Spicy Roasted Cauliflower with Cilantro Dressing


25 Aug Spicy Roasted Cauliflower with Cilantro Dressing

Spicy Roasted Cauliflower with Cilantro Dipping Sauce - The Messy Baker

A local Indian restaurant makes an addictive appetizer — bite-sized vegetables dipped in a spicy chickpea batter, deep fried and served with a cilantro dipping sauce. Whenever Andrew and I dine there, I pluck all the cauliflower florets from the plate and eat them myself. Since he doesn’t like cauliflower, it’s a pretty good system. For me.

While the other vegetables in this deep-fried melange are tasty enough, I’m always tempted to beg the server to bring me the dish with just the cauliflower. And a double side of the sauce. Clearly, I had to figure out a way to make this in the privacy of my home or publicly embarrass myself at the restaurant.

As luck would have it, I came across a recipe for Chili-Roasted Cauliflower with Cilantro Dressing on Serious Eats. A quick read through and I knew I’d found a way to get the flavours I craved without the dangers of deep frying. With a culinary history littered with Kitchen Disasters (capital letters well-earned) I am not about to heat a great vat of oil and risk burning down my newly renovated kitchen for the sake of a spicy crucifer. You’ll notice I’m not all that concerned about my arteries and cholesterol levels.

A newly acquired package of chipolte powder set things in motion. And hour later, I stood at the stove, plucking hot, roasted cauliflower florets straight from the pan and dunking them in the bright green sauce. No plate, no napkins. Just me and my fingers. Guess I won’t have to publicly embarrass myself after all.

Got a favourite cauliflower dish you wish to share?

Spicy Roasted Cauliflower with Cilantro Dipping Sauce
Recipe type: Vegetable
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Prep / inactive time: 
Cook / active time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 normal people or just me
This spicy roasted cauliflower and its accompanying cilantro dipping sauce are easy to make. They deliver loads of flavour without a lot of fat.
  • 1 medium cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 2 tablespoons canola or light vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder (double the chili powder if you don't like this)
  • generous pinch fine sea salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
Dipping Sauce
  • ¼ cup canola or light vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup roughly chopped cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon honey (sugar or agave nectar if you're vegan)
  • fine sea salt to taste
  • fresh ground black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. If you have a convection oven, use this setting for crisper results.
  2. Cut cauliflower into bite-sized florets, trying to be as uniform as possible for even roasting.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, chili powder, chipotle powder, salt and a good grind of freshly ground black pepper. Add the cauliflower florets to the spiced oil and toss to thoroughly coat.
  4. Spread the cauliflower on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 25 to 40 minutes, stirring once part way through. The timing varies with the size of cauliflower.
Dipping Sauce
  1. While the cauliflower roasts, combine the oil, lime juice, lemon juice, cilantro, garlic, honey (or sugar/agave nectar), salt and fresh ground black pepper in a blender. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary.
  2. Serve the cauliflower hot with the dipping sauce.
Cauliflower shrinks dramatically when roasted. Make a double batch if you have cauliflower fanatics (or me) at the table.


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No Comments
  • Kathe
    Posted at 11:31h, 26 August Reply

    Can’t wait to make this, Charmian – yum!

    I like cilantro but not everybody does – can you suggest another fresh herb that could be substituted in the dressing?

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 11:54h, 26 August Reply

      @Kathe, much as it pains me to steer anyone away from fresh cilantro, you could substitute the following fresh herbs:

      – parsley
      – basil
      – mint
      – a combination of parsley and basil OR mint


  • Jan @ Family Bites
    Posted at 22:47h, 26 August Reply

    Ah…I’m home alone while my cauliflower-hating family is away camping for a night. Now I know exactly what I can make for dinner for me!

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 10:25h, 27 August Reply

      @Jan @ Family Bites, enjoy! I ate the whole thing myself. Mind you, that was all I ate, but it was good. Hope you revel in your cauliflower dinner.

  • Anh
    Posted at 02:18h, 27 August Reply

    Absolutely delightful! What’s a nice dish!

