About 10 years ago I tried roasting cauliflower for the first time. It changed my cauliflower life. I liked cauliflower before then, but that’s when I fell in love. Al dente, not mushy, and with a sweet brown caramelization in places on the outside. I thought it could never get better than that.
Then a few months ago I tried roasting a head of cauliflower whole. That is, not broken into florets. The whole thing, in a pan and into the oven. Wow.
It gets soft and almost buttery in the middle but is really browned all over the outside. Not only is it delicious, it’s also beautiful to serve. You cut it into wedges at the table and serve with a cake server. So pretty.
The reason the whole-roasted cauliflower is so good is that you need to cook it for a long time for the heat to penetrate to the middle and cook it through. That means that the outside is exposed to heat for much longer than it is for other cooking methods. Which means lots of that sweet browning. To learn how to roast cauliflower whole, head over here.
Cauliflower isn’t the only vegetable that benefits from being roasted whole. There are all kinds of veggies that you can cook this way. In all cases, they end up browned on the outside and soft and beautiful on the inside. An added bonus of this method is that they take very little prep time. Who doesn’t love that?
Here are some of my favorite vegetables to roast whole:
- Asparagus: Trim off the tough ends and put the spears in a pan with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast at 400ºF for 10-15 minutes, depending on thickness. Here’s a nice little recipe.
- Broccoli: It takes about 35 minutes at 400ºF. The florets end up singed a bit and so delicious while the stalks end up soft and sweet. Find out how to prepare broccoli for roasting whole over here.
- Brussels Sprouts: Trim off the ends, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast at 425ºF for 40 minutes. Get all the information you need here.
- Carrots: Peel, add oil and seasonings, and roast at 400ºF for 30-40 minutes. For this version, they’re split in half lengthwise first.
- Green Beans: Just like the asparagus. Trim off the tips, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast at 400ºF for 15 minutes. Try this version with capers and lemon.
- Winter Squash: This works for butternut and acorn squashes. Cut in half (o.k., so not totally whole, but this is still way easier than peeling and cubing). Put in a pan. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake at 350ºF until soft, about 45-60 minutes. Here’s a nice recipe where a salad goes into the cavities at the end.
- Zucchini and Summer Squash: Trim off the ends, rub with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast at 450ºF until outside is browned and inside is soft, about 15 minutes.
There really are so many vegetables that can be roasted simply and deliciously in this method. What are some that you’ve tired and loved, or that you’d like to try?