Cooking cauliflower in any way is comforting, especially when it’s roasted. In my humble opinion, it’s the perfect comfort food for any time, but especially now, when all of us need comforting.

Roasted cauliflower is great to make when staying at home and practicing social distancing. Its perfection lies in both its simplicity and deliciousness. If all you have is a head of cauliflower, oil and an oven, you can make it – and you can add whatever you happen to have on hand to make it even tastier.

This versatile vegetable can create a decadent and delicious dish that is really quite difficult to ruin – it’s that easy! In fact, the only way to ruin it is to leave it in the oven and not take it out – it will burn if you do that. But other than that, the ease in making it adds to its comforting factor.

While I recommend using extra virgin olive oil when making roasted cauliflower, you can use vegetable oil, melted butter, coconut oil…whatever you have in your pantry works. I prefer sea salt, but any seasoning you have on hand is fine. Other additions, like cheese or curry powder, pair well with it, but they aren’t necessary for this dish. If you don’t have any extra ingredients, just a head of cauliflower will do. Adding a little bit of oil and a tiny bit of salt will create a veritable vegetable nirvana in your mouth.

You can use fresh cauliflower. It often comes pre-packaged, and it can stay fresh for up to a week. And if it is a little bit older, just cut away the brown spots. If all you have is frozen cauliflower, you can also use that, too (just roast it for about half the time and check on it frequently).

This Roasted Cauliflower Florets recipe is from Cauliflower Comfort Food by Jeanette Hurt.

Makes: 8 to 10 (1/2-cup) servings | Prep Time: 5 to 10 minutes | Cook Time: 25 to 30 minutes

  • 1 medium head cauliflower (1 ½ to 2 pounds), cored and cut to ½-inch pieces, leaves removed
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or olive oil spray
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 425ºF.

2. Place the cauliflower pieces onto a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil or a silicone baking mat, then brush or spray them with the olive oil. Sprinkle the sea salt and pepper on top.

3. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, remove from the oven, then use a spatula to flip the pieces over. Spray or brush them with a little more olive oil.

4. Bake for an additional 12 to 14 minutes. The cauliflower will be done when it is lightly browned but not blackened.

The Broiled Version: When finished, broil on high for 3 to 4 minutes after topping with 1/2 to 1 1/2 cups grated cheese. Or, just add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of your favorite seasonings: garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning, Cajun seasoning, curry powder, chives, turmeric…the sky’s the limit (or your pantry’s the limit).

-Jeanette Hurt