Whole Roasted Cauliflower with 5 Different Spice Rubs

This might be the only cauliflower recipe you’ll ever need. It’s quick to prepare and almost completely hands off (and that’s not even the best part). The best part(s) are those crispy, crunchy almost-charred bits on the bottom of the pan that will make you love cauliflower like never before. Nom Nom Paleo perfected the base recipe here. But I wanted to take it up a notch. So I spiced it up a bit, with 2 flavorful (and super simple) spice rubs for you to choose from plus 3 additional spices to try. And if you can’t decide, why not add all 5 like I did here? It’s a glorious feast for the tastebuds.

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Whole Roasted Cauliflower with a Twist

Base recipe by Nom Nom Paleo; Spice rubs by Andrea Branchini


  • 1 head of cauliflower, cored, leaves removed, left whole
  • 2-3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Spices (see ideas below)
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cups broth, for pan


How To Make It

  1. With a rack in the center position, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Rinse the cauliflower and pat dry with paper towels. Brush the cauliflower with oil on all sides to coat well. Season generously all over with Kosher salt.
  2. Place cauliflower in a cast-iron skillet, florets-side up, and cover tightly with foil. Bake, covered, for 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and carefully remove the foil. At this stage you can add the spices. Carefully coat the cauliflower florets with the spices. Add about 1 inch of broth to the bottom of the pan so the spices that fall to the pan don’t burn.
  3. Return to oven and roast, uncovered, until cauliflower begins to brown, 45-55 minutes, checking occasionally to see if more broth needs to be added (try to keep it around the 1-inch mark, if possible).
  4. Once cooked, transfer the entire head of cauliflower to a platter. Slice and serve with the brothy-spiced “gravy” drizzled over it and a sprinkling of fresh herbs for garnish. A squeeze of lime never hurt either.



Here are 5 super simple spice rubs to take this whole roasted recipe to the next level!

Exotic & Spicy : 1 Tbsp Harissa powder, 1/2 tsp garlic powder


Smokey Sweet : 1 Tbsp smoked paprika, 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp ground ginger

Or simply sprinkle on a generous helping of these standbys:

Curry powder : about 2 Tbsp. Choose your favorite curry powder and sprinkle it on 1 Tbsp at a time until florets are well coated.


Za’atar : about 2 Tbsp. This Middle Eastern spice blend is so good on cauliflower. Sprinkle on 1 Tbsp at a time until florets are well coated.


Pepper : fresh ground pepper or crushed pink peppercorns, to taste. Sometimes a simple salt and peppery roasted veg is all you need. Coat all over in extra pepper and dig in.

Leave a comment and let me know your favorite spice rubs!

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