Whole Roasted Cauliflower on a metal platter with a side of chimichurri
4.86 from 41 votes

The Best Whole Roasted Cauliflower (5 Ingredients!)

The secrets to a perfect whole roasted cauliflower with two spice options, easy-to-follow methods, and serving ideas! A flavorful, wholesome alternative entrée or festive appetizer. Just 5 ingredients required!
Author: Minimalist Baker
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings: 4
Category: Appetizer, Entree
Cuisine: Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly No
Does it keep? 4 Days



  • 1 large head cauliflower
  • 2 Tbsp avocado oil (or melted coconut oil // if oil-free, sub water )
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 2 Tbsp shawarma spice blend (or curry powder* or a blend of similar spices // plus more for exterior)
  • 1-2 tsp harissa paste (optional // reduce for less spice // increase for more spice)
  • 2 tsp maple syrup (if avoiding sugar, omit)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt (plus more for exterior)

FOR SERVING optional


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (204 C). Also fill a small baking pan halfway with water and set on the floor (bottom) of the oven. This will provide steam to help the cauliflower cook more evenly.
  2. Rinse and dry the head of cauliflower and carefully cut off the bottom stalk without removing too much of the core. You want the entire head intact for baking. Peel away any remaining green leaves and place in a cast-iron skillet (or other oven-safe pan).

  3. In a mixing bowl, mix together avocado oil or melted coconut oil, water, shawarma spice blend, harissa paste (optional), maple syrup, and salt. Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more shawarma for smoky flavor, harissa paste (optional) for spiciness, maple syrup for sweetness, or salt for more intense overall flavor.

  4. Flip your cauliflower upside down and pour on most of the sauce. Let the sauce pour down the core, shake it around so it infuses the center, and then flip the cauliflower over and use a brush to rub the leftover sauce (including any that seeped into the pan) all over the exterior for maximum flavor. Place cauliflower core-side down before baking and add an extra pinch of salt and spice blend to the exterior for extra flavor.

  5. Place skillet in oven and roast for 35-50 minutes (depending on size of cauliflower) or until a knife easily pierces the core. If you prefer softer cauliflower, then roast for longer. For cauliflower with a little bite, roast for less time.
  6. To brown the exterior, increase heat to high broil and roast 2-4 more minutes, watching carefully as not to burn.

  7. Remove from oven and enjoy as is or garnish with desired sauces and sides. We went for quinoa cooked with curry powder.
  8. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator up to 4 days. Reheat in a 350-degree F (176 C) oven until hot.


*To prepare quinoa, add 1 cup uncooked (rinsed) quinoa to a saucepan and toast for 3 minutes on medium heat. Then add 1 3/4 cups water and stir. Bring to a boil over high heat. Then reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 18-20 minutes or until liquid is fully absorbed. To infuse with flavor, add salt and preferred spices when you add the water.
*If opting for curry powder, use this DIY Curry Blend or store-bought.
*Inspired by our Shawarma Roasted Cauliflower Steak and The New York Times Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Almond Herb Sauce
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without optional serving ingredients.

Nutrition Per Serving (1 of 4)