Would you just loooooook at that gorgeous color!? That’s turmeric for you, friends. Have you ever cooked with it before? Do you use it a lot? I once bought a massive bottle of it that I still have about half of- and by “once” I mean I was still living in my first apartment out of college, so this stuff has lasted through 4 kitchens, two states, a couple career changes, many forgettable boyfriends and one very memorable boyfriend who is now my husband. Thankfully, he loves spices as much as I do.
I hadn’t planned on posting this recipe, which is to say that I hadn’t planned on even making this recipe to begin with until I discovered that the bag of cauliflower that I had bought only a few days earlier was on the verge of rotting and, as it turns out, roasting with flavorful herbs and spices is the best remedy for slightly-past-their prime vegetables.
I love spices on even my blandest day but I have been on a particularly strong spice kick (both the flavors and the kick are strong) ever since we got back from Europe. I think the Turkish food is still in my system; in fact, I think it will never really leave. So, salt and pepper alone wouldn’t do for this cauliflower (though, in a pinch, roasting vegetables with olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder works great). Nope, I had to pull out basically every spice in my (ample, perhaps to the point of excess) collection and line them up for examination.
The pairing of cauliflower with turmeric is familiar from Indian cuisine, so naturally (and because this seemed like a good opportunity to make a dent, however small, in my lifetime supply of turmeric), I started there. The flavor is rounded out by salt, pepper, garlic, chili powder, and finally mint for some brightness and balance. I didn’t have any fresh mint on hand so I used dried, but you can use either.
The best part is that this dish is easy to make in massive quantities (thus the large scale recipe below, but if you don’t want lots of leftovers, simple make half) and eat for a few meals, as a main or side, hot or cold. Is there nothing that turmeric cauliflower can’t do?
Preheat the oven to 375F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment, tinfoil or nonstick pads. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, toss the florets with olive oil to coat.
In a small bowl, mix the salt, herbs and spices (except the mint if you are using fresh; see note) and then toss the mixture with the cauliflower until it has been evenly distributed with the cauliflower.
Turn the cauliflower out onto the prepared pans (half on each pan, obviously) and spread in a single layer, spacing each floret about 1" apart. This will help with crisping, since if they are too close together, they will steam rather than roast.
Bake for 50-50 minutes until crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.
If you prefer to use fresh mint, use 1/2 Tbsp and toss with the cauliflower after it has roasted to preserve the flavor of the herb.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. Serve leftovers hot or cold.
Makes 2 lb cauliflower.