sunday lunch at adam's

While it’s true I’m easily persuaded about most things, whether it’s trying cookies without flour, taking trips to new places or realizing I’d been wrong all along about that crazy thing called meatloaf, you could still say there are a few fixed aspects of my nature, ones I don’t expect I’ll ever shake.

It’s hard to imagine a me that didn’t love the sky, for example, who didn’t stare at the clouds or gasp at a golden sunset. Would I still be myself if I didn’t notice the seasons change? I love the way my dad chuckles when he knows he’s wrong, the way my mom only shows her full grin when she’s laughing hard, how my younger brother is a better driver, planner and cook than I am. And really, I’ll always move towards relationships without pretense. That’s just who I am.

cauliflower chopped

Since they say a person is defined by what she really loves, you might as well also know, in that case, that I like fall leaves and fresh fruit and people who sacrifice without expecting anything in return. I want warm sunshine and broad daylight and to spend time with those who know me.

Also, and no less important, there is lemon.

roasted cauliflower in pan

I read about a chef a while ago, I wish I could remember which one, who said everything is better with a little lemon on it. That chef and I? We would be friends. Good friends. Drenched in lemon is how I like my green beans, my potatoes, my Greek chicken, even my fish. I know I’m not alone in this. When we were in Madison last month, Jacqui told me if she could have any fruit tree in her yard, she’d pick lemon. (If I weren’t already sure, this would have clinched the deal that we are friends.)

And now, I can also tell you, hands down, that with lots of lemon is also how I love my cauliflower.

roasted balsamic cauliflower at night

People. Have you had cauliflower this way? I know it’s barely a recipe. I mean, you mix chopped cauliflower with olive oil and lemon, throw on some salt and pepper, and roast it. That’s all. But the result? The result! It’s caramelized and salty and so good, you’ll be smacking your lips together, I promise. I made some for the first time three weeks ago, and then promptly went to the store the next day to buy another head, and then another two days later, and then another that I have in my fridge right now and am, would you believe this, saving it because I don’t want to waste it on a ho-hum night. You could say this is me changing again, the way I always do with food preferences, but I disagree: this is me being who I always was, someone who loves lemon. On everything.

Roasted Cauliflower

One head of cauliflower
Olive Oil
One lemon
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Wash and trim cauliflower, and chop it into same-sized pieces (like little trees!). Then, you can either toss the cauliflower with olive oil and salt and pepper in a bowl before arranging on a lined baking sheet, or you can lay all the cauliflower pieces on a lined baking sheet and cover with olive oil and salt and pepper. Your choice. Then generously squeeze lemon juice all over it all.

Stick in oven for about 40 to 50 minutes, tossing once or twice and adding more squeezes of lemon juice. It’s ready when the cauliflower has browned and withered—feel free to squeeze a little more lemon on top before eating.

Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 25 Comments

  1. tiina

    I happen to have a cauliflower head in my fridge. And I’m always feeling like a lot lemon and citrusy things when the spring comes. This sounds so good. Happy weekend!

  2. kate

    Roasting cauliflower has become my utmost favorite, and anticipated dish ever since I tried it for the first time many years ago. Lately though, it seems I just can’t get enough of it and have roasted half a head for myself at lunchtime. I know. Indulgent. But something happens to those lovely white chunks, and in the process of turning golden-brown almost become an alter ego to itself. Topped with some seasoned and browned panko crumbs, well…. I am almost at a loss for words. With lemon? I may be speechless.

  3. Maria

    Roasted cauliflower is one of those dreamy things. I was in DC about a month back and 2Amy’s had a version – lacy bits of cauliflower in a slurry of anchovy and lemon, studded with capers, still a little warm. It left a pool of sauce to sop up with bread, and my dinner date got to chuckle at my stream of exclamations. The cauliflower!

    And lemons, yes. My YiaYia would squeeze them over broccoli when we were little, with a little salt and olive oil, and I still do it this way, because lemons make everything better.

  4. Jacqui

    oh man. just thinking about that lemon tree makes my heart ache for one. hooray for roasted cauliflower with lemon!!! i could eat a whole head of the stuff in one sitting. i may or may not know this from experience. even murdo loves it! now that’s really saying something.

  5. Joanna

    You’ve convinced me :) I’m on my way to go get some cauliflower right now. I”ll let you know what I think.

  6. Tammy

    We are kindred spirits. I love lemon more than anything else in cooking. A lemon tree would be a Godsend!!

  7. Anne

    Oh! There is a great recipe that uses cauliflower, capers, crushed almonds. It is divine. It could be dinner tonight.
    I love that idea that you are defined by what you love. I am going to think about that today on my way to work.

  8. kickpleat

    I love lemon with everything too. Especially cauliflower. And there’s a place in this city that serves roasted lemony cauliflower up in a pita with lemon hummous and it’s amazing. Must buy some cauliflower soon!

  9. George Erdosh

    I do like cauliflower too and I usually blanch it quickly (4 minutes) and serve it plain with salt and seasoning. Your roasting idea gave me a new dimension (I haven’t thought of) in cauliflower cooking.
    In my area there is plenty of Meyer’s lemon trees and people keep giving me bagfuls of these–this way I can use some though, frankly, I prefer normal lemons. Meyer’s is a little sweet and does not quite have the bite of true lemon juice.
    George, author of What Recipes Don’t Tell You–from Appetizers to Zucchini

  10. Tim

    I don’t know… I just don’t know…

  11. Vicki

    Cauliflower has always been one of those veggies I only eat when drenched with cheese. Roasting sounds good though.

