Roasted Cauliflower with Olives and Herbs | A Warm Reception

This might just become your new go-to method for making cauliflower.

roasted cauliflower, cauliflower side dish, cauliflower with olives, cauliflower in the oven, holiday side dish

Now I love cauliflower, but I understand that it seldom receives a warm reception and that it will regrettably never be the sweetheart of the vegetable world. Although I will eagerly eat it raw, steamed or puréed, it’s just not something that a lot of people get excited about.

So how do you transform this often overlooked, if not loathed, vegetable into something worth getting excited about?  No, you don’t have to drown it in a mound of cheese sauce (although I have to admit it’s quite delicious that way as well) – you roast it. roasted cauliflower, cauliflower side dish, cauliflower with olives, cauliflower in the oven, holiday side dish

While roasting may not be the first preparation method that comes to mind when cooking cauliflower, it is so simple and the results so reassuringly sweet and tender, that it might just become your new go-to method.  

Roasting cauliflower brings out its inherent sweetness and unearths a subtle nuttiness.  I like to slice my cauliflower straight down from the top into thick slabs.  I then toss the resulting slices, like branches of coral, with olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper before sliding them into a hot oven.  Browning occurs where the flat surface of the slices comes into contact with the heat of the sheet pan, coaxing out all those delightful sweet nutty flavors.

Here’s where those marinated olives with thyme and rosemary I was talking about the other day come into the picture.

marinated olives, olives, mixed olives

Still hot, the cauliflower is gently tossed with the olive mixture and the two are left to meld under the heat of the oven for just a while longer, roasting until the cauliflower is fork tender, accented by a few hints of golden brown crispiness here and there. Once out of the oven the cauliflower and olive mixture is punctuated by a briny dose of capers as I hover impatiently nearby waiting for it to cool enough to pick at a few pieces.

Top it with a shower of vibrant chopped parsley and a handful of toasted walnuts and it’s ready to devour. 

roasted cauliflower, cauliflower side dish, cauliflower with olives, cauliflower in the oven, holiday side dish

Sweet, nutty, salty and creamy this dish equally good as an appetizer or a side.

Serves serves 4 to 6

Roasted Cauliflower with Olives and Herbs | A Warm Reception

20 minPrep Time

30 minCook Time

Save Recipe


  • 2 medium cauliflower heads, trimmed, halved lengthwise, cored and sliced or cut into bite-sized florets
  • 2 Tablespoons/ 30ml extra virgin olive oil
  • flaky sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup/ 200g marinated olives with garlic, thyme and rosemary (see associated recipe)
  • 2 Tablespoons salt-packed capers, rinsed, soaked, or brine-packed capers, rinsed
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • ¼ cup/ 28g chopped roasted walnuts


  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. In large bowl, toss cauliflower with oil, season with salt and pepper. Spread in single layer on large baking sheet (or two, if one looks crowded).
  3. Roast stirring occasionally for 20 minutes.
  4. Add the marinated olives and roast for an additional 8 to 10 minutes or until the cauliflower is lightly browned in spots and just tender.
  5. Transfer roasted cauliflower to a large bowl add capers and chopped parsley and toss to mix well.
  6. Season with more salt and pepper if desired and sprinkle with chopped walnuts.
  7. Serve immediately or let stand at room temperature up to 1 hour before serving.


Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Paleo, Vegan

How do you like to eat cauliflower?


    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. says

    Lovely idea!! I can see the olives working very well with the cauliflower. We like to rice cauliflower and then steam it quickly and use it as a light alternative to rice, I find it very adaptable that way. Anything is better than just boiled forever like I had to eat it when I was young!

  2. says

    I’m absolutely with you – cauliflower is a completely underrated vegetable. I never really make cauliflower cheese though – roasting is my favourite way to serve it, and we sometimes also make ‘South Beach mashed potato’ using pureed cauliflower. This recipe looks absolutely gorgeous – simple and delicious spiked with the salty olives and capers.

  3. says

    I love cauliflower and I always have to eat it by myself because y boyfriend hate it. I will have to prepare it this way for some guests, I am sure they would like it, look at it, it’s so pretty!!

  4. says

    I have been seeing so many bloggers roasting cauliflower and I have to try it! We love this wonderful vegetable but it is on the no-no list around here because it is usually boiled or steamed and stinks up the house! So roasting must do away with that problem while giving it a fabulous, nutty-sweet flavor! Perfect! Yours looks so beautiful!

  5. says

    I finally got my hubby to eat cauliflower by roasting it. Your addition of olives and herbs takes plain roasted cauliflower to another level…it looks fabulous!

  6. says

    We have been on a cauliflower kick in this house. I roasted it once this summer and there was no going back. It was simply amazing – like our new crack snack around here.

  7. says

    I ADORE this recipe. Cauliflower is one of my favorite veggies and roasting is my favorite way to prepare it. Loving the addition of olives and herbs. Definitely trying this one. Love it.

  8. says

    You know me well enough to know that I’m the one that likes to eat it under mounds of cheese sauce. But recently, my sister prepared a stir fried cauliflower curry (very dry) which I quite enjoyed.

  9. says

    Roasted cauliflower, is my absolute favourite way to eat them!! The added little crunch to the tips of the stems make them delectable.
    The addition of the olives, is a simple touch that I’m sure would elevate this dish 🙂

  10. says

    I love cauliflower, but my in-laws are not so into it. They quite like dry curried cauliflowers though!
    Will have to try this recipe. I can see me pairing it with quinoa or the like for lunch 🙂

  11. says

    Cauliflower has always been a secondary vegetable choice for me. It’s not that I don’t like it but rather that I’ve never been adventurous enough with it. Your recipe is something I must try and very soon. My mouth started watering and when it comes to cauliflower it seldom happens. Thanks for sharing and gorgeous photos.

