How to roast a whole cauliflower

Try this tasty alternative to your usual cauliflower.
A whole roasted cauliflower makes an impressive vegetarian main dish. (Photo: Miriam Kresh/Unpacked)

I’ve always loved cauliflower steamed until tender, salted, and served with a little melted butter, or olive oil. But lately I’ve become curious about other ways to serve it, especially now when the vegetable is at peak season, so snowy and tender. Something a little piquant seems called for, to offset the vegetables’ slight sweetness – something acid, something herbal, something cheesy.

Here’s a recipe that does all of that. And the great thing is, it’s easy. Wait – another great thing: When you serve an entire head of cauliflower, all you need is good bread, butter, and salad to make a fine vegetarian meal.

Whole roasted cauliflower

Prep10 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 30 minutes


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 2lb head cauliflower
  • 1 ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley or fresh za’atar or oregano
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan or other sharp cheese


  • Trim the cauliflower of leaves and stem, leaving enough core to keep the head whole.
  • Have ready a large pan with an inch of boiling water. Steam the cauliflower in it, covered, for 10 minutes.
  • Line a baking sheet with baking paper, or grease it well with butter. Preheat the oven to 400° F (205° C).
  • In a large bowl, blend yogurt with all remaining ingredients except cheese.
  • Remove cauliflower carefully from pan. Turn it, head-down, into the bowl. Move it around gently to cover as much of the surface as possible with the yogurt blend. Spoon more yogurt into the spaces between the florets. Turn right-side-up and massage more yogurt all over it.
  • Press the grated cheese all over the surface, as much as possible. Place it on the baking sheet.
  • Roast the cauliflower 40-50 minutes, until well crusted and tender. Check for done-ness by inserting a thin knife into the thickest part, on the bottom.

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