Roasted vegetables are obviously my jam (see examples A, B, C, and D, for starters). They’re awesome because roasting brings out the natural sweetness and nuttiness that the vegetables contain, while making them satisfying, easier to digest, and grounding (think full but not stuffed). But after the first couple batches of roasted vegetables in the fall, I start to crave variety in the form of sauces, toppings, or just some extra citrus and herbs.
All of these ingredients bring a brightness to what can otherwise become stodgy and homogenous. One of my friends made this roasted cauliflower dish at our annual Pumpkin Party (which doesn’t involve carving cute pumpkins, just eating them). Not only was her dish a welcome break from all the orange stuff, but the butter and spice-toasted pepitas were what made the dish so special.
I haven’t stopped making versions of it since and definitely plan on making it a part of my holiday menu.
I switch the herbs up with whatever I have on-hand, but generally leafy herbs work well. Cilantro is great, but wilts easily if it has to sit around, so if I’m making this in advance to bring to a potluck or something similar, I’ll use parsley, as it holds up really well under different conditions. Chives are also really nice if you’ve got ‘em! Feel free to swap lemon in for lime, too.
Go forth and make kick-ass vegetable sides to share with your loved ones!
Cauliflower with Spicy Pepitas & Lime
A simple dish that uses easy flavor tricks (like citrus, herbs, and toasted seeds for crunch) to make a memorable roasted vegetable side.
- 1 large head of cauliflower or two smaller heads — I used one white and one purple here, chopped into florets Olive or avocado oil
- Salt taste
- ¼ cup pepitas shelled pumpkin seeds
- 2 tablespoons butter can use olive oil for vegan version
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Juice of ½ a lime
- ¼ cup parsley or cilantro roughly chopped
Heat oven to 425°F. Coat two baking trays with olive or avocado oil and arrange the cauliflower florets on them, giving each enough space to brown instead of steam. Sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt each.
Roast for 20-25 minutes, flipping the cauliflower about halfway through, until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 3-5 minutes until spritzing the cauliflower with lime juice and tossing to combine. (You can do this right on the baking tray.)
While the cauliflower is in the oven, heat the butter in a medium skillet until melted and starting to foam. Add pepitas, cayenne, and a good pinch of salt and cook, stirring once or twice until golden, about 5 minutes (or when you start to hear little popping sounds).
Once pepitas and cauliflower are similarly golden, combine them in a bowl with the fresh herbs and another spritz of lime. Serve warm or at room temp.