The secret about cauliflower is definitely out these days, as people have turned it into pizza crusts, rice, breadsticks and even desserts, but sometimes, the simplest preparations are the best. Here, I simply take the whole cauliflower, gently rub it with garlic and drizzle it with oil, and cook it fully intact. The inside steams to a perfectly yielding texture while the outside develops a crisp, caramelized finish. The sauce, made from a quick blend of mint, parsley and pepitas (or pumpkin seeds), is incredibly fresh and crisp, a burst of nature’s bounty on your tongue.
Whole Roasted Cauliflower With Mint Parsley Pepita Sauce [Vegan, Gluten-Free]
For the Cauliflower:
- 1 head cauliflower (you can use purple, orange or white - the flavor is roughly the same)
- 1 clove garlic
- 5 sprigs of fresh thyme, stems removed
- 4 tablespoons high heat oil (I used avocado, but ghee and coconut would both work well)
- Sea salt
For the Parsley-Mint Pepita Sauce:
- 1 packed cup fresh parsley, woody stems (about bottom 1-inch) removed
- 1 packed cup fresh mint, stems removed (you want to remove the full stems, as mint stems are very bitter)
- 3/4 cup pepitas
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon tamari
- 4 cloves raw garlic, peeled with ends chopped off
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 3 teaspoons agave nectar
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Wash your cauliflower, pull off any excess leaves and trim the bottom so it sits flat in a large, oven-safe pan or pot (ideally, you'll use a deep pot with room to cover with a lid, but you can also use a shallower pan and make a loose foil hat). Peel garlic clove and cut in half, then rub garlic all over cauliflower surface. Drizzle with high heat oil, rubbing it around so that it's evenly coated, then sprinkle with salt and thyme. Cover either with lid or by forming a loose foil hat (you don't want the foil to touch the cauliflower) and bake for 30 minutes, then uncover and cook for 30 more minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, make the sauce by putting all ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulsing until mostly smooth, with a rough texture. Add more olive oil, a tablespoon at a time, if it's not blending into a unified consistency.
- To serve, drizzle or spoon sauce onto cauliflower, and slice into 2-inch thick slices.