Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Lemon Vinaigrette ♥

Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Lemon Vinaigrette, another easy but impressive vegetable recipe ♥ AVeggieVenture.com. Vegan. Weight Watchers Friendly. Vegan. Gluten Free. Low Carb. Low Fat.
How to roast a whole head of cauliflower in the oven. Yes, I really did say a "whole head" of cauliflower! It comes out all brown and nutty and dramatic looking, easy enough for a weeknight but impressive enough for your mother-in-law.

Real Food, Fresh & Impressive Looking. Just Two Ingredients! Not Just Easy, Summer Easy. Budget Friendly. Little Effort, Big Taste. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special. Low Carb. Low Fat. Weight Watchers Friendly. Not just vegan, Vegan Done Real. Naturally Gluten Free. Whole30 Friendly. Rave Reviews.

So Isn't It Gorgeous?!

There's just something so spectacular about cooking a whole head of cauliflower. I am my mother's daughter after all, she loved to cook a head of cauliflower and top it with cheese sauce. (Who remembers Whole Cauliflower with Homemade Cheese Sauce?!)

But this is even more dramatic looking, thanks to how the florets get all toasty brown in the oven. It's like a cross between the comfort food of Mom's cauliflower and ease of Roasted Cauliflower, which was the very first – first! – recipe published on Day One of A Veggie Venture back Before the Internet in 2005.

"IT WAS SOOO GOOOD!" ~ Unknown
"... it was great! ... Very tasty." ~ Karen
"... it was absolutely delicious." ~ Unknown
"... it was the best I've ever had." ~ Anonymous
"This has become my family's favorite way to eat cauliflower ..." ~ Michelle

Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Lemon Vinaigrette, another easy but impressive vegetable recipe ♥ AVeggieVenture.com. Vegan. Weight Watchers Friendly. Vegan. Gluten Free. Low Carb. Low Fat.


Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Time to table: 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours
Serves about 6, depending on size of cauliflower

Just two ingredients! (plus oil, salt & pepper)

1 head cauliflower
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon olive oil
Juice of a lemon, about 2 tablespoons
Pepper to taste
1 tablespoon small capers

Heat oven to 450F/230C.

CAULIFLOWER Wash the head of cauliflower under running water. (Why? Always wash fruits and vegetables!.) Trim off the outer leaves. With a sharp knife, remove a cone-shaped piece from the core, keeping the head intact. (Need an illustration? How to clean and trim a cauliflower.) With your fingers, rub a little olive oil into the bottom of an oven-safe baking dish, rub the remainder on all over the cauliflower, working the oil into the crevasses as best you can. Sprinkle with salt and place core-side down in the baking dish.

Bake for 1 hour or 1-1/4 hours (or longer for very large cauliflower heads), until the exterior is brown and crusty and the center soft. If you like, transfer to a serving dish.

VINAIGRETTE Meanwhile, whisk the vinaigrette ingredients. With a spoon, drizzle the vinaigrette over the top of the cauliflower, slowly-slowly to let it soak in as much as it will.

SERVE Serve hot and savor ...

LEFTOVERS The cauliflower still tastes good for another day or two but obviously doesn't look so pretty, once it's been cut into.

The inspiring recipe called for 2 tablespoons of oil for the head of cauliflower, I actually tried to use this much, it just didn't soak in.
The inspiring recipe calls for 4 tablespoon oil to a tablespoon of lemon juice. Certainly, this is the proportions of a classic vinaigrette. Trouble is, only so much vinaigrette actually soaks in.
For a Boxing Day Dinner one year, I served this dramatic cauliflower with Steak Diane (using this great recipe from Hunter Angler Gardener Cook), Yorkshire Pudding and of course, Christmas Trifle for dessert! The Yorkshire Pudding paired well with the Whole Roasted Cauliflower: same oven temperature! Twas a feast, to be sure!

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Looking for healthy new ways to cook vegetables? A Veggie Venture is home to hundreds of super-organized quick, easy and healthful vegetable recipes and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables. Join "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg to explore the exciting world of common and not-so-common vegetables, seasonal to staples, savory to sweet, salads to sides, soups to supper, simple to special.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade
2010, 2013, 2015 (repub) & 2020

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. My mom and grandmother used to make a whole head of cauliflower, with a smooth and creamy white sauce and fresh peas...with a little shredded cheese on top. It was one of my favorites (along with fresh pease with spaetzles)! Can't imagine how fattening it was - made with real butter, whole milk...this recipe sounds like a very good replacement. Can't wiat to try it!

  2. Just gorgeous, and I can tell it would taste fantastic.

  3. I like the bit about "impressive for your mother-in-law".
    I'm a total convert to roasting cauliflower florets, but must try the whole head now!!

  4. stunning, LOVE roasted cauli, will do this at next dinner party! thanks for a great recipe!

  5. That looks absolutely gorgeous! That crispy brown color- wow.

    I would be tempted to smother this in curry- there's an Indian dish called gobi mussalam that's made with whole cauli.

  6. Great recipe, easy and healthy too. Reminds me of a recipe I saw in one of my Indian cookbooks, roasted whole.

  7. Have roasted florets but never tried a whole cauliflower.Looks like less work to prepare this way and more fun to break off pieces and eat it communal style!the brown tops are making me drool.

  8. I picked up cauliflower this week and I must try this! And I'm crazy about lemon and capers!

  9. Your roasted cauliflower looks so beautiful! And I love the addition of capers, too.

  10. WOW! I DID IT!! COOKED A CAULIFLOWER, THAT IS. IT WAS SOOO GOOOD I ATE THE WHOLE THING(it was my lunch!) The dressing was what made it for me. I did everything as you said.
    My dish was an earthenware bowl. Will positivly try it again, for my sisters, who did not sound too impressed, except for my eating the whole thing!

  11. Made this last night with a Romanesco Cauliflower (aka Romanesco Broccoli, but much more cauliflower-like) and it was great! Usually we just cut up and roast a regular cauliflower, but that fabulously weirdly formed thing demanded to be served whole. It did take a while in the oven and, if I do it again, I'll cover it with foil for the first half of roasting so as not to have brown peaks and crunchy center. Added fresh parsley and cilantro to the vinaigrette and pureed it all in the mini-cuis as DH has decided he doesn't like capers, but only when he sees them. Very tasty.

  12. I tried this last night and it was absolutely delicious. I too over browned the outer 1/2 " and had a crunchy middle but since I will be rewarming the left overs it will be fine. It smells so good while cooking too. I didn't even mix up the vinegarette,I grabbed a sun-dried tomato vinegarette and it was good too. A new favorite for me!

  13. I tried the roasted whole califlower it was the best I've ever had.

  14. This has become my family's favorite way to eat cauliflower; I have a head in the oven right now!

  15. Good morning! Just letting you know that I just featured this recipe in my 25 Deliciously Healthy Low-Carb Recipes round-up. Hope a lot of my readers will come over here and check it out!


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna