This sweet and spicy cauliflower recipe is super simple. Just six ingredients that you probably have in your pantry will transform cauliflower into a dish you will be excited to put on a holiday table.
Cauliflower was not one of my preferred vegetables until I came up with this super simple recipe.
One important thing to know about vegetables is that with the right cooking method, the sweetness gets stronger and the vegetable more yummy. In my opinion, roasting is the best way to make most vegetables taste better. The roasting process caramelizes the sugars and makes it better! Enhance the sweetness with some maple syrup, add a little spice and salt and it’s something I REALLY want to eat.
Cauliflower is part of the cabbage family and cabbages are all on the bitter side. Kale, broccoli and Brussels sprouts are all part of that family too. That bitterness is why many of us don’t like those vegetables. So let’s go back to the basics of how to make food taste better and address that bitterness.
Our taste buds tell us that something tastes great when there is a balance between salt, sweet, bitter and sour. So to make cauliflower more appealing we’ll balance the bitter with sweet in the form of maple syrup (or your preferred sweetener) and salt.
Adding a hint of a spicy element like cayenne pepper, chili flakes or hot sauce will wake up your taste buds and amplify all those other flavors. Even if you don’t like spicy foods, just add a pinch of cayenne or red chile flakes and you’ll taste the difference without feeling the heat.
The cooking method is just as important as the flavors added. Roasting veggies is a perfect way to concentrate the flavor bring out the natural sweetness. The cauliflower florets are roasted with only a little oil and salt until they turn golden. The sweet and spicy glaze will go on after they are cooked. Cooking the cauliflower with the glaze makes it soggy.
Sweet and Spicy Cauliflower
- 1 head of cauliflower
- 2 Tbsps olive oil
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/3 cup pine nuts or chopped walnuts optional
Sweet and Spicy Glaze
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp agave or maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- Pre-heat the oven to 400°
- Remove the leaves from the cauliflower. Rinse it thoroughly.
- Cut the head in half right through the stem. Then cut out the thick stem to break the head into florets.
- Place the cauliflower florets in a large bowl and toss with the olive oil and salt.
- Place the cauliflower on a large baking sheet and spread out. Spreading the pieces out will allow for browning.
- Roast for 40 minutes.
- While the cauliflower is roasting, whisk the glaze ingredients together in a small bowl.
- Add the walnuts to the glaze and toss to coat.
- Add the glaze and nuts to the roasting pan for the final 5 minutes of cooking. Any longer and the nuts will burn. Serve immediately and enjoy!