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!
- 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.