I’ve been seeing whole-roasted cauliflower dishes and recipes all over the place lately. Restaurant menus, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. Name the food-friendly platform, and there’s probably a slew of whole roasted cauliflower recipes just waiting to be unearthed.
I took it as a sign from the universe and decided to try my hand at the method. Even if all those sightings sprung from nothing more than pure coincidence, there’s no denying the magic of this Tandoori Cauliflower Roast with Garlic-Cilantro Yogurt Sauce.
It’s flavorful, juicy, and tender with a level of delectability that will leave you in a frenetic cycle of fork-to-cauliflower-to-mouth motions.
And the garlic-cilantro yogurt sauce? Don’t even get me started. If no one was watching, I’d slurp the stuff up like chilled soup on a hot summer day. It’s zesty, garlicky, and cooling all at once.
To make this particular cauliflower roast, you’ll want to find yourself a medium-large head of cauliflower.
Admittedly, I initially set out on the hunt for an extra-large head of cauliflower, but those are near impossible to come by in the winter. After snooping around the produce section for a few minutes too long, I settled on the largest one I could find, which was just shy of two pounds.
If you happen to find a really large head of cauliflower, feel free to grab it. You’ll just want to increase the amount of tandoori-yogurt marinade (maybe 1 1/2 to 2 times the amount) and bump up the first roasting time from 45 minutes to an hour or so. It’s not an exact science, so feel free to get creative and use your best cooking judgment.
Once you’ve procured the cauliflower, trim away the leaves, slice off the knobby stem, and place the little (or big) guy in a dutch oven like so…
Make the tandoori marinade by blending together plain, unsweetened coconut yogurt, garlic, fresh lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil, and tandoori spices (i.e., smoked paprika, cumin, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, cayenne pepper, cloves).
Try not to be too intimidated by the length of the ingredient list—it’s mostly spices, promise. That said, if you have an intense desire to kick me in the shin for including so many spices in a single recipe, then please feel free to use your favorite pre-blended tandoori spice mixture. I’d start with a teaspoon or two, then taste and work your way up from there until you’re happy with the flavor.
Once the sauce is ready, pour it over the cauliflower.
Then, use your hands to rub the sauce evenly over the surface of the cauliflower, evenly coating the sides and bottom.
Cover and roast for 45 minutes (or longer if you’re using a larger head of cauliflower). Then, remove the lid, carefully spoon the sauce back over the surface, and continue roasting for another 20 to 30 minutes, or until golden-brown and tender.
If desired, sprinkle with chopped fresh cilantro.
While the cauliflower roasts, you’ll quickly prepare the yogurt sauce. Blend together unsweetened, plain coconut yogurt, cilantro, raw cashews, scallions, garlic, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, and sea salt until smooth.
Then, transfer to a jar, stir in more chopped fresh cilantro, and refrigerate. The sauce recipe makes enough for one extra-large cauliflower roast or two smaller roasts. It can be refrigerated for a few days or frozen for up to a month, so keep this in mind if you have leftovers.
Serve the cauliflower roast warm from the oven with plenty of the chilled garlic-cilantro yogurt sauce.
Tandoori Cauliflower Roast with Garlic-Cilantro Yogurt Sauce
A whole head of cauliflower is coated in a tandoori-spiced vegan yogurt sauce. Then, it's roasted until tender and golden and served with a green garlic-cilantro infused yogurt sauce. This dish makes a light dinner for two but can also be served as a flavorful appetizer for a group of four.
Tandoori Cauliflower Roast
- 2/3 cup unsweetened plain coconut yogurt
- 3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 medium-large head cauliflower (about 2 pounds), outer leaves removed
- Chopped fresh cilantro (optional garnish)
Green Garlic-Cilantro Yogurt Sauce
- 1 cup unsweetened plain coconut yogurt
- 1 cup stemmed cilantro leaves, divided
- 1/4 cup raw cashews*
- 2 scallions, trimmed and roughly chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
For the Tandoori Cauliflower Roast
Preheat the oven to 350F.
To a blender, add the coconut yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, paprika, sea salt, cumin, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, cayenne pepper, and cloves. Blend on high for 2 minutes, or until smooth and emulsified. Set aside.
Carefully trim away the knobby end of the stalk from the cauliflower and discard.
Place the cauilflower in a dutch oven, pour the yogurt mixture over top, and use your hands to spread it evenly over the surface of the cauliflower—be sure to coat the bottom, too!
Cover and roast for 45 minutes. Then, remove the lid and spoon any sauce drippings back over the cauliflower to coat. Continue roasting for another 20 to 30 minutes, or until tender and golden, spooning the sauce over the cauliflower again at the halfway point.
Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. Sprinkle with the chopped cilantro (if using).
For the Green Garlic-Cilantro Yogurt Sauce
Meanwhile, make the sauce. To a high-speed blender, add the yogurt, 1/2 cup of the cilantro as well as the cashews, scallions, garlic, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, and sea salt, and blend on high until smooth and creamy.
Transfer to a jar or bowl. Roughly chop the remaining 1/2 cup cilantro leaves and stir into the sauce.
Refrigerate until ready to serve. It will continue to thicken as it chills, so keep that in mind if you prefer a thicker sauce.
Slice the cauliflower and serve with the yogurt sauce.
This dish is best enjoyed fresh from the oven, but leftovers will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. Just be sure to store the cauliflower and sauce separately.
*If you're not using a high-speed blender (e.g., Blendtec, Vitamix, etc.), soak cashews in water for 2 hours or boil for 10 minutes to soften.