Roasted Cauliflower with Cilantro Chimichurri

Chimichurri. I’m not sure exactly when I first had the garlicky, herb sauce but I know it was paired with a fabulous steak and a glass of red wine (odd how food memories work). I was hooked, and it quickly became a ‘must have’ when I see it on menus. The cilantro and parsley-packed sauce hails from Argentina, which explains its bold flavor combination and it’s traditional use with red meat (those Argentinians and Brazilians love their meats!). The debate over traditional chimichurri ingredients is heated (do a Google search and you’ll get lost in an internet hole), but I prefer sticking to the barebones of cilantro and/or parsley, garlic, red pepper, and olive oil. The rest is just fluff. Chimichurri can be so much more than just a sauce for meat and one of my favorite ways to enjoy it is drizzled on top of vegetables and potatoes. Plus, it’s ridiculously easy to make.

Which brings us to cauliflower, broccoli’s seemingly boring colorless cousin. I have to admit that cauliflower hasn’t always been my favorite vegetable–have you ever heard anyone say that cauliflower is their favorite vegetable? Probably not. Hilariously I have heard broccoli referred to as “white broccoli” three different times in my dietetic internship so far and it has now become a joke between my fellow interns. Though cauliflower isn’t a flashy, colorful veggie it is packed with vitamin C and is a good source of fiber at less calories than its green relative.

No, it’s not ‘white broccoli.’

o give cauliflower a flavor kick I love to roast it in the oven until golden brown, but anyone who has cut a head of cauliflower will know that it can be a huge mess of white crumbs. My favorite way to avoid kitchen messes is to roast the head whole and then easily cut portions after baking. Not only is it less cleanup, but it also provides for interesting presentation and conversation to those not hip to cauliflower roasting trends.

Roasted Cauliflower with Cilantro Chimichurri

what you’ll need

  • 1 head of cauliflower

Cilantro Chimichurri

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup cilantro
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 2-3 tbsp lemon or lime juice
  • 1 tsp (or more) red chili flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: parsley, oregano, red wine vinegar, cumin

what you’ll do

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Take off the stem and leaves of the cauliflower head and wash
  3. In small food processor, combine all chimichurri ingredients except oil and chop into small, even pieces
  4. Add olive oil and pulse, but do not puree ingredients. The consistency should be small particles in oil, not a green puree
  5. Brush chimichurri sauce over broccoli head until evenly coated
  6. Roast cauliflower head 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown and soft inside
  7. Cut and serve!

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