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Crispy, Turmeric-Spiced, Perfectly Roasted Cauliflower

Cauliflower is one of those vegetables that always ends up lurking in my crisper. I buy it thinking that I’ll add it to meals – stir-fries, soups, stews… you name it – but I never get around to it. There’s just something unappealing about the veggie. I’m not sure if it’s the bland flavour, it’s flat-out boring colour, or the fact that I begrudgingly ate it steamed as a child (yes, steamed – the most unappetizing cook method out there). Either way, I hated the stuff.  

This all changed recently when I went to a local Lebanese restaurant. I had heard good things about their “famous cauliflower”, so I decided to order it. To be honest I wasn’t expecting much because, well, it’s cauliflower. Boy was I mistaken. Mind. BLOWN. It was crispy, lightly spiced, and straight-up addictive. I ate the whole bowl (and “accidentally” left none for my boyfriend, he was not pleased).

I went on a hunt to find out how to recreate it and, to my luck, a good family friend knew some secrets and passed them on. I tested them out and she was right! My batch was not exactly the same, of course (good restaurants seem to have a magic that’s hard to replicate), but this was pretty close. So after some trials and tribulations, here’s my version of their “famous” perfectly roasted cauliflower. 

Perfectly Roasted Cauliflower

Enjoy these as a side to a roast chicken or a Middle Eastern-inspired meal. I’ll inform you now that these are highly addictive. They may not even make it to your plates – they’re that good. You were warned.

You’ll need:

  • 1 head of cauliflower (this serves about 4 people)
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • Heaping tsp of turmeric
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • LOTS of salt and pepper (this is key, especially the salt)
  • A touch of chili powder for a kick (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Cut cauliflower into small ½-1 inch chunks. I personally like mine smaller, but many like them bigger. It’s all personal preference but just keep in mind that they do shrivel up (so don’t make them too small).
  3. Place cauliflower in a large bowl and coat well with olive oil. Then add turmeric, cumin, and salt and pepper. Add chili powder if using.
  4. Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Distribute evenly. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes. After about 30 minutes, test one out. Add more cumin and salt if need be. Add more chili for more of a kick. Place back in the oven for about 10-15 more minutes if need be until they’re crispy. The crispier the better!
  5. *Optional: top with parsley and pine nuts for an added crunch. Serve. Watch your guests devour this perfectly roasted cauliflower in an instant.