New roasted cauliflower level unlocked! Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower is uncommonly crispy and very intensely flavored. Finely grated parmesan and garlic transform this super simple side into a real treat. 10/10. No notes. Would eat again. And again, and again…
Perhaps the least-illicit yet most-addictive substance known to man, parmesan roasted cauliflower has a tendency to disappear before it’s even left the baking sheet.
The texture is perfect (tender flesh with lots and lots of crispy li’l edges); the flavor is bold (think “salt and umami got together and had a subtly-sweet, nutty little baby”).
I could go on and on and on about cauliflower… and I have. Need to know how to cook cauliflower any way possible? I got you. New to cooking and need an in-depth tutorial for roasted cauliflower? Can’t stand to turn on the oven because it’s August? Try air frying it. Want to grill it? Enjoy these cauliflower steaks. I’ve got cauliflower recipes for days. Heck, I even wrote a cookbook about it.
So please understand that what I’m about to say comes from a place of deep love and respect – cauliflower, itself, will not make or break this dish…
It’s the Cheese, Baby.
The best cheese for parmesan roasted cauliflower is super finely grated parmesan. Yes, the powdery, dusty kind (but NOT the “shaky cheese” kind). This isn’t a snobby thing, it’s a cheese thing.
While the cellulose found in canned cheese isn’t inherently bad, it also isn’t inherently cheese. (Parmesan is just milk, salt, and rennet. Period.) So get yourself a tub of fresh grated 100% cheesy parmesan cheese.
BelGioioso and Galbani both sell good quality grated parmesan, or you can grate your own – Serious Eats recommends an old school box grater, not a microplane. Your cauliflower will thank you.
How to Make Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower
Oven roasted cauliflower is a classic veggie side. Crispy roasted Parmesan Cauliflower goes above and beyond. The most difficult part of this easy cauliflower recipe is prep – so we’ve got you covered with step-by-step instructions on cutting fresh cauliflower. Toss with finely grated parmesan, garlic, and olive oil, and bake until crispy.
- Divide a head of cauliflower into florets, then toss with olive oil until evenly coated. Add ⅓ cup parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, salt, and garlic powder. Toss again until the florets are evenly coated with cheese and spices.
- Arrange the florets in an even layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving space between each piece.
- Roast small florets for 30-35 minutes, or large for 40-45 minutes in a 425°F oven. Flip the florets once half-way through for even browning.
- Garnish with the remaining parmesan cheese and fresh herbs. Serve right away, and enjoy!
- Toss the florets with ONLY the olive oil first, then add the parmesan cheese and seasonings and toss again – this will prevent the parmesan from getting too clumpy.
- Do not use shredded or shaved parmesan cheese – finely grated is key! Look for whole ingredients when purchasing.
- We like to turn roasting vegetables using a fish turner! The wide, thin frame makes for quick and easy turning.
- The cauliflower is cooked through once the edges are golden brown and the stems are tender; you should be able to insert the tip of a paring knife into the stem and meet little resistance.
- Dust roasted cauliflower with a bit more grated parmesan cheese and fresh herbs just before serving for added flavor.
Variations and Substitutions
- Substitute half (about 3 cups) of the cauliflower florets with broccoli florets – just don’t mix-and-match fresh and frozen.
- This recipe easily doubles (it’s great for holidays and dinner parties!), but you’ll want to use two baking sheets. Rotate their positions halfway through roasting, at the same time that you flip the florets.
- Try grating your own cheese! A fresh block of parmesan grates easily using a the smallest holes on a box grater.
- Swap for pecorino or other Romano cheeses for a stronger finish.
- Go diavolo – add 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes for some extra heat.
How do You Make Roasted Cauliflower Crispy?
Four key factors come together to transform boring cauliflower into crispy little golden nuggets: the right cooking time, the right (amount of) space, the right temperature, and the right amount of oil.
✔️ Do not over-saturate your cauliflower florets with oil – the measurement in the recipe will get you the best results.
✔️ Roast on high heat. Set your temperature to 425°F and allow your oven to preheat all the way.
✔️ Follow the cook times in the recipe card based on the size of your florets. Wait to check for doneness only once you near the low end of the cooking time. Cauliflower won’t burn easily in the oven, so give it time.
✔️ Give the florets breathing room! Crowded cauliflower won’t successfully become roasted cauliflower, so leave a bit of space in-between each floret on the baking sheet.
What’s the Best Way to Chop Cauliflower?
Prepping a head of cauliflower is not nearly as daunting as it may seem, but if you don’t want a gigantic mess of cauliflower crumbs, we’ve got tips – and a whole post dedicated to the topic!
Grab a paring knife for making small cuts, make sure it’s sharp (dull knives can slip!), and make sure you’re cutting on a stable surface.
If you’re a visual learner, watch our video tutorial or follow along with our step-by-step photo guide.
What to Serve It With?
Parmesan roasted cauliflower works as a side dish with almost anything, but we especially love it with Italian-style dishes:
- Fold into pasta with a creamy pasta sauce.
- Pair it with an equally bold protein, like baked parmesan crusted chicken or creamy tomato basil chicken.
- If you’re low on oven space, try air fryer or grilled proteins, like air fryer steak or salmon, or grilled chicken or shrimp.
Did you make this parmesan roasted cauliflower? I’d love to know how it turned out! Leave a comment and a rating below.
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- 1 medium head cauliflower, divided into florets (about 6 cups)
- ¼ c olive oil
- ⅓ c grated parmesan cheese, plus 2 tbsp for garnish
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- Fresh chopped parsley or basil, optional
- Heat the oven to 425°F with a rack positioned in the bottom third. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Divide the cauliflower into florets, then transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add the olive oil, then toss until the cauliflower is well coated with the oil. Add ⅓ c parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, salt, and garlic powder. Toss well once again, until the florets are evenly coated with parmesan and seasonings.
- Arrange the florets in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet, leaving a bit of room in between each piece.
- Transfer to the oven and roast 30-35 minutes for small florets, or 40-45 minutes for larger florets. Remove the sheet from the oven once halfway through and flip the cauliflower to ensure even browning. The cauliflower is ready once the florets are golden brown and the stems are tender; you should be able to insert the tip of a paring knife into the stem and meet little resistance.
- Remove from the oven and garnish with the remaining parmesan cheese and fresh herbs, if using. Serve warm, right away. Enjoy!
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