Perhaps you’ve noticed, perhaps you haven’t, but cauliflower seems to be having a heyday lately: one can easily find cauliflower masquerading as rice, mashed potatoes, steak, and even pizza crust. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and I have even enjoyed sampling some of these cauliflower concoctions, but sometimes it’s nice to eat a food that’s not trying to be something it’s not.
If the examples I mentioned above are considered health food, then this is probably the comfort food version of cauliflower. Coated liberally in a spiced vinaigrette, this cauliflower gets roasted in the oven until tender, golden brown, and so flavorful that I want to eat the entire pan every time. The only bad thing about this recipe is that it’s always gone too quickly.
Fun Fact: Cauliflower is part of the cruciferous vegetable family, a group that also includes broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage. Cruciferous vegetables provide sulfurous compounds that may aid in cancer prevention. Whether or not these specific compounds are responsible, an inverse association has been found between cruciferous vegetable consumption and cancer rates in large populations. So enjoy some cruciferous comfort food.
adapted from epicurious.com
Large head of cauliflower, cut into bite-size florets (8-10 cups)
1 onion, peeled, cut lengthwise into 8 wedges and separated into layers
½ green pepper, cut into ¾-inch square pieces, optional
½ cup olive oil
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon paprika
3 ½ teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin*
1 scant teaspoon salt (closer to ¾ tsp.)
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place the cauliflower, onion, and green pepper, if using, in a large bowl. Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, spices, and salt, and pour over the vegetables. Toss well so that everything is coated. Spread the vegetables onto the baking sheet, scraping as much of the spice mix out of the bowl as possible. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the cauliflower is tender and golden brown, almost charred in some places. Serve warm or at room temperature.
*If you have the means, I highly recommend keeping home-ground cumin around. Many grocery stores sell cumin seeds in bulk. If you toast the seeds in a pan until fragrant, then grind in a mortar and pestle or coffee/spice grinder, your cumin will pack way more punch than the bottles of pre-ground spice you get at the store.