Holding a party and wish to make an impressive side dish for your guests? Look no further than roasting a whole head of cauliflower in the oven and basting it with mustard and parsley macadamia pesto sauce. Looks impressive but way easier than you think!
Everyone knows how versatile cauliflower is and this humble vegetable has been used a lot lately as substitutes for carbs. Like mash cauliflower instead of mash potato, cauliflower crust for pizza, cauliflower rice to replace white rice, roast cauliflowers with parmesan etc. I’ve also done my fair share of cauliflower recipes that I absolutely am in love with and have been regularly making them.
But which one is your favourite method? Are you sure you have you tried all kinds of cooking methods with your cauliflower?
Have you ever roasted the whole thing in the oven? I just tried it once and I love it so much. So delicious and easy to prepare. No more messy crumbs scattering on the cutting board when you try to cut into cauliflower to make some florets out of it. Not to mention the whole baked cauliflower looks much more impressive to be presented on the dining table rather than cutting them into small florets first.
This recipe has been in my wishlist for a long time and only got around to making it now. I’ve got my first inspiration for whole baked cauliflower after stumbling upon a recipe post from Goodfood about Whole Roasted Cauliflower by Neil Perry. To be honest I’ve never seen a cauliflower looked that good before! Then a few weeks later again I saw a recreation of this recipe on Instagram, created by @zeboy and he highly praised how delicious this turned out. I saved the recipe in my browser’s wishlist folder as it would be great for a crowd to share one big cauliflower together but as life turned busier and busier I completely forgot about it until recently I revisited some of my bookmarks and found this again.
Long story short. I’m glad I did it. And it’s never too late to try good things and sharing it with the world.
I used Neil Perry’s recipe as my guideline but tweaked it to add my own touch. For example he didn’t marinate the cauliflower prior to roasting it in the oven first but I rubbed some spices that I know will work well on the cauliflower and let it roast in the oven for almost an hour while letting the spice flavour gets infused into the whole baked cauliflower.
After the cauliflower has been taken out from the oven it produced this lovely char colour and the smell was absolutely fantastic. I couldn’t wait to dig in and try but it was not done yet. The whole baked cauliflower needs a good dressing to finish it off.
The dressing that I used was a mixture of mustard sauce and parsley and macadamia pesto. As expected they went so well with cauliflower. I feel so glad.
As an alternative you can also use chimichurri sauce or lemon juice and parsley dressing. Some recipes that I found on the internet used mustard and parmesan (Food Network) or just a simple butter and parsley dressing (KaraCarrero).
We happily devoured this with grilled chicken that night and there was still half a cauliflower left which was used again as a side dish for steak night the next day.
- 1 whole cauliflower head, leaves removed
- ½ cup of olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced finely
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp smoked paprika powder
- ½ tsp coriander seed
- ½ tsp fennel seed
- 3 tbsp mustard
- 3 tbsp parsley and macadamia pesto
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius.
- Mix the marinade ingredients in a small bowl and rub the marinade onto cauliflower head evenly until well coated. Place cauliflower on a baking tray and bake for 50 minutes.
- Mix mustard, pesto, olive oil and lemon juice in a small bowl. Remove cauliflower from the oven and brush cauliflower with mustard and pesto sauce evenly. Serve whole cauliflower with the remaining sauce in a separate serving sauce plate.