I’m convinced that if you take any vegetable, drizzle it with olive oil, sprinkle on salt and pepper, and throw it in the oven for 20 minutes, you’ll get some of the best-tasting veggies ever — with little to no effort. One vegetable in particular takes to this treatment especially well: cauliflower. Whenever I make a batch of the stuff, it disappears without preamble.
Well, with this Meatless Monday recipe, that roasted cauliflower gets a major update. Because what do you do if you want that roasted cauliflower to be your main dish as opposed to just a side? Why, you serve it with rice, of course! And you take that glorious roasted cauliflower and quickly stir-fry it with some onions, garlic, chili, ginger, and scallions.
This roasted cauliflower stir-fry is actually a riff on a dish we used to order in restaurants all the time in Beijing. It was usually brought out to the table in a miniature wok with a candle underneath it to keep it warm and to crisp up the cauliflower as it sat on the table. This version gets you similar results, but roasting the cauliflower first makes the process much easier.
Spooned over a pile of steamed rice, it’s a complete meal. Vegetarians will rejoice. (And so will die-hard carnivores).
Spicy Roasted Cauliflower Stir-Fry
1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
Salt and pepper
6 slices fresh ginger
1 small onion, thinly sliced
5 cloves garlic, sliced
2 scallions, cut into 2-inch lengths
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon sugar
Preheat oven to 450°F. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, spread out the cauliflower in a single layer and toss with 2 tablespoons oil. Season with salt and pepper, and roast until crisp and golden, about 30 minutes. Stir the cauliflower halfway through baking.
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in your wok over medium-high heat. Add the ginger and cook for 2 minutes until caramelized. Add the onion and garlic, and cook for another 2 minutes, making sure they don’t burn.
Turn up the heat to high, and add the cauliflower and scallions. Cook for 30 seconds and then add the crushed red pepper flakes (if using), sesame oil, Shaoxing rice wine or sherry, soy sauce, and sugar. Toss everything together, stir-frying for about 1 minute, and serve with steamed rice.
Originally posted October 2015.