Cheese-Crusted Roasted Cauliflower

From The Heart of the Plate: Vegetarian Recipes for a New Generation

4 servings

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Cauliflower enjoys the broadest acceptable texture range of just about any vegetable. When spanking fresh, it’s always delightful raw: crunchy white puff balls as a very satisfying crudité. And at the extreme other end, cauliflower is also brilliant when boiled and mashed.  In this recipe, the high-temperature roasting process allows cauliflower to become simultaneously fork tender and chewy, with delicately crisp surface points surprising you at random. The cheese crust helps greatly.




1-2 tablespoons olive oil

A 2-pound cauliflower, trimmed and broken or cut into in small (3/4-inch) pieces (about 8 cups)

2 cups minced onion

1/4 cup (possibly more) grated fontina or sharp cheddar—or shredded parmesan

1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

Black pepper


Optional Enhancements

• Sprinkle some toasted breadcrumbs over the cauliflower after they come out of the oven.

• Include a thickly sliced carrot.

• Swap in some broccoli - solo, or in combination with the cauliflower.

    1. Heat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking tray with parchment or foil, and slick it with a tablespoon or two of olive oil. (You can use a chunk of cauliflower to spread the oil.)
    2. Arrange the cauliflower pieces on the tray, sprinkle them with the minced onion, and place the tray in the center of the preheated oven. After 15 minutes, shake the tray –and/or use tongs— to loosen and redistribute the pieces —gently, so they won’t pop off the tray.
    3. Roast for another 5 to 10 minutes—until the cauliflower is becoming uniformly golden—then push everything together in the center of the tray, keeping it a single layer. Sprinkle evenly with your chosen cheese.
    4. Roast for 10 or so minutes longer, or until the cheese is thoroughly melted, forming an irresistible golden crust. Remove the tray from the oven, and season with salt and pepper. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.
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