Roasted cauliflower is a staple in our house.  I make it nearly every week – for both entertaining and as a healthy weeknight side dish – and vary the spices I add to keep it interesting.  Roasting brings out the sweetness in vegetables, and that is especially true for cauliflower, which becomes crunchy on the outside with a smooth, creamy center.  I find it to be a real crowd-pleaser and even picky eaters have always loved roasted cauliflower when I make it.

This particular spice mix for the cauliflower is inspired by a recipe from Food & Wine by Melissa Clark.  It’s more decadent than the average roasted cauliflower that I usually make because of the addition of butter, which makes it worthy of a special menu.  I served this spiced caramelized roasted cauliflower along with several other small dishes for a recent mezze dinner menu.  Serve it with other tapas-style dishes with toothpicks, as I did, or as a side dish with roasted chicken or grilled steak.  Spiced caramelized roasted cauliflower is a dish that can easily be made ahead, and it’s mostly hands-off time in the oven.

Spiced Caramelized Roasted Cauliflower

Yield: 6-8 servings as an appetizer

Spiced Caramelized Roasted Cauliflower

Serve this tapas-style dish as part of a mezze menu or as a side dish with roasted chicken or steak. The cauliflower can be made up to 2 days in advance; bring to room temperature before serving.


  • 1 large head cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. hot paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Line a sheet pan with tin foil and coat with cooking spray; set aside. Toss cauliflower and butter in large bowl. Mix sugar through cinnamon in a small bowl or ziplock bag. Add spice mixture to cauliflower and toss to coat. Spread cauliflower on prepared pan in a single layer, leaving space between the pieces so they roast rather than steam in the oven. Roast for 20-30 minutes, or until brown on the edges and slightly crispy. Serve warm or room-temperature.