Buttery Black Garlic Whole Roasted Cauliflower is a delightful, intensely umami side dish for any festive meal, or alongside a Sunday roast. Carve it into creamy black and white wedges and tuck in. Or, for smaller gatherings, make with cute mini cauliflowers. Shown with Roquefort Blue Cheese Leeks – bonus recipe, below!
While everyone else’s kitchen is filled with the blissful aromas of holiday baking, mine is filled with, um, cauliflower. And yes, I want you to join me.
A casual tap in the search bar thingy to the right (or a 5-second scroll, if on a phone) will reveal a lot of Food To Glow cauliflower recipes. Some as soups (this roasted cauliflower and almond one is incredible, some as mains (try my Scandi cauliflower röstis!), some as salads. I even have a cauliflower cake; albeit a savoury one. Today’s recipe, although it takes a bit of time, is a nearly hands-off affair. It is also ludicrously easy – a bonus if other dishes on your menu are a bit more involved.
But, do you really need another roasted cauliflower recipe?
Of course, my answer is yes. A big one, too.
Roasted Cauliflower – yawn…
I beg to differ. Cauliflower, despite its challenging aroma, is very mild. This is a good thing in my opinion. Mild foods are just the thing to carry big flavours. Whether jazzed up with spices, herbs, sauces or marinades, foods like cauliflower (and tofu) are superlative carriers of flavour. And because cauliflower is low in calories and high in fiber, it gives greater latitude for more calorific pairings – whatever else is going on with the meal.
I have many cauliflower recipes here on Food To Glow that I riff on constantly.
My Cheesy Cauliflower, Lentil and Buckwheat Bake is a casseroled layering of creamy-textured red lentils and buckwheat, swirled with spinach and nutritional yeast (or cheese), and topped with lightly roasted cauliflower. You pop it in the oven until the cauliflower is golden and bronze-edged, and any cheese bubbling and gooey. It is one of the top main dishes that I make at work. For some unknown reason, it is especially popular with men!
One I make a lot for myself is Roasted Cornmeal Crusted Cauliflower with Turmeric. It is so tray-picking delicious that I have been known to eat nothing but this for dinner. Not recommended – balance and all that – but a testament to its craveability.
And I think today’s Buttery Black Garlic Whole Roasted Cauliflower is equally more-ish.
What does Buttery Black Garlic Whole Roasted Cauliflower taste like?
To get an idea of the taste, think nutty, buttery, balsamicky, caramelly and earthy. But definitely very savory. The main reason for this is no surprise. Black garlic.
Black garlic – otherwise known as fermented garlic – is garlic that has been slow-heated over time to extinguish its bite and create new flavours. If you haven’t tried it, you really should. The first time I got my hands on a head of black garlic, I ate the whole thing (are you seeing a pattern with me?). I peeled the skin from each sticky, shrunken clove, and ate each like a nature-wrapped candy. I savored each one.
It starts with black garlic
The idea of rubbing a mild, sweetly nutty cauliflower with an intense paste of mashed black garlic and roasting it haunted me until I finally relented and made it.
It started with black garlic, but I wanted to bring in some of the spikiness of raw garlic so I included a bit of that, too.
For a touch of welcome acidity I threw in some sherry vinegar (balsamic would have felt too samey).
I crave balanced flavours, and with the above I knew I was almost there. I just needed a buttery element to bring it all together. Butter and extra virgin olive oil are not only part of the taste, but also part of the process, browning and flavouring in equal measure. Bingo. Throw on some toasted almonds, parsley and pink peppercorns and serve.
What to make with the rest of your black garlic? Try one of these ideas from seriouseats.com.
What you need for Buttery Black Garlic Whole Roasted Cauliflower
Not too much, but black garlic is obviously essential to make this. If it is hard to get, I would roast a whole head of garlic until just soft, and use half balsamic and half proper sherry vinegar. The overall taste is not the same, but it will give you plenty of umami deliciousness. So,
Sherry vinegar (I use the incomparable El Majuelo vinagre de Jerez)
Extra virgin olive oil
Large cauliflower or up to six mini ones
Tips for making the recipe
Although the recipe is super easy, there are a few things to note:
- Trim the cauliflower so that it will sit flat on a tray.
