Since I’ve already cemented my place on this blog as a lover of unpopular vegetables, I figure now would be a good time to tell you of my love for cauliflower. I’m not really sure when it happened, but one day, probably 6 or 7 years ago, I just discovered that cauliflower is delicious! It’s surely no coincidence that this was about the time I realized that roasting vegetables made them a lot more delicious than steaming them within an inch of their lives… and roasted cauliflower is one of my very favorite side dishes. It’s quick, it’s easy, it’s healthy – you really can’t go wrong!
This dish also uses two of my favorite flavoring agents: balsamic vinegar and freshly grated parmesan cheese. I’ll bet even the most ardent of cauliflower haters would at least LIKE cauliflower prepared this way!
Balsamic and Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower
serves 2-4 as a side dish
1 head of cauliflower
1-2 T olive oil
2-3 T balsamic vinegar
1 t kosher salt
1/4 t garlic powder
freshly grated parmesan cheese
1.) Preheat your oven to 400°. Start by trimming and chopping your cauliflower. Cauliflower isn’t too tough, so any decently sharp chef’s knife should be able to cut the whole thing into quarters without too much trouble. Once you’ve cut it into quarters, cut off the leaves and stem at the bottom, and cut the core from the middle. Then, chop what’s left into bite-size pieces.
2.) Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil (no surprise: non-stick foil is helpful, here). Make a pile of chopped cauliflower on the sheet; pour your olive oil and balsamic over the top (start with 1 T and 2 T, respectively), and sprinkle with the salt and garlic powder. Use your hands to mix everything together thoroughly; if the cauliflower seems too dry, or it doesn’t feel like everything is well-coated, add a little more olive oil and balsamic.
3.) Roast for about 15-20 minutes, stirring once toward the end, until the edges of the cauliflower are a bit brown and crispy, and the balsamic vinegar has kind of caramelized and darkened on the bottom of the pieces.
4.) Immediately after removing the cauliflower from the oven, grate some fresh parmesan over the top (though I do love the powdered, pre-grated parmesan cheese in a lot of situations, this is not one of them – you really want the good stuff, here). Feel free to use as much or as little as you like. Serve immediately.
My husband and I can go through an entire head of cauliflower when it’s roasted like this, and we’ll practically fight over who gets the last piece. The cauliflower itself takes on a nice nutty flavor when it’s roasted, which is really nicely complemented by the salty, nutty bite of the parmesan. And, balsamic vinegar makes everything better, so it’s no surprise that it’s delicious on cauliflower!
I promise you’ll like it,