Smoky Roasted Cauliflower

Okay, it’s official– I’m hooked on smoked paprika. Thanks to my friend Erika’s genius recipe for Smoked Paprika Chicken, I’m finding all kinds of creative ways to use the spice. One night back in November, I had some cauliflower in the fridge. I mulled it over, trying to think of a healthy but creative way to cook it. I like roasting vegetables because it brings out their natural flavors, but I wanted to try something a little bit different.

Voila! My Smoky Roasted Cauliflower was born. Super easy, so tasty. The combination of roasted cauliflower, olive oil, smoked paprika and salt is pure magic. The cauliflower roasts up smoky, and it has a creamy, almost buttery quality to it. Awesome. If you’re not a huge fan of cauliflower, give this one a go– I’ve always found it a somewhat boring vegetable, but not anymore.

I served this at my Thanksgiving feast and it was a huge hit. I wasn’t sure if people would go for it with all of the rich and yummy holiday items on the buffet, but believe it or not, the cauliflower disappeared before anything else did!

Did I mention that it’s healthy, gluten free, dairy free, vegan, pareve, and takes only minutes to prepare? :)

Note: Since originally posting this recipe I have modified the method to eliminate the initial steam, which simplifies the process. I’ve found that roasting at a higher temperature cooks the cauliflower just as fast, and produces even more delicious results. I’ve also decreased the amount of oil used. I’m always working to make my recipes better, and these simple changes take the recipe from good to fantastic. Enjoy!

Recommended Products:

Chef’s Knife

Cutting Board

Baking Sheet

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Smoky Roasted Cauliflower


  • 1 large head of cauliflower
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 tsp smoked paprika
  • Salt

You will also need

  • Baking sheet or small roasting pan
Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Cook Time: 20 Minutes
Total Time: 25 Minutes
Servings: 4
Kosher Key: Pareve
  • Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil for easier cleanup, if desired. Pull the leaves off of the cauliflower base. Cut off the lower part of the stem.
  • Cut the head of cauliflower into four quarters.
  • Slice each quarter into 6-8 pieces. You want as many flat surfaces as possible on each floret-- the flat surfaces caramelize best. Caramelization is the key to giving the roasted cauliflower flavor.
  • Give all the florets a thorough rinse in a colander. Shake them dry. Spread out the cauliflower on your baking sheet or pan. Reserve any small bits of cauliflower that have fallen away from the florets in a small bowl.
  • Drizzle the florets evenly with 1 tbsp olive oil. I use a measuring spoon of olive oil, which makes it easier to gauge how much oil I'm using, rather than pouring straight from the bottle. Toss the florets to coat them fully with oil-- I use clean hands for this step.
  • Sprinkle the cauliflower evenly with smoked paprika and salt to taste. Be generous with the salt-- smoked paprika really sings when it's combined with salt.
  • Place the baking sheet into the preheated oven and let the cauliflower roast for 10 minutes. While cauliflower is cooking, drizzle 1/4 tsp of olive oil into the small bowl of reserved cauliflower bits that have fallen away from the florets and toss to coat. Sprinkle them with smoked paprika and salt. You will add these to the sheet a little later so they won't burn.
  • After 10 minutes, remove the baking sheet from the oven. Sprinkle the reserved cauliflower bits onto the baking sheet.
  • Return the baking sheet to the oven. Let the cauliflower roast for 10-20 minutes longer till tender. When it's ready you will be able to pierce it easily with a fork. Keep a close eye on the cauliflower, it can go from brown to burned fairly quickly if you're not careful.
  • Serve hot.

Comments (45)Post a Comment

    1. Hey Lisa! Great question. Roasting the cauliflower from raw takes quite a while; parboiling saves time, while producing a similar flavor result. You can roast it from raw, too, but it will take longer and you’ll have to keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t burn.

  1. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    oh! what a great recipe I can wait to try it! I love smoke paprika and also cauliflower, have you ever tried grilled corn with smoke paprika margarine mix, it taste soooo good. thank you for the recipe. 😀

    1. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
      I believe that margarine is Not as good (Taste) as BUTTER, I did a Test yrs. ago with a stick of Butter and one of Margarine ,put both in garage over night 14-16 hours . When i remembered to check the results ,I found bugs on the Butter not on the Margarine ,maybe the Bugs are smarter than us.. I have ate eaten two lbs. of BUTTER A MONTH FOR MORE THAN 50 YRS. I AM 74 GREAT LDL. BLOOD PRESSURE etc. WIFE IS 58 AND all MY # ARE LOWER THAN HERS . Have Fun and Enjoy !

    1. Janet, absolutely. If you buy the bagged florets in a steaming bag, you can steam them right in the bag in the microwave. They will cook faster in the microwave; to get them tender-crisp, you will probably one need 2-2 1/2 minutes.

    1. Hi Ernie– no, smoked paprika is different, it has a strong smoky mesquite-like essence that gives anything it seasons a smoky flavor. It’s definitely worth a try!

  2. I’d be one of those “not a big cauliflower” fan people, but this makes me want to reconsider the little veggie. I think I need to find some smoked paprika!

  3. Roasted cauliflower has been my veggie crack this year. We made it once in August and have made it so many times since. I love the addition of the paprika and know how Im kicking it up next time. Which will probably be like, tomorrow.

  4. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    Just found your site and I am thrilled everything looks GREAT!
    one question what is your favorite smoked paprika brand ? I have never used it before. Thanks
    p.s. I love the step by step photos

  5. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    This recipe looks amazing. I tried making a cauliflower dish that I had at a middle eastern restaurant. It was fried cauliflower with a tahini sauce over it. Do you know anything about the dish? I want to say it was a Lebanese restaurant, but I cant say for sure.

    1. Hi NK, I find smoked paprika quite mild. If you’re sensitive to spice you may feel a little heat in it, but it’s nowhere near as spicy as cayenne. However if you’re very sensitive, you may want to make the dip without the smoked paprika… it will still taste fabulous. Good luck!

  6. I’m going to try this. I LOVE roasted cauliflower and will add this to my recipe box. I usually use a black, enameled flat pan (actually the base of the grill pan that comes with the oven when new) and would recommend it as it enhances carmelization of the cauliflower.

  7. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    You can also make this whole (it makes for a great presentation), and serve with whipped goat cheese and roasted garlic as a kind of dip. It’s amazing! great post! Love your site.

  8. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I really really love this! F
    irst of all, I was confused when I discovered my pregnancy craving was cauliflower.. Barley any taste at all! So I figured I’d eat it the way I alwhas do.. dipping in BBQ sauce, but with that being so fattening and not the very healthy for my pregnant self or baby, the next thing I thought of was smoked paprika.
    Your recipe nailed the pin on the head and I don’t think I can get enough! Thank you thank you thank you <33

  9. Hey I really want to try this recipe but unfortunately I only have regular paprika with me and where I live, reg paprika is hard enough to find as it is so smoked paprika is definitely out of the question. So I was wondering if it’s possible to use reg paprika in the recipe?

  10. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    I love this, if you have a good blender like a vitamix or nutrininja you can puree them after. I bake chicken with southwest flavors and the put a healthy 1/2 cup smear down and place my chicken on top.

  11. I see a reference to parboiling in one of the comments and then your Note talks about eliminating the process of steaming. Were these 2 different steps prior to baking in oven? Your note also says you reduced the oil. Is that reflected in recipe now? Is 400 degrees the higher temperature that works if you don’t parboil? I wasn’t confused until I read your note and the comments!

  12. Hi, II use a similar recipe for my cauliflower. However, I grill these on skewers on a BBQ – together with marinated chicken and beef cubes.
    Very good

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