Roasted Cornmeal Crusted Cauliflower with Turmeric and Black Pepper makes a simple, healthy and fabulously-textured side dish to go with so many things – including breakfast! It’s our favourite minimal prep, big flavour, ridiculously addictive way to enjoy this extremely nutritious vegetable.
I freaking love roasted cauliflower.
I love it, but the texture can be off-putting. Roasting long enough to mellow the taste to nutty sweetness is the goal, but can often make it a bit soft. Am I right? And for me, texture is everything. I am a big kid in that respect.
My way of roasting cauliflower so that it is more-ishly snackable – yes as a snack, not just side dish – is also very versatile. You can add in any flavours, spices, herbs that you fancy. It will be fantastic every time. As long as you don’t get distracted like I do and not hear the timer, golden, crunchy, sweet cauliflower will be ready to eat in under 30 minutes. To help you personalise your new favourite side/snack, I give you a flavour menu below.
But first, let’s cut up the cauliflower.
How to cut cauliflower
There are no rules about cutting up cauliflower as such. I often use as much of the stem as possible as I like its tender natural sweetness (same with broccoli). But you may prefer to stick with florets only. If a cauliflower has quite a fibrous base and stem network, of course just use the more tender florets. The main thing with roasting cauliflower, as opposed to preparing it any other way, is that you want fairly evenly sized pieces. This will ensure even roasting. There is no need to get out the measuring tape though.
Use a heavy, long knife (i.e. chef’s knife) to cut the florets from the main stem. I do this by laying the cauliflower on its floret side, holding it in place with one hand, and cutting around the main stem in a roughly circular shape, curving inwards around the stem. This will loosen the florets into large “curds”. You will be left with a pointy stem bit.
Use your hands or the knife to break the large curds away. From there cut into even pieces, slicing away any longer bits of stem if you wish. If the stems are tender I often slice them into thin batons and lay them on a separate tray, along with any sturdy, intact leaves. I will claim these tender, nutty morsels as my own.
What you need for Roasted Cornmeal Crusted Cauliflower
These are the basics that I use no matter what I will do with it. If you don’t have cornmeal or polenta, just leave it out and follow the method anyway. It won’t have the same interesting texture, but it will taste fab. See below for more flavour ideas!
One large-ish cauliflower
Extra virgin olive oil
Coarse or fine cornmeal or polenta
Ground turmeric – amount depends on other spices you might be adding
Freshly ground black pepper
Roasted Cauliflower flavour menu
To the above why not try adding one of these the next time?
One teaspoon of your favourite curry powder. I like Sri Lankan.
Lemon juice and Parmesan cheese – my favourite addition. Just sprinkle on the cheese and lemon as the cauliflower comes out of the oven.
Chipotle powder and garlic powder – about 1/2 teaspoon each.
Mixed dried herbs – good ones. Add lemon zest straight after roasting, too.
Nigella seeds, ground coriander and pinch of ground cardamom. Sounds weird, but trust me, it’s fab. 🙂
Creole or Cajun seasoning
Smoked paprika and garlic powder
Lemon zest and fresh herbs (shown)
Chilli flakes or powder with lemon zest.
Amchoor powder and nigella seeds
Now, let’s roast that cauliflower!
Fancy some more tasty cauliflower recipes?
Here is a small selection of my Cauliflower dishes. Explore my Recipe Index for more ideas!
and a few from friends
Roasted Cauliflower with Dates, Almonds and Tahini from Katie at Whole Nourishment
Sheet Pan Cauliflower Tacos with Halloumi and Black Beans from Katie at Hey Nutrition Lady
Cheesy Cauliflower and Potato Bake with Spinach (with vegan option) from Jac at Tinned Tomatoes
The Best Ever Healthy Cauliflower Cheese Bread from EA Stewart the Spicy RD
What is your favourite way to eat cauliflower?
Crunchy Cornmeal Cauliflower with Turmeric and Black Pepper
Make your side of cauliflower a little bit more interesting with added texture and taste.
- 1 medium cauliflower organic if possible
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or organic British rapeseed oil (I use a smoked version)
- 3 tbsp cornmeal or polenta coarse or fine
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/4 tsp black pepper freshly ground to "activate" the turmeric
- sea salt I use a rosemary and lemon finishing salt
- oil spray
Heat your oven to 200C fan/220C/400F.
Cut the cauliflower into small florets, including some stem and leaves if you wish. Toss the florets in the oil, then add the polenta, turmeric, black pepper and salt, mixing to coat. Lay in a single layer on a baking tray, spray with oil spray, and roast in the oven for 25 minutes, or until browned in patches and cooked through. Eat hot. Can be reheated.
The cooked cauliflower with lose some of its texture with sitting or refrigerating, but will still have good crunch from the nubbly cornmeal. Pop leftovers into a salad - grain is nice - or overtop a soup.
To reheat just pop on a tray and heat in a hot oven for five minutes.
Variations: use a good dash of a favourite curry powder or some smoked paprika for a different flavour and vibe.
Good with: a savoury breakfast; a side to a curry; alongside grilled or steamed fish; atop a spicy tofu or bean dish for added texture and taste; in a fish or other kind of taco; instead of croutons with soup.
Pin now. Make soon!