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Dorothy Dean presents: From underrated to irresistible – crispy roasted cauliflower

UPDATED: Mon., March 1, 2021

By Audrey Alfaro For The Spokesman-Review

With a deliciously crisp exterior and tender bite, this oven-roasted cauliflower will have everyone gladly eating their vegetables – and even asking for more.

I’m not kidding you; the pickiest of eaters, kids and adults alike, can’t resist this pepped-up version that transforms this underrated vegetable into an irresistible dish.

Roasting the cauliflower changes the texture and flavor by caramelizing the natural sugars, producing toasted, crisp florets full of sweet, nutty flavor.

Olive oil and panko boosts the crispiness, while the harmonious blend of lemon pepper, paprika, garlic powder, Parmesan, salt and pepper add a scrumptious savory kick.

It is oven roasted on high heat, for 40-50 minutes, until browned and slightly charred on the edges (the best part).

This recipe uses white cauliflower; however, it can be swapped for purple cauliflower, orange cauliflower or Romanesco.

Additional veggies like carrots, potatoes, Brussels sprouts or squash can be tossed with the cauliflower or made alone with this recipe, as well.

Just be sure they’re cut uniformly and dry so they don’t steam. Also, for that same reason, don’t crowd your pan.

This crispy cauliflower is excellent as a side dish, veggie main course or served with dip such as tzatziki or hummus.

You can add your favorite seasonings or easily alter the flavor profile to complement a variety of cuisines.

For Mexican-inspired, use paprika, cumin and chili powder, followed by a sprinkle of cilantro and squeeze of lime after roasting. Toss in curry powder for Indian dishes.

Or add a mix of oregano, basil, garlic powder, rosemary and thyme for an Italian version, which pairs perfectly with Parmesan and marinara.

Crispy Roasted Cauliflower

1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the pan

¼ teaspoon lemon pepper

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon paprika

¼ teaspoon pepper

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

¼ cup panko crumbs

Preheat an oven to 425 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.

In a large bowl, add the cauliflower florets and olive oil; toss to coat. Add in the remaining ingredients and toss again until evenly coated.

Drizzle the prepared baking sheet with a bit of olive oil and arrange the cauliflower in a single layer.

Roast for 40-50 minutes or until golden brown and slightly charred.

Serve with a sprinkle of fresh parsley and lemon wedges, if desired.

Audrey Alfaro can be reached at spoonandswallow@yahoo.com.

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