Skip the meat tonight; we promise you won't miss it!
Looking for a low-calorie, low-carb, super satisfying plant-based recipe? This Balsamic Glazed Whole Roasted Cauliflower is the perfect way to celebrate Meatless Monday or kick-off a new diet plan. You don’t have to be a vegan to enjoy this plant-based meal, either. The cauliflower gets so much flavor from the balsamic dressing, and the texture of the cauliflower will satisfy even the meat eaters in your life. All while being Whole30, paleo-approved, keto-friendly, and a low SmartPoints food for WeightWatchers.
If you’ve never roasted a whole head of cauliflower before, you’re about to be amazed. It’s one of those things that will have you asking yourself, “Why haven’t I been doing this for ages?” In addition to being incredibly simple (just trim up the cauliflower, dress it, and toss it into the oven), it’s also a super economical meal. As compared to a steak or a pork chop, cauliflower will run you a fraction of the cost but satisfy your hunger in the same way.
The Incredible, Edible Cauliflower
Cauliflower is one of those foods that’s accepted in almost any diet. It makes a great gluten-free crust, and ricing cauliflower is the ideal replacement for grain-free diets like Paleo or Whole30. And since there are only 2.9 grams of carbs in a cup of cauliflower, it’s also one of the vegetables you can eat on the keto diet.
It seems like there’s nothing that cauliflower can’t do! Pulse it in a food processor to mimic rice, puree it and use it to make pizza dough or as a stand-in for mashed potatoes, and roast it whole to experience a meaty dinner. All while getting almost every vitamin and mineral your body needs in a super low-calorie package. It doesn’t get better than that!
The other benefit of working with cauliflower is its versatility. Since cauliflower also has a neutral flavor, you can spice it up any way you like. We love this balsamic glaze, but you could also have some fun with curry powder or Cajun seasoning.
Sweet Balsamic Glaze
We particularly love the way the flavors come together in this Balsamic Glazed Whole Roasted Cauliflower. The balsamic vinegar cooks down to become sweet and tangy without requiring any added sugars, and the fat from the olive oil gives everything a satisfying mouthfeel. Not to mention how the Italian seasoning and garlic powder add savory flavors to make your taste buds happy.
The key to this simple recipe, though, is the lemon zest. We thought about adding lemon juice to this recipe to give it a nice, bright citrus flavor, but that meant we would have to add sugar, too. Otherwise, the lemon juice would add unpleasant sour, bitter notes.
Lemon zest was the perfect solution. It added a bright burst of lemony flavor without any of the bitterness. If you don’t already own a Microplane zester grater, now is the perfect time to pick one up. They’re relatively inexpensive (less than $15), and they make the zesting process entirely effortless. You can also use them to grate nutmeg, Parmesan cheese, ginger, garlic, chocolate, and more!
Okay, without further ado, here’s the recipe! Let us know what you thought in the comments. We’d love to hear about meat lovers who fell in love with cauliflower after trying this!
Balsamic Glazed Whole Roasted Cauliflower | Plant-Based Recipe
- 1 head cauliflower
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 lemon zested
- parsley freshly chopped, for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Trim the cauliflower by removing the green stalks on the bottom. Carefully remove the stem and the tough core, being careful to keep the head intact. Place it cut-side down in an 8x8 casserole dish or a cast iron pan.
- In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and lemon zest. Brush the mixture over top of the cauliflower and cover it with aluminum foil.
- Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes, until the cauliflower is soft when you pierce it with a knife. If you like a softer cauliflower, cook it for an additional 15 to 30 minutes, uncovered.
- Carefully transfer the cooked cauliflower to a plate and sprinkle it with the chopped parsley. Serve immediately.
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