This is probably the easiest way to prepare cauliflower ever, and it’s just about the tastiest that I can think of.
To be honest, it’s hard to even call this a recipe, since it’s so ridiculously simple. But the flavor and abundant herbaceousness will have everyone you serve it to asking how to make it.
Using multi-colored cauliflower is my favorite way to serve up this easy side dish because the florets pop with gorgeous color. The orange, the purple, and the white all complement each other so well, making it just right to brighten up whatever you are serving for dinner.
The look of this dish is always a winner, even if you are just using the standard white variety in the event that you can’t find all three colors of the vegetable. Romanesco broccoli with its bright green hue and fractal-shaped florets would make a nice addition as well!
However, it’s the flavor of the citrus paired with the cauliflower that really puts this side dish over the top. The lemon juice and zest provide a double dose of bright, acidic flavor that brings out the savory richness of the vegetables.
When you pair all of this with freshly chopped basil, parsley, and thyme, you are in for a really special treat. The fresh herbal flavor combined with bright lemon is like a burst of spring in every single bite.
This side dish is fantastic to serve up with a wide variety of entree options. You can serve it with legumes, beef, pork, fish, or chicken, and it will go well with all of them. It’s healthy and filling, with a bright citrus flavor to lighten it up.
Plus, it’s just about the easiest side dish you could ever make. Really. Essentially, you just combine the chopped veggies with olive oil, herbs, lemon juice and zest, salt and pepper. Then you spread the mixture out on a baking sheet and roast the vegetables until they are nice and browned.
I love how the cauliflower gets a little caramelized as you roast it, giving it an extra special flavor with a touch of sweetness in every single bite.
Keep this recipe in your back pocket for any weeknight. I like to keep a head of cauliflower and a couple of lemons, along with my favorite fresh herbs, in the refrigerator for the days when I need a last minute side dish.
It even makes for a great light lunch with a small side salad. Rich in vitamins C, K, and B6, potassium and manganese, dietary fiber and some protein as well as healthy phytonutrients, this cruciferous vegetable fits right in to any healthy diet.
If you can’t find all three colors, try combining just the white type with broccoli for an easy substitution that will give you a delicious variation on that roasted vegetable flavor. After all, they’re both cultivars of the same species (Brassica oleracea) so they go hand in hand.
Admittedly, this is coming from someone who loves lemon, but I swear I am not biased when I say this lemony side dish is the best way to get a fresh burst of sunshine on your dinner plate.Print
With an acidic burst of citrus, this is a side dish that goes well with every entree. And multicolored veggies make it festive and fun.
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Wash and trim cauliflower, chopping the florets into small equally-sized pieces.
- Add cauliflower to a large bowl with olive oil, parsley, basil, and thyme. Toss to combine, making sure the florets are coated evenly with the oil and herbs.
- Spread the mixture onto a large rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper in an even layer. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and lemon zest. Squeeze lemon juice over the vegetables.
- Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, tossing halfway through cooking.
- Once the cauliflower has browned and is cooked through, remove from the oven. Serve immediately with an extra sprinkle of freshly chopped parsley.
Adapted from a recipe by Shanna Mallon.
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Prep and Measure Ingredients
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Using a microplane or zester, zest one lemon, and then juice it, along with the second lemon. You can also wait to squeeze the citrus over the vegetables in step 4, if you like. Be sure to remove any seeds.
Measure the remaining ingredients.
Step 2 – Season
Add the cauliflower to a large mixing bowl with the olive oil, parsley, basil, and thyme.
Toss to coat evenly.
Step 3 – Spread
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Spread the mixture out on the baking sheet in an even layer.
Step 4 – Final Seasoning
Sprinkle the vegetables with the salt, pepper, lemon zest, and lemon juice.
Step 5 – Bake
Place the baking sheet in the oven and roast the veggies for 40 to 50 minutes.
Halfway through baking, toss the cauliflower so it browns evenly.
Step 6 – Garnish
Garnish with an extra sprinkle of freshly chopped parsley, and serve warm.
A Burst of Lemon Brightens Up Any Vegetable
Cauliflower is only the beginning when it comes to using lemon to bring out the bright flavor of fresh vegetables. And roasting vegetables at any time of year is a great way to bring out the richness of seasonal produce.
You can actually use this basic recipe with the same amount of many other types of vegetables. Consider trying any of the following with the cooking times noted below:
- Asparagus – 10 to 20 minutes
- Broccoli – 15 to 25 minutes
- Brussels Sprouts – 15 to 25 minutes
- Carrots – 30 to 45 minutes
- Green Beans – 10 to 20 minutes
- Potatoes – 30 to 45 minutes
- Zucchini – 10 to 20 minutes
Would you start by trying multi-colored brassica veggies, or another type of vegetable? Tell us in the comments below. And if you make this recipe, be sure to rate it so other readers will know how delicious it is!
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Photos by Meghan Bassett, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on March 19th, 2010. Last updated: May 18, 2018 at 22:21 pm. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Meghan Bassett
Meghan Bassett is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.