Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Olive Salsa Verde & Wilted Greens - Rancho La Puerta
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Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Olive Salsa Verde & Wilted Greens

How do you lively up your cauliflower when you want a little extra kick?  The Mexican spice blend in this recipe for the roasted cauliflower is one sure way. The multiple recipes that compose this cauliflower dish from Executive Chef Reyna Venegas can each be made and served on their own or used to complement other dishes. This group is a small handful of the flavorful recipes she teaches at our cooking school and farm. You can also download the  Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Greens PDF.

Serves 4


1large head of cauliflower, any color

1 tablespoons olive or avocado oil

2 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon Mexican spice blend (recipe follows)

2 tablespoons agave or maple syrup

  1. Preheat oven to 400 °F and fill a small baking pan halfway with water and set on the bottom of the oven or the lowest rack. This will provide steam to help the cauliflower cook more evenly.
  2. Rinse and dry the head of cauliflower and carefully cut off the bottom stalk without removing too much of the core. You want the entire head intact for baking. Peel away any remaining green leaves and place in a cast-iron skillet or a baking pan.
  3. In a mixing bowl, mix the oil, water, Mexican spice blend, agave syrup, salt and pepper.
  4. Taste and adjust flavor as needed, add more Mexican spice blend if you desire spiciness, maple syrup for sweetness, or salt. If you are trying to avoid sugar you can omit the agave or maple syrup and substitute with an additional teaspoon of water.
  5. Flip your cauliflower upside down and pour on most of the sauce. Let the sauce pour down the core, shake it around so it infuses the center, and then flip the cauliflower over and use a brush to rub the leftover sauce all over the exterior. Place cauliflower core-side down in your baking pan.
  6. Roast for 35-45 minutes or until a knife easily pierces the core. If you prefer softer cauliflower, then roast for longer. For cauliflower with a little bite, roast for less time.
  7. To brown the exterior, increase heat to maximum and roast a couple more minutes. Be careful not to burn the cauliflower.
  8. Remove from the oven and let it rest in the pan for 5-10 minutes before serving. Cut into wedges or slices and enjoy garnished with Wilted Greens and Olive Salsa Verde.

Mexican Spice Blend


3 tablespoons ground cumin

2 tablespoons ground garlic

2 tablespoons smoked paprika

1 tablespoon chili flakes

½ tablespoon ground cinnamon

½ tablespoon ground cardamom

½ tablespoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon black pepper


Place all the spices in a jar, cover with the lid and gently shake to combine.

Tres Estrellas Wilted Greens


4 cups greens (kale, chard, spinach, collards, and/or beet greens)

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 shallot, minced

1 tablespoon olive or avocado oil

¼ cup caramelized pecans, chopped

1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper, to taste

  1. Place a large sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and fry the shallot until fragrant. Add the garlic and the greens.
  2. With the help of a pair of tongs, turn the greens from time to time to cook them evenly.
  3. Finish by seasoning to taste with salt and pepper, drizzle the balsamic and sprinkle the caramelized pecans to add some crunch and sweetness.

Manzanilla Olive Salsa Verde


1 cup cilantro & basil leaves

2 tablespoons capers, drained

2 garlic cloves

¼ cup olive oil-divided

1 teaspoon honey, agave or maple syrup

2 tablespoons champagne vinegar

Salt and pepper, to taste

½ cup manzanilla olives, pitted and sliced


Place cilantro, basil, capers, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, half the olives and honey into a food processor. Pulse until roughly chopped. Stir in the remaining sliced olives and season to taste with pepper and a small pinch of salt, if needed.

¡Buen Provecho!

See more garden-fresh recipes or learn more about our farm and school, La Coccina Que Canta.