  12. says

    I didn’t fall in love with cauliflower until I learned to roast it. Before that, I happily ignored it. I have yet to try it with olives but I can almost taste how wonderful they are together. Your images are stunning, as usual. 🙂

  13. says

    My kids actually love roasted cauliflower, although I haven’t tried it with olives, capers and nuts before – lovely addition, and gorgeous photos!

  14. says

    I do like the way you’ve roasted your cauliflower in big, thick slices, rather than just florets. Very pretty.

    There is something wonderful about roasted cauli, especially with olives.

    I think with most vegetables that people profess to dislike, it’s just about finding a different way of cooking it. I used to loathe Brussels sprouts, until I tried roasting them and putting into curries. It was only then I realised I actually loved Brussels, it was just over-boiled ones I hated.

  15. says

    What a gorgeous dish! I actually love roasted cauliflower and broccoli. It’s not a way I would have usually prepared it, but once while sharing Easter dinner with an Italian family in Boston, they served roasted cauliflower AND broccoli with a touch of lemon, butter, and Parmesan cheese. It was so new and unexpected, I was just amazed at how something I’d eaten often could be an entirely different dish when prepared in another way! I love this idea ad that you shared something that many of us would never think of otherwise

  16. says

    The humble cauliflower being celebrated so beautifully Sylvie…love it! Winter is just about setting into North India, and we will see an abundance of local farm grown cauliflower. Now to find some olives that look as good as yours … mouth watering delish post! Must roast some…soon!

  17. says

    I have a deep affection for olives 🙂 and am really enjoying your use and creativity with herbs. I would not need olives to entice me to eat cauliflower – happen to love it – but understand how it amplifies the excitement factor. Beautiful Sylvie.

  18. says

    I just love roasted veggies- especially cauliflower and brussel sprouts. the pairing of the cauliflower with the olives is genius and simply beautiful. i might have to add this side dish to our thanksgiving menu

  19. says

    I’m not a cauliflower fan, but this is seriously tempting. After reading about the benefits of this veggie recently and now seeing your gorgeous pictures of the roast, I’m afraid I’m turning into a convert!

  20. says

    I love roasted cauliflower – and like you, I love to slice it into slabs and roast away. However, I’ve yet to pair it with olives – brilliant! I know it is going to taste fantastic!! Gorgeous photos as always – your work always inspires me and makes my hands itchy to pick up my camera!

  21. says

    Oh I love cauliflower and roasting it is one of my fav way to enjoy these. Sometime I like to pan fry it with some green peas and toss it with some lemon sauce!
    This sounds as much delicious and should give a tr

  22. says

    Oh I love cauliflower and roasting it is one of my fav way to enjoy these. Sometime I like to pan fry it with some green peas and toss it with some lemon sauce!
    This sounds as much delicious and should give a try

  23. says

    Lovely combination, Sylvie! You right, for a lot of people, cauliflower is not one of their favorite vegetables. Fortunately I love it! And roasted cauliflower is my favorite way to go…So I love your combination and the addition of capers sounds wonderful 🙂

    HUGS <3

  24. says

    Oh, this is so gorgeous! My whole family adores roasted cauliflower…it’s pretty much the only way we’ll eat it these days. So easy and SO good! Love how you’ve combined it with olives here 🙂

  25. says

    This looks so divine I almost have no words. Almost. =) I love roasting cauliflower, and I love the idea of tossing it with olives. I’ll be trying this!
    And your photography is stunning, by the way.

  26. says

    I love cauliflower too – i am not sure why folks don’t like it. I make it with breadcrumbs and then people like it. I think it has to do with not preparing them right. But i love this recipe and have to try it next time.

  27. says

    Beautiful! I must try it with rosemary added. I often do a carrot/cauliflower puree with thyme and garlic etc, but the rosemary would add another interesting element.

    By the way, there are legions of us cauliflower lovers in the world. Any form, except boiled to death, as described by a commenter above.

  28. Nidhi says

    Dear Sylvie,

    I came upon your website through I must say the words ‘stunning’ and ‘mouth-watering’ are just words when I saw your recipes and photographs. I have seen many food photographers but your images seem surreal-as if they might pop out of the screen! I look forward to more enticing photographs and recipes…keep up the good work!Lovely:)

  29. says

    I’ve been loving all the roasted cauliflower dishes that have been cropping up on blogs lately. But I have to admit that yours is my favorite – it’s so refined. Gorgeous shots!

  30. says

    Cauliflower is not a favorite, but I have to say that the way this recipe reads (and the photo looks) makes me think you may have found a way to make a cauliflower dish delicious!

  31. says

    I missed this post! I’m not sure how. But cauliflower is one of my favourite veggies and it’s so lovely roasted. I’d never have thought to do it with olives and capers but I bet it’s delicious – certainly the photos of it look lovely!

  32. says

    Oh Sylvie! I am in love with this dish… Like you, I love cauliflower any which way, even raw but I also agree that roasting brings out a special nuttiness that makes it quite irresistable. Love the combination of flavours and colours – can’t wait to make this!

  33. kristin says

    This is a great recipe! I used rosemary olive oil and added some parmigiano reggiano, and it is delicious! I especially love the addition of the parsley! Yum!

  34. Nichold says

    Made this with some purple cauliflower & it looks so beautiful w/ the black and green olives. So deceptively simple but man-oh-man the taste is divine. It was such a hit that it will make an appearance on the Christmas buffet this year!;)


  1. […] over the past year in my view of cauliflower. (It used to be on my “blech!” food list.) Sylvie’s savory recipe with olives (awesome!) is what got me started. Then I moved on to roasted cauliflower with sweet raisins and […]