower.
- Olive oil
- Kosher Salt, or use MSG-Salt
- Black pepper
- Ground Cumin
- Cayenne - just a pinch or use more if you want it spicy, or skip it altogether if you want it really mild.
- Lemon Juice - This is sprinkled on the cauliflower after it's cooked. Either fresh or bottled lemon juice will work.
The spices are common ones that you probably already have in your pantry. You simply toss everything together, spread it on a pan, and roast in the oven. The edges get brown and crispy while the interior is soft with a light sweetness.
I make this cauliflower very often at my house, and my husband and I are always surprised by how quickly the two of us can polish off an entire head of cauliflower. So if you're making this dish for a group, you might want to double the recipe!
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Crispy Roasted Cauliflower Nutrition Info
Most of the calories in this dish come from the generous amount of olive oil in the recipe. The olive oil is necessary to help crisp up the cauliflower, so don't try to cut back. Keep in mind that you're getting lots of healthy unsaturated fats from this dish.
Crispy Roasted Cauliflower
- Heat oven to 400°F.
- Toss cauliflower florets with olive oil in a large bowl. Sprinkle salt, cumin, cinnamon and cayenne over cauliflower and toss to distribute spices evenly. Spread cauliflower on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake, stirring every 10 minutes until cauliflower is well browned, about 30 minutes total.
- Sprinkle lemon juice over cooked cauliflower, toss gently and serve.
Nutrition Disclaimer: I try my best to make sure the nutrition information I provide is accurate to provide you with the best information possible. However, due to ingredient discrepancies and other factors, the above nutrition information should be considered an estimation only.