This easy Oven-Roasted Cauliflower is baked with a flavorful seasoning blend until the edges are perfectly crispy and caramelized. Topped with melty vegan parmesan cheese and served with a citrusy tahini dressing, meet your new favorite veggie side dish! Dairy-free, low carb, keto, gluten-free and easily paleo and Whole30 compliant.
Vegan Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower with Lemon Tahini Dressing
Parmesan roasted cauliflower is a popular veggie side dish that has lots of flavor and a lovely tender-crisp texture when it’s done right. This easy vegan recipe will show you how to make flawless baked cauliflower every time! Plus, it complies with low-carb, keto, paleo, gluten-free and Whole30 diets as well.
With only 10 minutes of prep time, roasted cauliflower is a wonderful side for those hectic weeknights when you need something healthy on the table. It’s also worthy of a spot in your holiday dinner menu! No matter when you whip up this diet-friendly side dish, you’ll be happy you did.
It’s super easy to customize and works well with vegan, low carb, keto, paleo or Whole30 diets. If your family is craving a fun and tasty side dish for the holidays, they are sure to fall in love with this simple cauliflower recipe.
What You’ll Need
You only need a few simple ingredients to make parmesan roasted cauliflower happen. The same goes for the optional lemon tahini sauce!
For the Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower
- Cauliflower: Trim 1 large head of cauliflower and cut it into evenly-sized florets.
- Avocado Oil: Or another neutral-tasting oil of your choice.
- Garlic: Freshly minced.
- Fresh Lemon Juice: About 1 lemon’s worth.
- Paprika: I use regular sweet paprika, but you can spice things up with smoked paprika if preferred.
- Fine-Grain Sea Salt: Or kosher salt, added to taste.
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper: To taste.
- Shredded Vegan Parmesan: If you’re not dairy-free, you can use regular parmesan cheese. For paleo and Whole30 compliance, use nutritional yeast instead.
- Fresh Chopped Parsley: For the garnish.
For the Lemon Tahini Dressing
- Tahini: You can also use cashew or almond butter if you don’t have a nut allergy.
- Fresh Lemon Juice
- Olive Oil
- Minced Garlic
- Water: The amount of water used will vary depending on the consistency you prefer.
- Sea Salt
Cutting Cauliflower into Florets
It’s super easy to cut a head of cauliflower into florets. Just be sure to use a sharp kitchen knife – if the blade is too dull, the knife could slip and potentially cut your fingers.
First, cut the head of cauliflower in half from the top to the stem. Then, cut each half into two even pieces, vertically. At this point, your cauliflower should be separated into 4 quarters.
Slice the core off of each quarter so you’re left with just the florets. You may need to use your hands to help pull off the core. Once all parts of the core are removed, cut the florets into evenly-sized pieces.
How to Make Roasted Cauliflower with Parmesan
Everything about this side dish is simple as can be. You just have to season the cauliflower and roast it up, then add the parmesan!
Prep for Baking: Preheat your oven to 400°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup.
Combine Ingredients: Add the cauliflower, oil, garlic, lemon juice, paprika, salt and pepper to a large bowl. Toss to coat the cauliflower in the seasoning blend.
Transfer to Baking Sheet: Transfer the seasoned cauliflower to your prepared baking sheet and spread it out evenly in a single layer, being careful not to overlap any florets.
Bake: Roast the cauliflower for about 35-40 minutes, or until the florets are tender-crisp and just starting to brown/char around the edges. Rotate the pan and toss to flip the cauliflower halfway through the bake time.
Make Dressing (Optional): While the cauliflower is cooking, whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, oil, salt and garlic in a small bowl until combined. Add half a tablespoon of water and mix again until smooth. Add more water only as needed to thin the dressing to your desired consistency. Adjust the seasonings to taste, adding more salt or tahini as needed. Set the sauce aside until you’re ready to serve.
Add Parmesan: Once the cauliflower starts to char, remove the baking sheet from the oven and sprinkle the florets with parmesan cheese, tossing to coat them.
Finish Roasting: Return the cauliflower to the oven and roast it until the cheese is melted, about 1-2 minutes. Once done, taste the cauliflower and adjust the seasonings to taste if desired.
Garnish & Serve: Sprinkle the cauliflower with chopped fresh parsley and transfer it to a bowl or a platter. Drizzle a spoonful of tahini sauce over the cauliflower and serve it with the remaining sauce for dipping.
Tips for Success
Take note of the helpful tips and tricks below before you start cutting up that cauliflower.
- Pick a Good Head of Cauliflower: You want to use a fresh head of cauliflower that’s nice and white/off-white with no brown spots or wet-looking areas. It should be firm and feel heavy for its size. Bright green leaves are also a good sign.
- Cut the Florets into Even Pieces: Make sure you cut the cauliflower into evenly-sized pieces, even if it means separating the larger florets into multiple parts. This ensures even baking across the board.
- Why is My Cauliflower Mushy? Over-crowding your pan will cause the cauliflower to become mushy rather than tender-crisp. It’s important to spread it out in an even layer with no overlapping florets.
- Flip Halfway Through Roasting: Don’t forget to flip over your cauliflower about halfway through the cook time. Otherwise, one side will get crispier than the other.
You can coat your cauliflower florets with any seasoning blend of your choice. Here are some other tasty flavors to try!
- Cajun Roasted Cauliflower: The spicy, savory goodness of Cajun seasoning goes great with roasted cauliflower. You can add the parmesan cheese if you’d like or omit it for this version.
- Herb Roasted Cauliflower: Try leaving out the paprika and replacing it with equal parts Italian seasoning. Whether or not you add the parmesan is totally up to you!
- Parmesan Alternatives: Any kind of cheese will taste amazing on top of your roasted cauliflower. Cheddar, pepper jack, mozzarella—use what you like! If you’re vegan, just make sure the cheese works with your dietary needs.
Whatever dishes you’d like to pair with this side are fair game. The flavors go well with pretty much everything!
- Serve with Stuffed Peppers: These Vegan Stuffed Peppers are loaded with mushrooms, tomatoes, cauliflower rice, salsa and more. They’re a hearty main course that compliments parmesan roasted cauliflower perfectly.
- Pair with Roasted Brussels Sprouts: Need another healthy side dish to partner with this cauliflower? My crispy Roasted Brussels Sprouts are a fail-proof choice.
- Serve with Air Fryer Turkey: Cooking turkey in the Air Fryer is a huge time-saver! Not to mention, it gets the meat beautifully golden with ease. You have to try this Air Fryer Turkey Breast!
How to Store and Reheat Baked Cauliflower
Leftover cauliflower should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge once it has cooled completely. It will stay fresh for about 3-4 days. Reheat your cauliflower in a 350°F oven until it’s hot and the cheese is bubbling.
Can I Freeze This?
Yes! Simply place the cooled cauliflower on a large baking sheet and freeze it for at least 20 minutes. Then, transfer it to a large resealable freezer bag and store it in the freezer for up to 3 months. Reheat it straight from frozen according to the following instructions.
When you’re ready to reheat your frozen cauliflower, place it in a single layer in your Air Fryer basket. Set the temperature to 365°F and heat the cauliflower for 7-9 minutes, or until it reaches your desired crispiness. You will have to work in batches. Don’t let the frozen cauliflower sit at room temperature while you’re working through reheating it.
More Healthy Cauliflower Sides to Try
Hungry for more cauliflower? You are going to love the easy recipes below!
This easy Oven-Roasted Cauliflower is baked with a flavorful seasoning blend until the edges are perfectly crispy and caramelized. Topped with melty vegan parmesan cheese and served with a citrusy tahini dressing, meet your new favorite veggie side dish!
- 1 large head of cauliflower , trimmed and cut into evenly-sized florets
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil or any neutral tasting oil
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice , about 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon fine-grain sea salt or kosher salt , or to taste
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper , or to taste
- ¼ cup shredded vegan Parmesan cheese , optional. May use regular if not dairy-free - may also sub with 1 ½ - 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast for paleo / Whole30
- Fresh chopped parsley , for garnish
- Lemon wedge , for serving
- 1/3 cup tahini
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1/2 - 1 tablespoons water plus more as needed
- sea salt or kosher salt
Preheat your oven to 400°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup.
Add the cauliflower to large mixing bowl. Drizzle with oil and add garlic, lemon juice, paprika, salt and black pepper to taste. Spread evenly onto the baking sheet in a single layer, being careful not to overlap.
Roast the cauliflower for about 35-40 minutes, or until the florets are tender-crisp and just starting to brown/char around the edges, rotating the pan and stirring/tossing the cauliflower halfway through.
- Meanwhile, make the tahini dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, oil, salt and garlic until combined. Add ½ tablespoon of water and mix again until smooth (add more water as needed until desired consistency). Adjust seasonings to taste, adding more salt or tahini as needed. Set aside until ready to serve.
After 35-40 minutes, remove the baking sheet from the oven and sprinkle with optional cheese (or nutritional yeast), if using, and toss to coat. Return to oven and roast until the cheese is melted, about 1-2 minutes. Once done, taste the cauliflower and adjust seasonings to taste, adding more salt or black pepper as needed.
Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley and transfer to a bowl or a platter. Drizzle a spoonful of tahini sauce over the cauliflower and serve with remaining sauce for dipping, plus extra lemon if desired.
- Nutritional info has been calculated without the cheese or tahini dressing.
- To Store & Reheat: Refrigerate leftover cauliflower in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Reheat in a 350°F oven until hot.
- To Freeze & Reheat: Place cooled cauliflower on a large baking sheet and freeze for at least 20 minutes. Transfer to a large resealable freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to reheat, place frozen cauliflower in a single layer in Air Fryer basket. Heat each batch at 365°F for 7-9 minutes, or until desired crispiness is reached.