    Totally unrelated but I had to tell you that last weekend Chris and I cooked dinner together. I made beer battered fish tacos and Chris was in charge of the homemade chips and guacamole – both recipes from your blog. Oh my gosh, that was the best guacamole ever – just as good if not better than the original version from On The Border, which I believe the recipe is based on. Chris said the homemade chips was the easiest recipe out of all the ones he’s ever tried.

  12. Shannalee

    tiina, yay! I hope you love it like I do!

    Kate, You are among friends here. Not only have a couple people said similar things below, but listen: I can eat a whole head, NO PROBLEM. It’s shocking, really.

    Maria, I went to 2Amys last year! We had pizzas and an appetizer of croquettes with something yummmy inside, and I was impressed with the whole experience. No question, if they did it, it’d be good. Loved the image of you exclaiming over it on a date, too. We would get along well.

    Jacqui, Oh I ache for one too. And an avocado tree! And a garden! So Murdo likes this too, huh? Way to go you for turning him on to it (you had to be the one) and way to go him for being open to it! It’s easy to love.

    Joanna, Yesssss! Let me know what you think! Gotta get the juices all caramelized. That’s key.

    Tammy, Another lemon lover! I love it! Kindred spirits indeed.

    Anne, I like it too. And I really think it’s true. What you love will be what motivates you, moves you, takes up your time and your money and so on, you know?

    Kickpleat, I have been thinking about lemon hummus with lemon cauliflower in a pita all afternoon, since I read your comment, and oh my, my mouth is watering at the thought.

    George, Listen, if you like cauliflower blanched, you are far ahead of me in the vegetable-liking world, and it’s possibly you’ll prefer that pure way better, but just give roasting a chance. It’s incredible! I agree about Meyer lemons by the way – althoughhhh, at least one of the times up above, we used Meyer lemons, and it was quite good.

    Tim, Baffling. Utterly baffling.

    Vicki, Thanks so much for telling me that! I love that you guys cooked together and am so happy you liked “my” guacamole and chips. Easy is how I like recipes, for sure. In fact, a lot of times, I just mash an avocado with some sea salt (maybe lime juice if I have it) and eat that with chips. Sooo good. :)

  13. Kim

    YUM!!! Olive oil + salt and pepper + lemon is pretty much my favorite roasting situation. I usually add garlic powder too, and sometimes chili flakes.

  14. Nikki

    Simple food is best. I can’t wait to try this out.

  15. jessiev

    YUM. when i roast cauliflower, i usually end up pureeing it into a soup. lemon? no soup here. gotta make this today! thank you!!

  16. Joanna

    SO good. I was surprised. I’m not the biggest cauliflower fan, but I actually went out this afternoon and bought more to have tomorrow. It was that good. :)

  17. Shannalee

    Kim, ME TOO. I think I will like any vegetable done this way, or at least I always have so far!

    Nikki, Yes indeed.

    JessieV, Mmm cauliflower soup sounds so good for a snowy day like it is here in Chicago now!

    Joanna, Yesssss!!! I ate half a head again last night, and I’m already excited for the other half soon. I am so happy you agree!

  18. Sprout

    I agree, cauliflower takes on an unanticipated deep flavor when roasted. Such a nice, sweet surprise. Especially, when they get really toasted and caramely.

    I once tried to splash a bit of balsamic instead of lemon for the acid – WRONG idea. The clean color of the cauliflower gets muddied.

    Great idea for sharing such a recipe! Thanks.

  19. Jessica

    I’ve never had roasted cauliflower before! But it sounds delish. I’ve had it raw and in a soup and loved it. This is a great idea!

  20. Shannalee

    Sprout, Ha! One of the times that I made cauliflower over the last few weeks, I did a balsamic version and it was eh. Definitely doesn’t hold a candle to lemon!

    Jessica, oh you must try it! soooo good! and healthy!

  21. Niki

    I love roasted cauliflower and love lemon. I have never put the two together though… I think that would be a nice bright addition to the dish. Thanks! :)

  22. Shannalee

    Niki, The combination is killer. You have to try it!

  23. Janet

    I happened to spot purple and orange-colored cauliflower at the farmer’s market yesterday and followed your lead! Minus a bit of sticker shock (3 bucks a pound vs each) I forked over my green bucks and decided not to analyze it so much. So after a long day of work, going to the co-op and moving lots of boxes up several flights of stairs not including bags of large frames, this dish was the best way of settling down and unwinding . I kept popping open the oven door to check and it was done in about a 1/2 hour plus with Mad Men Season 2 starting, it wasn’t so much effort. I used a defrosted on the countertop frozen lemon (heh) plus olive oil and salt, no pepper (my kitchen’s a mess lately!) tossed and marinated and popped into the oven.

    It was finally at 9:30 the cauiflower was wilted enough to eat and I was able to sit down and take a moment to breathe. I enjoyed it so much I washed all the dishes afterwards. That’s a real treat!

  24. Shannalee

    Janet, Yeah! I am so happy it worked out for you, even at 9:30 PM and after a long day – I am so addicted!

  25. tschitschi

    I think I will have to try this too!

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