Roasted Parmesan Popcorn Cauliflower
This method of making cauliflower is how I got my daughter to start eating brassicas. Unlike my standard broccoli preparation of lightly steamed with melted cheese, I found she didn’t like cauli fixed the same way. Who knows these kids?
The hard florets just didn’t soften up enough, they weren’t the right texture for her kiddo taste buds. But once I roasted it with a nice salty umami hard cheese, she started popping it in her mouth like popcorn. I have it pictured above with my Garlic-Paprika Drumstick Platter.
This recipe is so easy to get a healthy veggie on the table. Cauliflower is part of the brassica family, which is one of the two families (along with alliums) that are considered THE healthiest family of veggies. They are anti-cancer and chock full of super goodness.
The easiest way to cut up a cauliflower is to quarter and de-core it. The core of a cauliflower goes all the way up through the head, unlike broccoli whose florets can be more easily cut off of the stem.
All you do is turn the head upside down on a cutting board and slice through it with a large chef knife – first in half then into quarters, from base down through the top. Once the head is in quarters, you can easily see and slice off the core. This will break apart many of the florets, and then you can finish it by continuing to cut any large florets into smaller, bite-sized pieces.
Give the florets a really good rinsing under cold running water in a colander. If you didn’t buy organic, consider soaking it in a salt water solution for 10 minutes.
Then move the florets to a mixing bowl. Add a drizzle of good avocado oil. I use avocado instead of olive oil because we’re roasting at 425, and that is above an olive oil’s smoke point (you don’t want oils to smoke, they become carcinogenic and you spoil the nutritional properties).
Avocado oil and butter/ghee are both stable at higher temperatures, making them ideal for roasting, grilling and stir-frying. I find that 1T of oil for an entire head is plenty sufficient (pictured here is a half head). Mix well with your hands, massaging them to coat the florets well with the oil.
I’ve arranged it here on a foil-lined baking sheet, but if you aren’t concerned about clean-up, skip the foil. They tend to stick more on foil than on the direct surface, even with the oil. What’s pictured here was half a head and a small sized cookie sheet, but this recipe is for a full head.
Give the whole thing a good sprinkling of your salt of choice, and stick it in the oven! In this recipe I added the parmesan at the start of roasting, but you can also wait until the last 5-10 minutes to add the cheese if you don’t want it quite so dark.
These guys are all ready to go:
I usually roast them at 425, stirring first after 10 minutes, then every 5-7 minutes until they’re blackened however much we like (which is quite a lot).
Roasting cauliflower is my and my family’s favorite way to eat it. It makes an excellent side dish that’s popular with everybody. Cauliflower also makes a great Meal Prep Building Block – it reheats well and goes great in grain and veggie bowls. They’re also the perfect size for a snack if you just want something noshable and savory. Make a bowl and head for the TV! It’s a fantastic alternative to popcorn, especially if you chop the florets up extra small.
I’m a little amused that in the photo below, there’s only half of the cauliflower left that I actually made. What can I say, that stuff disappears every time my back is turned! Can’t be too mad at the fam for “sneaking” cauliflower, right?
As I mentioned above, Cauliflower is part of the Brassica (Cruciferous) family. This family of vegetables has been shown in numerous studies to be anti-cancer and anti-heart disease champions. They are excellent for the immune system and great to eat when you’re sick or its flu and cold season. This is perfect timing because Brassicas, while generally available year-round, come fully into season in the autumn and winter months.
Cauliflower and all other Brassicas are also great detox foods, which makes them ideal to load up on after a hard night out or an impromptu weekend in Vegas. Not that any of us do that (wink wink).
If you are trying to step up your health or reverse certain diseases, focus your efforts on eating more Alliums, and more Brassicas.
Roast Parmesan Popcorn Cauliflower
Nutrition Per Serving