Baked cauliflower is incredibly versatile- and with this delicious sweet and sour sauce, you won’t even miss the meat!
Something amazing happens to cauliflower when you bake or roast it. The flavor deepens and sweetens and the texture becomes caramelized perfection. We bake cauliflower so often that we have discovered some tips:
- Baking your cauliflower at 425 degrees F is the perfect temperature to get a nice crispy outside while still having a tender inside.
- Use parchment paper to line your baking sheet for easy cleanup.
- Try to chop your cauliflower florets so they are a consistent size. This way they all bake evenly.
- After you rinse your cauliflower, make sure you dry the pieces well before baking. If you leave it wet, you will end up steaming the cauliflower and you won’t get that delicious caramelized crust.
- Leave space between the florets on your pan for the same reason as above. You don’t want to create moisture and steam your cauliflower.
How Do You Prepare Fresh Cauliflower?
Most people eat the florets, but the stem is really good in soups. For this recipe, we just use the florets. (Cheat note: sometimes Costco sells pre-chopped cauliflower florets in a bag – heaven!!)
The first step to preparing your cauliflower for baking is to remove the outer leaves and then slice the florets at the base where they meet the stalks. Trim any brown coloration that is on the edges. After you cut the florets off the head of the cauliflower, you can trim them down smaller into uniform pieces.
The next step is to rinse and dry the cauliflower. Rinse to remove any dirt or other particles on the cauliflower and then make sure you pat or let the cauliflower air dry until all of the moisture is gone.
The last step is the fun part – baking the cauliflower! Once you prepare your baking sheet, we like to toss the cauliflower in a little bit of oil. We just toss the florets in a ziploc bag with just a small amount of oil and shake it to coat all of the pieces.
Spread the florets out on the baking sheet making sure they aren’t touching each other. Then bake until they are golden brown. To finish them off, we turn the oven to broil and cook for just a few minutes to really crisp up the outside.
What is Better for You: Broccoli or Cauliflower?
Cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, and a few other veggies make up the cruciferous vegetable family. Cruciferous vegetables have it all: vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals that help fight disease. One of the biggest health benefits to these veggies according to lots of research is that they may help lower your risk of cancer. To learn more about why, read this article.
Back to broccoli vs. cauliflower. If you look at the individual nutrients, broccoli does win in that department. But we really believe in varying your diet – including your veggies. Cauliflower is still jam packed with nutrients and is a great choice to mix it up with your other cruciferous veggie choices.
The one downside to these veggies is that they can produce a strong odor. The best thing to do to prevent this is to no overcook them. The truth is that it is hard to avoid the smell – we just embrace it and face the reality that our house might smell every other night of the week!
More Cauliflower Recipes
If you love cauliflower, try one of these recipes: