Spiced Roasted Cauliflower

An ultra healthy vegetable-filled snack or side, this roasted cauliflower is bursting with flavors like lemon, garlic, paprika, cumin, and coriander.

Spiced Roasted Cauliflower

In the days before we started cooking, I didn’t pay much attention to cauliflower. It was one of those throw-away vegetables – the one that everyone passes up on veggie trays. I’ll admit, raw cauliflower isn’t quite as appealing as some of the other veggies on the tray. But it’s a whole different ballgame when you stick it in the oven. Roasting cauliflower brings out a flavor and texture that’s so delicious, it’s hard to resist gobbling up an entire head in one sitting!

At least, we think so. So to add to our current collection of roasted cauliflower recipes, here’s a Mediterranean-spiced version to add to your repertoire! We developed this spiced and roasted cauliflower recipe as a complement to our Mediterranean bulgur and chickpea salad, and they were the perfect match. This recipe would also work well as a side for a wide variety of main courses, or as a snack (it’s got that popcorn-like addicting quality).

Our favorite cauliflower recipe? Perfect Roasted Cauliflower

spiced roasted cauliflower in bowl

How to roast cauliflower

Roasting cauliflower is easy, and there are a few basic steps we always follow when roasting vegetables. First, it’s important that you chop the cauliflower into pieces of roughly the same size. This will ensure that the cauliflower pieces roast evenly and at the same rate. Once you’ve chopped the cauliflower, you’ll toss it in the olive oil and spices. We’ve found that 1 tablespoon of olive oil is enough for an entire head of cauliflower—remember, you want the cauliflowers slightly slick with oil, not drowning in the stuff!

The final and most important step to making roasted cauliflower is to turn your oven to a high heat. You’re looking for a slightly crispy, caramelized exterior and a fluffy, fully cooked interior. If your oven is set too low, the cauliflower will bake but won’t be properly roasted. Set the temperature too high, and the cauliflower will burn in minutes.

To brighten up this roasted cauliflower, we squeezed some fresh lemon juice over top of it. This step is totally optional, but it really does transform this dish!

cauliflower and lemon

Looking for more cauliflower recipes?

If you love this cruciferous veggie, here are some more cauliflower recipes to try:

This spiced roasted cauliflower recipe is…

Vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free.

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Spiced Roasted Cauliflower

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (29 votes, average: 4.31 out of 5)

  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


An ultra healthy vegetable-filled snack or side, this roasted cauliflower is bursting with flavors like lemon, garlic, paprika, cumin, and coriander.


  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons coriander
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Fresh ground pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Chop the cauliflower into bite-sized florets. Mince the garlic. Zest 1 lemon.
  2. In a large bowl, combine cauliflower, garlic, and lemon zest with the cumin, coriander, paprika,      red pepper flakes, olive oil, kosher salt, and fresh ground pepper. Stir to coat evenly.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the cauliflower onto the sheet. Bake until tender, about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. To serve, squeeze over fresh lemon juice and if desired, add additional kosher salt to taste. Serve warm.
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean

Keywords: roasted cauliflower, how to roast cauliflower

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.


  • Reply
    jackie @ marin mama cooks
    January 12, 2012 at 1:17 am

    Roasted cauliflower is the best! We can’t get enough of it in my house. I can’t believe that my mom use to serve it up to me steamed and plain. Yuck!

    I love what you have done here. I am definitely going to make this and try some of your other cauliflower recipes as well.

  • Reply
    January 12, 2012 at 2:45 am

    Loved it ! Have u used coriander dry seeds or green leafy coriander?

    • Reply
      January 12, 2012 at 10:13 am

      We are using dried and ground coriander seeds for this recipe. We would say ‘cilantro’ if we were using leafy coriander. Let us know if you try it out.

  • Reply
    Lauren @ Healthy Food For Living
    January 12, 2012 at 6:45 am

    I absolutely love roasted cauliflower! I cut the head into “planks” for more surface area, and the cauliflower caramelizes beautifully. The flavors you used in this recipe sound delicious paired together, and I’m looking forward to trying some of the other recipes you linked to as well.

  • Reply
    January 12, 2012 at 6:57 am

    I agree, raw cauliflower is pretty blah but roasted cauliflower is absolutely amazing! This looks delicious!

  • Reply
    Heather Taylor @ Kids in the Sink
    January 12, 2012 at 9:08 am

    I had never tried roasted cauliflower (and wasn’t a fan of cauliflower at all) until we saw your recipe for it. And then we fell in love. I’ve come to the conclusion that roasted ANYTHING is delicious. Can’t wait to try the new combo of flavors.

    • Reply
      January 12, 2012 at 10:14 am

      We’re so glad we could open your eyes! Hopefully you enjoy this take on it too :)

  • Reply
    Laura {gourmettenyc}
    January 12, 2012 at 10:24 am

    This cauliflower recipe looks delicious. I usually toss my cauliflower in olive oil, salt, pepper, and cumin or red pepper before baking, so I’m looking forward to trying this refreshing twist on one of my favorite vegetables.

  • Reply
    Heidi @ Food Doodles
    January 12, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    Ooooh, I do love roasted cauliflower! I honestly think I could eat an entire head to myself done like this :D The flavorings on yours sounds delicious!

  • Reply
    January 12, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    First time in your blog and it’s SO beautiful! The photos .. the recipes. Glad to find you.
    You are right about cauliflower.. i won’t call it my favorite but when roasted it kind of brings out it’s true color and can get you addicted to it :)

  • Reply
    January 12, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    Oh! Remind me to pick up some cauliflower at the grocery this weekend! Yum!

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    January 14, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    Looks amazing!! I’m definitely giving this recipe a try.

  • Reply
    Secret Diary of a Foodie
    January 15, 2012 at 5:40 am

    I love roasted cauliflower too – and your recipe for it with the spices and flavours you’ve picked looks delicious, I need to try this!

    One of my favourite ways is to roast it until golden, with a liberal dose of olive oil, sea salt and pepper, then once it’s ready, crumble feta over it along with shredded mint and lemon juice – a link to my recipe here if you fancy a look!


    Really pleased I found your blog – lovely posts and photography! x

  • Reply
    January 16, 2012 at 10:56 am

    Cauliflower has always been dear to me. I think it must e up there with green tea with regards to its health benefits. It’s not only the healthy side that makes this veg so interesting, it is also mathmatically very interesting as it has a distinct fractual dimension: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Cauliflower_Fractal_AVM.JPG

    I”ve had some really good versions but this one certainly looks worthy of a crack. I normally have it as my main veg in a chicken casserole as it seems to do well no matter how you cook it. I think I will mix the spices you talk about here and add them to my casserole. Don’t worry though, I’ll try them on their own too :)

  • Reply
    January 18, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    Just made this….and wow….loved it…..want to save some for lunch tomorrow….but it does not look like that is going to happen. Can I just say how amazing the house smells right now? Good call…thanks!

  • Reply
    Tammy D
    January 19, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    I continually wonder how I lived half a century without eating roast cauliflower! It is so good! A little lemon juice, and little garlic, a little Parmesan cheese, whatever suits you, and now I can try your recipe. So good and soooo good for you!

  • Reply
    Yosef - This American Bite
    January 22, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    I make an almost identical dish and we call it “popcorn cauliflower”, not sure where we got the name from but this is my favorite way to serve this veggie!

  • Reply
    January 29, 2012 at 11:44 pm

    Delicious! Made this for a side for dinner and it was great! the squeeze of lemon over the top is a must. thanks!

  • Reply
    January 30, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    i need to give this one a good go.
    sounds so good and i do not like cauliflower but really want too.

  • Reply
    February 26, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    We’ve made this recipe twice now with beautiful results. Last night we threw in some parsnips with the cauliflower and it was great! Thanks!

  • Reply
    March 20, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    Made this tonight with some chunks of chicken breast (my family wont give up meat yet) it was fantastic!

  • Reply
    May 26, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    I’ve been meaning to make this dish forever and I finally did today. Turns out I should have made this so much sooner because people could not stop eating and since it’s cauliflower no one felt guilty for the indulgence!

    Strangely though my baking time was half of the 40 minutes you guys put down. I guess that’s due to the fact I have a hot-air oven. I already took 10% off the temperature (200 Celsius) to account for that fact but after 20 minutes mine were already perfect. My oven’s a monster…

    With under 5 minutes of prep time and 20 minutes of baking I think this recipe will become a staple in my house – I’m already thinking of my next herb combination. Thank you guys for the inspiration!

  • Reply
    Laura (Tutti Dolci)
    November 27, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    I found your recipe via Pinterest and tried it out tonight – so delish! It was the perfect amount of spices and will be on rotation in my kitchen from now on. Thanks for sharing! :)

  • Reply
    January 29, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    As I type this, I am eating the cauliflower in this recipe. All I can say is DELISH! It is FABULOUS! My daughter wanted some but I don’t think there is enough to share. LOL!

    • Reply
      January 29, 2013 at 9:50 pm

      Haha! I, too, find that cauliflower always seem small when they are roasted…

  • Reply
    March 19, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    Made this for dinner tonight, it was delicious! I was eating it as I dished up dinner, and as I cleared away afterwards! My 22 month old daughter loved it too, she ate all of hers before anything else on her plate, then some of mine. Seriously good! Kinda hoping my husband doesn’t like it when he gets home…

    • Reply
      March 24, 2013 at 7:45 pm

      So glad you enjoyed this — and your daughter too! I love hearing about recipes that kids eat up! We don’t have any (yet!), but I imagine it will be an interesting challenge learning how to please both kids and adults when that time comes. Thanks for writing!

  • Reply
    August 1, 2014 at 9:42 am

    This is a fantastic recipe. We served it last night for 5 guests, and all of them asked for the recipe. This time around, we put all spices and oil (used 1-2TBS of oil) in a large plastic bowl with lid, and shook it all around. It coated the cauliflower more evenly.

    Great, great, amazing recipe…for a sometimes bland vegetable. Thank you!

    • Reply
      August 1, 2014 at 1:57 pm

      You are so welcome! We’re so glad it was a hit! This is a favorite of ours :)

  • Reply
    February 19, 2017 at 11:30 pm

    What happens if I don’t use the sheet paper and put it straight onto the baking sheet? Trying this recipe out now! Super excited :)

    • Reply
      February 20, 2017 at 5:34 pm

      I hope it worked out! The parchment paper just helps the cleanup process :)

  • Reply
    October 3, 2017 at 8:15 pm

    Oh hell YEAH! This is wonderful. I’m scarfing it down right now. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Reply
      October 3, 2017 at 8:17 pm

      Woops, how did this come out only three stars? :-( I meant to give it five. Moderator, if you can fix this, please do! Otherwise, consider this my apology.

      • Reply
        October 5, 2017 at 8:09 pm

        Haha! It came out as 5 stars now. THANK YOU!!! So glad you loved it :)

  • Reply
    Leanne Lanham
    April 22, 2019 at 9:03 am

    We made this for Easter and everyone LOVED it and wanted the recipe. I freshly ground the coriander seeds and it was the perfect flavor. This one is definitely a KEEPER.

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