Pesto-Roasted Whole Cauliflower with Creamy Garlic Sauce is an easy, yet impressive vegetarian main or side dish—tender, meaty, and so satisfying.Let me start by stating that I've never been more excited for April to arrive.
Growing up in Florida, April always meant daily rain showers and peak humidity. However, here in Colorado it brings the hope of 70-degree days and our last few snows of the season.
With the warmer weather finally emerging, I'm craving fresh takes on veg classics. Cauliflower has certainly proved its versatility by now, however I'll always love it most when simply roasted.
How Do You Roast a Whole Cauliflower?
It's actually just as easy as roasting florets, but takes on entirely new character. Think, creamy and tender on the inside with a crisp crust for textural interplay. Painting the cauliflower with pesto infuses it with herb-y, garlicky goodness while creating a golden crust.
Steaming the cauliflower first ensures even tenderness down to the core. Do this either in a steamer basket, or, alternatively, place the whole cauliflower into a shallow bath of boiling water. I prefer to keep the green stems and leaves on because they become tender like artichokes after roasting.
What To Serve With Roasted Cauliflower:
Firstly, a sauce is a must. My go-to garlic sauce includes freshly grated Parmesan, minced garlic, miso paste, buttermilk, black pepper, and dash of mayo for creaminess. It's flavorful, yet mellow enough to balance pesto's zest. Plus, the tang of buttermilk is delicious when paired with salty Parmesan.
Secondly, you need some fresh toppers. For example, shaved radish, fresh herbs, toasted pine nuts (or whichever nut you prefer), plus some lemon wedges for garnish.Lastly, if you end up with leftover florets, they're delicious tossed in pasta or used as a pizza topper with some fresh mozzarella.
If you make this recipe, be sure to share on Instagram and tag @dishingouthealth and #dishingouthealth so I can see your beautiful creations! Additionally, I’d love if you could leave a review on the post and share with your friends.
Pesto-Roasted Whole Cauliflower with Creamy Garlic Sauce
- 1 medium-large head cauliflower
- ½ cup prepared pesto homemade or store-bought
- ⅓ cup buttermilk
- 3 Tbsp. finely grated Parmesan
- 2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1 tsp. white miso paste
- ½ tsp. freshly grated black pepper
- ¼ tsp. sea salt
- Optional garnishes: shaved radish toasted pine nuts, fresh basil or chopped chives, lemon wedges
- Preheat oven to 475°F.
- Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add cauliflower head; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until tender. Place cauliflower on a paper towel-lined plate; discard cooking liquid.
- Place cauliflower on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and brush all over with pesto to evenly coat. Bake at 475°F for 25 to 30 minutes, rotating pan once halfway through. Transfer whole cauliflower to a platter or cutting board.
- Meanwhile, prepare sauce by combining buttermilk, Parmesan, mayonnaise, garlic, miso, black pepper, and salt. Spoon sauce over roasted cauliflower and add garnishes of choice.