- Steam the cauliflower until a skewer inserts easily into the core (turn over to pierce).
- Keep the heat low and slow. We don’t want the garlic to burn.
- Baste once or twice as the cauliflower cooks. Once it is really softening up, the cauliflower is much more receptive to added flavours. So keep adding them on, spooning from the tray juices.
I really think this will be a fab side dish that gives big flavour for very little effort. As you see, I served it with some rich and cheesy Roquefort leeks. Here is how I made them.
Bonus Roquefort Leek Recipe!
Chop and saute three fat leeks (use mostly the white bit with some pale green) slowly in extra virgin olive oil until soft. Add about 2 tablespoons of hot water/stock/broth and crumbled up Roquefort or other blue cheese (about 80 grams) and stir it in. That’s it! This super easy, no-recipe kind of recipe goes with every meal. Truly. And it is a perfect bonus side dish to go with Buttery Black Garlic Whole Roasted Cauliflower. Add plenty of almonds and these two dishes could be a non-meat main course.
Nutrition Notes on Cauliflower
I know you know this already, but Cauliflower is ridiculously nutritious, the unique taste signalling the nutritional powers within. It is low in calories and high in fiber, folate, vitamins C and K, and disease-preventing phytochemicals such as glucosinolates, quercetin and kaempferol. A serving of cauliflower is 80 grams, but a bit more is better. Steaming or roasting keeps most of the nutrients intact. For more nutrition facts, see this article on Healthline.com.
So, what do you think? Will you give this a try? If you do try my Buttery Black Garlic Whole Roasted Cauliflower, let me know in the comments below. And don’t forget to hit the star rating button in the recipe card. Doing this helps promote my Food To Glow healthy eating recipes to a wider audience. Thanks! You can also follow me on Instagram and Facebook where I share weekly social media-exclusive recipes!
PS If you need a show-stopper vegetarian main, check out my Cauliflower and Porcini Mushroom Wellington! (above)
Buttery Black Garlic Whole Roasted Cauliflower
Buttery Black Garlic Whole Roasted Cauliflower is an easy to make intensely umami side dish for any festive meal, or alongside a Sunday roast. Carve into creamy black and white wedges and enjoy the tongue-tantalising flavors.
- 1 large cauliflower
- 5 cloves black garlic
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp sherry vinegar
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp butter, softened grass-fed and unsalted, if possible
- 3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley as garnish
- 2 tbsp toasted almonds as garnish, sliced or chopped
- 2 tsp pink peppercorns optional
Prepping the cauliflower
Carefully and without cutting into the cauliflower, remove the leaves. Slice the base so that it sits flat.
Place the whole cauliflower in a steamer basket (or a large sieve to steam in a large, covered pan) and steam for 10-12 minutes, depending on the size. Test for doneness by piercing the stem end with a skewer. If it is at all hesitant to go in, steam a couple of minutes longer. The florets need to stay quite firm so don't over do it. Let the cauliflower sit away from the heat so that it loses some of its moisture.
Meanwhile preheat the oven to 180C fan/ 200C/ 400F.
Black Garlic Butter
Chop the black garlic and raw garlic; add to a small food processor bowl along with the sherry vinegar, olive oil and butter. Process to a paste. You can do this with a pestle and mortar or fork and steep-sided bowl, too.
Lay the steamed cauliflower on a buttered/oiled tray. You can use a baking tray, cast iron skillet, enamelled, lidded pot (eg Falconware). Spread the black garlic paste all over the cauliflower. Cover the tay or pan with foil or lid and and roast for 45 minutes. Uncover and baste before open roasting for a further 30 minutes, basting once or twice. Serve in wedges as a side dish.
To make mini buttery black garlic roasted cauliflowers, steam for five minutes, roast under cover for 30 and uncovered for up to 30 minutes, basting a couple of times.
If you can't get black garlic, slice off the very top of a fat, whole head of garlic, and drizzle with 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Place in a foil parcel and roast at 200C/400F for 40-45 minutes. Squeeze each clove into a small food processor bowl with the other ingredients, using a bit of balsamic and sherry vinegars rather than just the sherry vinegar.
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