Melting Cauliflower

published Feb 17, 2024
Melting Cauliflower Recipe

The key to the very best cauliflower is to roast until golden before soaking it in a flavorful broth.

Serves2 to 4

Prep10 minutes

Cook40 minutes to 50 minutes

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overhead shot of roasted cauliflower on a sheet pan.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: Rachel Perlmutter

If you love roasted cauliflower (or are always on the lookout for new cauliflower recipes), you must try melting your cauliflower. Melting cauliflower takes inspiration from the brilliant technique used for melting potatoes. Hearty florets of cauliflower are roasted to a deep golden-brown, and then finished with a garlicky broth so that every bite is tender and full of flavor. Once you melt your cauliflower, you’ll wonder why all vegetables can’t taste this good. 

Why You’ll Love It

  • Why roast cauliflower when you can “melt” it? This technique delivers the caramelized flavor that comes from roasting, but every bite is so perfectly tender you’ll keep reaching for more. 
  • The flavors from Italian seasoning and ground coriander are incredibly versatile, so that you can serve this side dish with your favorite main dish. Plus, if you have a completely different taste in mind, it’s easy to mix up the herbs and spices, but use the same technique.

Key Ingredients in Melting Cauliflower

  • Cauliflower: Use your hands to break the cauliflower into florets to help keep them intact. Large (1 1/2- to 2-inch) pieces are best because they retain their texture without becoming too soft.
  • Italian seasoning: This mix of dried herbs often includes thyme, basil, rosemary, oregano, and marjoram. Buy it from the store or make your own Italian seasoning herb blend.
  • Ground coriander: This spice is the seed of the cilantro plant. While cilantro can be polarizing, coriander has a subtle flavor that is earthy and lemony.
  • Garlic: Smash garlic cloves with the flat side of your knife to easily remove the peel and open the clove so that it can infuse the broth with flavor.
  • Broth: This recipe was tested with both low-sodium vegetable and chicken broths, so rest assured that you can use either. 

How to Make Melting Cauliflower Recipe

  1. Coat cauliflower in seasonings. Combine the seasonings with melted butter (or use olive oil to keep it vegan) and toss with the cauliflower florets to coat. 
  2. Roast until golden-brown. Roasting at a high temperature — 450°F — helps the cauliflower turn a rich golden-brown.
  3. Add broth and cook until tender. Once both sides of the cauliflower have browned, add broth and garlic, then return to the oven so the florets can absorb those flavors.

What to Serve with Melting Cauliflower Recipe

Melting Cauliflower Recipe

The key to the very best cauliflower is to roast until golden before soaking it in a flavorful broth.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 40 minutes to 50 minutes

Serves 2 to 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 5 tablespoons

    unsalted butter, olive oil, or a combination

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    dried Italian seasoning

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    ground coriander

  • 3 cloves

    garlic

  • 1 medium head

    cauliflower (1 1/2 to 2 pounds)

  • 3/4 cup

    low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth

  • Chopped fresh parsley leaves, for serving (optional)

Instructions

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 450°F.

  2. If using unsalted butter, melt 5 tablespoons. Place the butter or olive oil in a large bowl. Add 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning, and 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander, and stir to combine. Set aside 1 tablespoon of the mixture. Smash and peel 3 garlic cloves.

  3. Remove the leaves from 1 medium head cauliflower. Cut in half and cut out the core. Break the florets into large (1 1/2- to 2-inch) pieces with your hands or a paring knife (about 5 cups). Add to the spice mixture and toss to coat.

  4. Transfer the cauliflower to a rimmed 9x13-inch metal baking pan (avoid glass, as it could shatter) or quarter rimmed baking sheet and arrange in a single layer. Drizzle any remaining spice mixture from the bowl over the cauliflower.

  5. Roast until the cauliflower is beginning to turn golden-brown on the bottom, 12 to 15 minutes. Flip the cauliflower and roast until deep golden-brown, 15 to 20 minutes more. Remove the pan from the oven.

  6. Flip the cauliflower again, then carefully pour 3/4 cup vegetable or chicken broth into the pan. Add the garlic. Return to the oven and roast until the cauliflower is tender and most of the broth is absorbed, 12 to 15 minutes. If needed, microwave the reserved spice mixture until melted. Drizzle the reserved spice mixture over the cauliflower. Top with chopped fresh parsley if desired.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.