A head of cauliflower is an impressive thing. Delicate yet sturdy, appealingly brain-like, pale, textured, and nestled in darling little leaves. Most cauliflower recipes call for chopping, or even mincing the florets to resemble rice, but roasting the vegetable whole makes for an elaborate-looking and substantial dish that’s simple enough for a weekday dinner, but attractive enough to hold it’s own on a fancy occasion. This recipe for Dijon Rosemary Whole-Roasted Cauliflower has an aromatic bite from prepared dijon mustard mixed with garlic and fresh rosemary, a satisfyingly crunchy coating, and a tender, pull-apart interior.
Through a peculiar series of events, J and I (and the cats) are currently living with my step-grandfather-in-common-law. He’s a former professional football player-turned-neurosurgeon, now in his mid-80’s, and is generally a fan of things like prepared cabbage rolls, overcooked sausage, and liver pate in a plastic tube (what is that, even!? and why is it in my vegetable crisper?!). But if I make dinner (which I do every night), he’s generally interested. He partook of this cauliflower – and the braised kale and lemon pearl couscous served alongside it – and proclaimed in complete shock that he liked it. Why is it that the smallest victories are the sweetest?
While I used panko breadcrumbs to give a satisfying crust, regular breadcrumbs or gluten-free cracker crumbs could easily be subbed in. Keeping the cooking dish tightly covered is important for keeping the moisture in and cooking the head evenly – I’d recommend a dutch oven. Serve this whole-roasted cauliflower with veggies, a citrusy grain or pasta, a big glass of wine, and enjoy while watching football with your 85-year-old roommate.
- 1 head cauliflower
- 3/4 cup vegetable broth or water
- 1/4 cup dijon mustard
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, minced
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 tsp dried Italian herbs
- 2 tsp nutritional yeast (optional)
- salt & pepper
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- To prepare the cauliflower, remove all leaves and trim the stem until it flush with the lower florets and the head can sit flat. Place in a dutch oven and pour vegetable broth over and around the head.
- In a small bowl, mix together dijon, garlic, and minced/chopped rosemary. Rub the mixture all over the cauliflower, allowing it to slip between the florets where possible. You can use a brush to make this job easier, but precision isn't really necessary.
- In another bowl, mix together breadcrumbs, dried herbs, optional nutritional yeast, and salt and pepper. Sprinkle the dry mixture onto the cauliflower, pressing as you go to stick the crumbs into the dijon paste.
- Cover the dutch oven and bake for approximately 1 hour. The cauliflower should be very tender and a little tricky to handle.
- Dried Italian herbs include marjoram, basil, parsley, oregano, and thyme, among others. Use what you have on hand, or you can use a pre-made mix.