Farm To Table | Healthy Recipes | Sides & Casseroles

Colored Cauliflower Recipe

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Are you looking to add some vibrant colors to your dinner plate? Check out this delicious colored cauliflower recipe that’s as visually stunning as it is tasty, making it a perfect addition to any meal!

Colorful roasted cauliflower in a white bowl.Pin
Roasted Colored Cauliflower

In less than 30 minutes, you can have a healthy, flavorful vegetable that the whole family loves! Even those self-proclaimed vegetable haters will come back for more.

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Who can resist colorful foods? They are so much more fun to eat especially when it comes to cauliflower. Who wouldn’t want to eat these roasted that are a treat for the eyes and the palate, rather than plain or boring blanched cauliflower?

Don’t get us wrong, we love white cauliflower but even your kids will want to eat these beauties!

We adore farmers markets in the fall. The vibrant colors of squash, cauliflower, grapes, apples and greens are a feast for the eyes and the taste buds. In the northeast fresh cauliflower is typically found in the fall, although in warmer climes, such as California, they can be found all year long.

They can usually be found in higher-end grocery stores, in our area, Wegmans and Whole Foods have them beginning in mid-August to late September. You can’t usually find all of the colors available at the same time.

What makes cauliflower different colors?

Certain chemicals and nutrients play a role in the color of any plant, fruit, or vegetable.

Older varieties of white cauliflower turned yellow if exposed to the sun. These older varieties had to be blanched when growing. This involved tying the inner leaves together to protect the tender vegetable from the sun.

Newer varieties that have been bred are referred to as self-blanching. Their inner leaves hug the head more closely to protect it from the sunlight.

The phytochemicals that are responsible for the beautiful colors of newer cauliflower varietals that are available are as follows:

  • For red or purple plants, in this case, the purple cauliflower, the chemicals are called anthocyanin. Anthocyanins are a powerful antioxidant, like those found in all red and purple foods, such as blueberries and raspberries.
  • Carotenoids are responsible for the orange color of the orange varieties. These are a genetic mutation that allows the cauliflower to store more beta-carotene and were discovered in Canada.
  • Green cauliflower, known by Romanesco and broccoflower, is a cross between broccoli and cauliflower. It also holds more beta-carotene than white cauliflower.

Why this recipe works

Finished cauliflower on baking tray.Pin

This is such a great way to prepare cauliflower for lots of reasons.

  1. The cauliflower becomes browned and caramelized around the edges, so it finishes with a nice nutty flavor.
  2. It is so easy and a great hands-off recipe to prepare when doing a feast when you have lots of dishes to get done at the same time.
  3. It is very versatile. You can prepare this cauliflower with different spices that pair with lots of different ethnic themes. (See suggestions below.)

What you need

  • Cauliflower: Any cauliflower you have on hand is fine; white, gold, purple, even green Romanseco cauliflower is excellent. To make the dish extra pretty, use them all.
  • Olive oil: The best choice is extra virgin olive oil.
  • Salt and Pepper: Kosher Salt, Pink Salt, or Sea Salt. And coarse black pepper.

Optional toppings

  • Parmesan cheese: Freshly grated.
  • Spices and herbs: Any combination of the following spices works well;
    • Cumin and Chili Powder (will go great with a Mexican Feast!)
    • Curry Powder or Ras el Hanout (use melted coconut oil instead of olive oil. Use lime zest for garnish. Great for an Indian-themed dinner!)
    • Basil, oregano, and parsley. Add some lemon zest at the end to garnish. (Perfect for an Italian party!)
    • Herbes de Provence. Add some dried cranberries at the end for garnish. (Make this version with more rich French-themed gatherings)
    • Freshly chopped mint and garlic cloves with zested lemon and sprinkled lemon juice is delicious, too.

How to make it

How to cut cauliflower

Wash the head and cut off any blemishes or brown spots on the florets. Cut the leaves off of the cauliflower to expose the core.

Some of the leaves removed from the inside of the cauliflower core.Pin
Cut the leaves off of the core to expose.

Cut out most of the core.

The core cut out of the middle of the cauliflower.Pin
Cut most of the core out.

The individual cauliflower florets should be cut off of the remaining core. Then, cut those into bite-sized florets.

Cauliflower head cut into florets.Pin
Cut off individual florets and then cut them into bite-sized pieces.

Bring a pot of water to boil. Blanch the individual colors of vegetables for about five minutes separately. The white first, then the orange or green. Then use new water and blanch the green or orange next. Lastly, blanch the purple.

Spray the baking tray with non-stick cooking spray.

Drizzle the cauliflower with olive oil and sprinkle on salt and pepper to season. Place on the prepared baking tray. Roast at 450°F/220°C for about 15 minutes until slightly charred and done to your liking.

Colorful cauliflower in a white bowl.Pin

What to do with cauliflower scraps?

Don’t toss your cauliflower scraps; make this Easy Vegetable Stock from kitchen scraps!

What spices can you use?

If you want a change of flavorings, try using these combinations;

  • Lemon and Parmesan
  • Garlic and Parmesan
  • Lemon and Herb
  • Smoked paprika and Garlic
  • Turmeric and Cumin

Pro tips

  • We prefer to blanch the cauliflower briefly rather than roast it all the way through. They maintain their gorgeous color better.
  • When blanching the cauliflower, blanch the colors separately so that the colors don’t leach into the water and ruin the beauty of the other colors, especially the purple, which will stain the water blue.

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Fork spearing a piece of purple cauliflower.Pin
Colored Cauliflower Recipe

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That’s how easy it is to make this oven-roasted colored cauliflower. Thanks for stopping by today!

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Colorful roasted cauliflower in a white bowl.Pin

Colored Cauliflower

Oven Roasted Cauliflower is an easy vegetable side dish to make for the holidays, or just any weeknight! This cauliflower takes about 5 minutes to prepare, and the oven does the rest!

See Step by Step Photos Above!Most of our recipes have step by step photos and videos! Also helpful tips so that you can make it perfectly the first time and every time! Scroll up to see them!
5 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 45kcal
Author: Beth Neels
Cost: $3

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Cut cauliflower into bite sized pieces. (See post above for photos to help you with this task)
  • Blanch cauliflower for 5 minutes, separating the colors, so the colors don't bleed together.
  • Place into large bowl. Toss with oil, salt and pepper.
  • Place cauliflower on greased rimmed baking sheet. Roast at 425°F for about 20 minutes, turning occasionally, until soft and caramelized on the edges.
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Notes

See post above for tips on how to cut up the cauliflower.
Make sure cauliflower is well coated with oil.
You can use different spices to change the flavor profile of this recipe. Try some of the following;
  • Cumin and Chili Powder (will go great with a Mexican Feast!)
  • Curry Powder or Ras el Hanout (use melted coconut oil instead of olive oil. Use lime zest for garnish. Great for an Indian themed dinner!)
  • Basil, oregano and parsley. Add some lemon zest at the end to garnish. (Perfect for an Italian party!)
  • Herbes de Provence. Add some dried cranberries at the end for garnish. (Make this version with more rich French themed gatherings)

Nutrition

Calories: 45kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 0.4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 223mg | Potassium: 288mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 0.5IU | Vitamin C: 46mg | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 0.4mg
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10 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    So yummy! And I love your tips to reduce food waste and use up the cauli scraps. Thanks for another fabulous recipe 🙂

  2. 5 stars
    I love oven roasted cauliflower! This is a great and easy recipe to make and definitely going on my weekly list.

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