Impress your dinner guests or enhance your weeknight dinner with this surprisingly easy Baked Whole Cauliflower with Lemon Tahini Sauce. Made with keto, paleo, gluten free, and vegan ingredients, the Mediterranean flavors in this impressive dish are completely irresistible!Jump to Recipe
Baked whole cauliflower recipe
It’s no secret that I’m a BIG fan of cauliflower. The roasted florets are so deeply flavored all on their own but only get better when mashed up or seasoned with a lemon tahini dressing. Could it be the most perfect and versatile vegetable ever?
On the lazy nights where you need a simple dinner with show-stopping flavors, you can trust this Baked Whole Cauliflower with Lemon Tahini Sauce. The cauliflower head itself is seasoned with 5 simple spices before being roasted in the oven. Finish it off with the simple, yet delicious, lemon tahini garlic sauce, and enjoy!
This recipe is just like my Roasted Cauliflower Salad but transformed into an impressive dish that can easily be served as a main or side. Try it next to all of your favorites, like healthy salad and grains or meaty and filling dinners!
Whole roasted cauliflower ingredients
- Cauliflower head – Use a large cauliflower head if you plan on serving this to a crowd. A medium head will take less time to cook and should feed about 4 people.
- Olive oil – Don’t skip it! Oil or melted butter will tenderize and soften the cauliflower in the oven.
- Lemon juice – Used to dress the cauliflower and give each bite plenty of brightness.
- Seasonings – Smoked paprika, salt, garlic powder, and cumin are mixed together with the oil and lemon juice. The simple flavors penetrate and tenderize the cauliflower, giving it a real boost of flavor!
- Tahini sauce – Made from tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and water. It’s so easy and really brightens up each bite!
How to make a whole roasted cauliflower head
This recipe is quite easy, making it one of the best vegetarian dinners or side dishes anyone can prepare. The cauliflower does take some time to roast in the oven, but you can use this time to prepare delectable side dishes, like parmesan polenta or lemon orzo with corn. Here’s how it’s done:
- Prepare the cauliflower: Remove the woody bottom from the cauliflower head. It should remain intact but lay flat when placed on a flat surface. Remove any green leaves. Place the head upside down on the baking sheet.
- Combine the seasonings: Whisk the oil, lemon juice, and spices together in a bowl. Pour some of the dressing into the cauliflower crevices, then turn it right side up and brush the rest on top.
- Bake: Bake the cauliflower head until it’s fork tender.
- Make the lemon tahini sauce: Whisk all of the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl. You can thin it out with a little water if needed, then pour it onto a serving platter.
- Garnish and serve: Place the roasted whole cauliflower on top of the sauce on the platter. Garnish with cilantro or parsley, slice into wedges, and serve.
Customize the flavors
Experiment with this recipe using fun and inventive flavor combinations. Get started with any of these suggestions:
- Garlic herb butter and parmesan: Brush some garlic herb and anchovy compound butter on top and finish the cauliflower with a generous sprinkle of parmesan cheese.
- Taco seasoning: Dress the cauliflower in oil and homemade taco seasoning. Finish it with cilantro, yogurt lime crema, and cotija cheese on top.
- Miso glaze: Add some Asian-inspired flavors to the cauliflower with this simple miso glaze.
- Fresh sauces: Swap the tahini sauce for pesto, romesco sauce, gremolata sauce, or chimichurri.
Frequently asked questions
How long does it take to roast a cauliflower head?
With the oven at 400ºF, a large head of cauliflower should take anywhere from 45 to 55 minutes to bake. Just remember: the larger the cauliflower, the longer it’ll take to cook.
Why is my roasted cauliflower mushy?
This roasted cauliflower recipe does need a good amount of oil to soften and tenderize the entire head. If you happen to use too much oil or replace it with water or veggie broth, then this could make your cauliflower mushy.
What goes well with roasted cauliflower?
Because this recipe is so light and healthy, you can serve it with an abundance of side dishes. The flavors are reminiscent of the Mediterranean, so be sure to include a Mediterranean chopped salad on the side along with fresh focaccia bread. Plate the cauliflower over a bed of creamy parmesan polenta for extra filling bites and drizzle the lemon tahini sauce on top.
Can you store leftover roasted cauliflower?
The sliced and roasted cauliflower is best when it’s eaten fresh, but you can store the leftovers for later. Either wrap the leftover cauliflower head or keep the florets in an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Tools for Baked Whole Cauliflower with Lemon Tahini Sauce
Looking for more healthy dinners to try?
- Grilled Chicken Kabobs with Vegetables
- Oven Baked Gremolata Salmon
- Loaded Cauliflower Soup
- Easy Sushi Poke Bowls
Did you try this Baked Whole Cauliflower with Lemon Tahini Sauce? Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below and giving this recipe a rating! Don’t forget to take a picture tag me on Instagram or use #lenaskitchenblog to be featured in my stories! I love seeing what you come up with!
Baked Whole Cauliflower with Lemon Tahini Sauce
- Preheat the oven to 400 F. Either use a baking dish or line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cut the bottom part of the cauliflower so it lays flat on the baking dish/sheet pan. Making sure to keep the head intact. Remove the green leaves. Place upside down on a baking dish/sheet pan.
- In a bowl, whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, and all the spices together until smooth.
- Pour ⅔ rds of the mixture into crevices of upside-down cauliflower. Flip right side up and brush the top evenly with remaining oil, making sure every bit of the cauliflower is covered
- Bake until fork tender, it can take anywhere between 35-55 minutes, or until desired texture.
- While cauliflower is roasting, whisk together all the tahini sauce ingredients until smooth. It will look chinky at first, continue whisking and add a teaspoon of water at a time to thin it out until you reach desired consistency.
- Add tahini sauce on a platter, add whole cauliflower, garnish with freshly chopped cilantro or parsley, and serve warm.