April 2, 2024

Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Green Olive Dressing

Recipe: Desiree Nielsen

“As far as vegetables go, there are probably none as versatile as cauliflower, and I love the drama of carving into a whole cauliflower at the table. Dredged in an earthy, smoky paprika-spiked rub and topped with a bright and acidic dressing, this is a beautiful dish for a weekend meal with friends.” – Desiree Nielsen


Whole Roasted Cauliflower

2 lbs. head cauliflower, leaves removed and stem ends trimmed

2 tbsp avocado oil

1 tbsp smoked paprika

½ tsp garlic powder

½ tsp ground coriander

½ tsp ground cumin

½ tsp salt

Green Olive Dressing

½ cup pitted Castelvetrano olives

½ cup lightly packed fresh curly parsley leaves and tender stems

¼ medium shallot, roughly chopped

1 clove garlic

3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tbsp extra- virgin olive or avocado oil

½ tsp salt

Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Red chili flakes, to taste


Yield: Serves 6

Roast the Cauliflower

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place cauliflower on prepared baking sheet.
  3. In small bowl, whisk together avocado oil, smoked paprika, garlic powder, coriander, cumin and salt. Using your hands or silicone brush, rub oil mixture all over exterior of the cauliflower. Transfer to oven and roast until cauliflower is fork-tender but not falling apart, 50 to 55 minutes.

Make the Green Olive Dressing

  1. (It’s ideal to make the dressing right after you have popped the cauliflower in the oven, so the flavours have time to meld.) In small food processor, combine olives, parsley, shallot and garlic. Pulse until finely chopped. Scrape mixture into small bowl.
  2. Whisk lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and chili flakes into olive mixture. Flavour of shallot will mellow as dressing sits until ready to use. Taste before serving; if you need to balance out an overly strong shallot, just add pinch of sugar.

Finish and Serve

  1. Remove roasted cauliflower from oven and let rest on baking sheet for 5 minutes. Serve cauliflower whole or cut into wedges on medium platter, drizzled with green olive Store leftovers in airtight container in fridge for up to 3 days.

Excerpted from Plant Magic by Desiree Nielsen.©2024 Desiree Nielsen. Photography and illustrations by Gabriel Cabrera. Published by Penguin, an imprint of Penguin Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved