Sicilian-Style Roasted Cauliflower


Sicilian-style roasted cauliflower on a sheet pan with a bowl of dressing.

Sicilian-style roasted cauliflower is an absolutely delish, vegan side dish that has a ton of spices to warm your belly. Roasted then drizzled with a caper-raisin vinaigrette, you’ve never had cauliflower that tastes like this.

Sicilian-style roasted cauliflower on a sheet pan with a bowl of dressing.Sicilian-style roasted cauliflower on a sheet pan with a bowl of dressing.

Adapted from Angie Rito & Scott Tacinelli | Italian American | Clarkson Potter, 2021

For hundreds of years between the ninth and eleventh centuries, Sicily was under Arab rule, the legacy of which is apparent today in the frequent use of ingredients like honey, pistachios, golden raisins, and cinnamon. We nod to that heritage in the flavor profile here, making a vibrantly spiced roasted cauliflower with a briny sweet-and-sour vinaigrette that hits all parts of your palate.—Angie Rito & Scott Tacinelli

Why our testers loved this

Our testers all agreed that the combination of earthy spices and tangy vinaigrette drizzled over crispy cauliflower florets made this Sicilian cauliflower recipe one that they’d make again and again.

Ruby F. really liked that it came together quickly and made use of pantry staples.

Notes on ingredients

  • Ground fennel seed–Freshly ground fennel seed is preferable here since it adds so much flavor to the spice mixture. You can use a spice grinder or mortar and pestle to grind the seeds. If you only have ground fennel seed on hand, it will work fine, but the fennel flavor will be less pronounced.
  • Cauliflower–Choose a large, firm cauliflower without any soft or brown spots.

How to make this recipe

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Make the spice mixture. Combine all of the spices together in a bowl.
  3. Combine the vinegar, honey, raisins, salt, and water and bring to a boil. Simmer until the raisins plump. Dump into a blender with olive oil and lemon juice and blitz until smooth. Add the capers.
  4. Stir the olive oil into the spice mixture. Toss the cauliflower with the spice paste until thoroughly coated, then arrange it in a single layer on the prepared baking sheets.
  5. Roast the cauliflower until golden brown and tender. Transfer to a serving platter and drizzle with the vinaigrette.

How do I keep cauliflower from getting mushy when roasting it?

We know that it’s a drag to have to wash more dishes than you need to. But in this case, using two sheet pans to spread out that cauliflower—rather than cramming it all onto one—will give you the crispy, roasted cruciferous veg of your dreams.

How do I cut and core a cauliflower?

The objective here is to waste as little as possible and to make sure that it all cooks evenly. Start by pulling off the leaves and cutting the cauliflower into quarters, from the top of the crown through the stem. Then, just lay the quarters on the cutting board and remove the florets from the core with angled knife cuts.

What should I serve with this Italian cauliflower?

As the authors suggest, this pairs well with a simple protein such as grilled meat or fish. Try grilled lamb chops or trout.

Helpful tips

  • Store leftover roasted cauliflower in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in a warm oven or in the microwave.
  • Serve leftover vinaigrette drizzled over salad greens, seared pork chops, or roasted lemon chicken.
  • This recipe is suitable for gluten-free and dairy-free diets.

More great roasted cauliflower recipes

A white plate topped with roasted cauliflower with jalapeño and capers.A white plate topped with roasted cauliflower with jalapeño and capers.Roasted Cauliflower with Jalapeño and Capers Florets of spicy roasted cauliflower on a baking sheet with squeezed lime wedges and a bowl of green sauce beside them.Florets of spicy roasted cauliflower on a baking sheet with squeezed lime wedges and a bowl of green sauce beside them.Roasted Cauliflower with Cilantro Sauce

If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David

Sicilian-Style Roasted Cauliflower

Sicilian-style roasted cauliflower on a sheet pan with a bowl of dressing.Sicilian-style roasted cauliflower on a sheet pan with a bowl of dressing.

The result of all the earthy spices is a complex, eye-catching vegetable dish with a burst of bright color from the turmeric; it pairs best with simple mains, such as grilled meat or fish.

Prep 20 mins

Cook 20 mins

Total 40 mins

For the caper-raisin vinaigrette

Make the spice mix

  • Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C). Line one or two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. You want enough space for the cauliflower to fit in a single layer.
  • In a large bowl, combine the salt, turmeric, paprika, fennel, oregano, cinnamon, granulated garlic, and pepper.

Make the caper-raisin vinaigrette

  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the vinegar, honey, salt, raisins, and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until the raisins soften and plump, about 1 minute.

  • Dump the mixture into a blender. Add the lemon juice and olive oil and blend on high until combined and smooth, about 30 seconds. Add the chopped capers and stir to combine. Leftovers keep for up to 1 week.

Make the cauliflower

  • Add the olive oil to the spice mix and whisk to combine. Add the cauliflower and toss thoroughly to coat the florets evenly.
  • Arrange the cauliflower in a single layer on the lined baking sheet(s) and roast until golden brown and fragrant and the thickest part of the floret can be easily pierced with the tip of a paring knife, 15 to 20 minutes.

  • Remove from the oven and move to a serving platter. Gently toss the cauliflower with 1/3 cup vinaigrette. Taste and add more vinaigrette, if desired.

  • Serve immediately. Leftovers keep, tightly covered in the refrigerator, for up to 3 days.

  1. Storage–Leftovers can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  2. Reheating–Warm up leftover cauliflower in a warm oven or in the microwave until heated through.
  3. Dietary–This recipe is suitable for gluten-free and dairy-free diets.

Serving: 1servingCalories: 469kcal (23%)Carbohydrates: 56g (19%)Protein: 6g (12%)Fat: 28g (43%)Saturated Fat: 4g (25%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 20gSodium: 1349mg (59%)Potassium: 923mg (26%)Fiber: 6g (25%)Sugar: 42g (47%)Vitamin A: 196IU (4%)Vitamin C: 112mg (136%)Calcium: 82mg (8%)Iron: 2mg (11%)

#leitesculinaria on Instagram#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

Recipe © 2021 Angie Rito & Scott Tacinelli. Photo © 2021 Christopher Testani. All rights reserved. All materials used with permission.

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