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 10:26h, 27 August Reply

      @Anh, thanks. Sort of makes me glad I don’t have to share with my husband. Selfish of me? You bet.

  • Janet Foster
    Posted at 05:54h, 27 August Reply

    I love cilantro so this is right up my alley except for the canola oil. I bet you can substitute light sour cream or greek yogurt for the oil. Thanks for the recipe. We’re always looking for ways to work in more veggies.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 10:27h, 27 August Reply

      @Janet Foster, that sounds wonderful. I was thinking a bit of dairy would go well. I’d go for the Greek yogurt myself since light sour cream tends to have added binders. Balkan yogurt would work well too. Nice call!

  • Sophie
    Posted at 18:29h, 27 August Reply

    A delightful & refreshing cauliflower dish!! oooh,…yes!!

    I so much love that coriander dressing!

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 09:58h, 29 August Reply

      @Sophie, I’m always glad to meet another cilantro fan. We must stick together!

  • Karen Baxter
    Posted at 12:55h, 28 August Reply

    I’ve been meaning to tell you how much I appreciate receiving your recipes! I have tried several, and the latest “Peach and Black Bean Salsa” was taken to a garden party last weekend. Everyone loved it; but guests had to fight me off the dish :)
    I just shared some of my favorite recipes received from you, with my mother in Brazil. I think she’ll become a faithful follower. Thanks, keep up the corner!

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 09:53h, 29 August Reply

      @Karen Baxter, what a comment! Thanks for taking the time to let me know you enjoyed (and share) the recipes.

  • gwen@SimplyHealthyFamily
    Posted at 15:24h, 29 August Reply

    Oh joy! I’m so glad I came across this recipe, and your lovely blog! I will be making this one tomorow night and can’t wait to read all of your posts.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 18:05h, 14 September Reply

      @gwen@SimplyHealthyFamily, thanks so much. Let me know how it turns out for you. I could gobble the entire recipe by myself. Oink, oink. For once I’m glad my husband isn’t keen on cauliflower.

  • Cucee Sprouts
    Posted at 14:58h, 14 September Reply

    What a vegetable this is. I love how versatile cauliflower is. I so tempted to try your recipe later this week (I have 3 heads of cauliflower waiting for me at home.) I will come back to your site and report on how your recipe turned out for sure! Would you like to take a look at my most recent cauliflower creation? http://cuceesprouts.com/2010/09/marinated-cauliflower-salad/

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 18:09h, 14 September Reply

      @Cucee Sprouts, I’d love to hear what you think. I dropped by and took a look at your marinated cauliflower. Love the red pepper against the white.

      While I don’t like cauliflower raw, when it comes to roasted, I qualify as a cauliholic, too.

  • Lorraine
    Posted at 16:00h, 18 September Reply

    Just called my husband–he’s grocery shopping right now–and told him to pick up cauliflower and cilantro. This look DIVINE. Plan to make it with my homemade chili powder.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 19:48h, 19 September Reply

      @Lorraine, homemade chili powder? Wow, never thought of that but it sounds good. I’m afraid I rely on generic. Got a recipe? I’m willing to give mixing my own spice blends a try.

      In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the cauliflower.

      • Lorraine
        Posted at 10:00h, 20 September Reply

        @Charmian Christie: I made this recipe last night but mucked it up by substituting extra virgin olive oil for milder oil–too strong. Obviously. Cauliflower was delish. Will attempt recipe again–with proper oil.

        BTW, Homemade chili powder is very easy to make–and sooo much better than packaged. Once you try it, I predict you won’t go back to insipid store-bought: http://bit.ly/CopywritersKitchen

        • Charmian Christie
          Posted at 13:50h, 21 September Reply

          @Lorraine, thanks for the link. I’m going to make some soon. My husband goes through it like water.

          I found olive oil too strong as well. While I used canola, grapeseed or groundnut oils are other mild oils and might be a good option for you. Hope the next batch turns out more to your taste.

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