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roasted tandoori cauliflower

We have met so many wonderful people and bloggers from around the world since launching our site just six months ago. The community is filled with talented home cooks, writers, and photographers that inspire us every day with their creative recipes and entertaining posts. We have learned so much just browsing through all the colorful photos and innovative ideas on Instagram. When we stumbled upon Christine Wong’s photo of this vegetarian Indian entrée on her page, it immediately caught our attention because it was so beautiful, and also because it features one of our favorite vegetables as a “substantial main course.” One of our go-to dishes at Indian restaurants is aloo gobi—tender cauliflower and potatoes simmered in a rich and deliciously spiced sauce—and we are thrilled because now we can duplicate these complex flavors at home!

This Indian dinner is filled with exotic spices and aromatic flavors, yet is surprisingly easy to make. You simply mix the tandoori paste in a blender, let the whole cauliflower marinate for a few days, then roast it in the oven. Made with fresh tomatoes, onion, garlic, cumin, turmeric, and cilantro, this bold marinade captures the essence of traditional Indian cooking. Along with subtle hints of lemon and ginger, this lively sauce also uses a fresh serrano pepper for heat, which you can easily adjust to your personal preference. This is perfect for a weeknight dinner since you can make it ahead of time, then pop it in the oven whenever you are ready. Served with hot basmati rice and naan bread, this flavorful cauliflower dish is hearty enough for a main course, and a strikingly beautiful centerpiece for your table.

Although Indian cooking may seem intimidating because of its mysterious seasonings, this recipe is a perfect example of how simple it can be. As the cauliflower marinates, the tandoori sauce settles into every nook and cranny, infusing it with its alluring spices. It is then roasted whole in a dutch oven until it is fork-tender and filling your kitchen with the rich and inviting flavors of Indian cuisine. Another thing that makes this dish so appealing is that is extremely healthy, high in vitamins, with no cholesterol. Plus it is also vegan and gluten-free making this a dinner that everyone can enjoy. This exotic meal inspired by the delicious flavors of South Asia boasts a creamy masala sauce that is a breeze to make, and just as authentic as your favorite Indian restaurant.

Roasted Tandoori Cauliflower
adapted from yommme.com
serves 2 to 4

1 head of cauliflower
2 tomatoes, quartered
1/2 onion, peeled and quartered
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 serrano chile pepper, seeds removed if desired, and minced (see note below)
1/2 cup water

Remove the green leaves from the cauliflower, and trim the bottom of the stem so it is flat and will stand upright. Make a deep x-shaped cut at the bottom of the stem.

In a blender, combine the tomatoes, onion, cilantro, garlic, ginger, olive oil, lemon juice, turmeric, cumin, coriander, salt, and chile pepper. Blend until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the blender as needed. Place the cauliflower in a gallon-sized resealable plastic bag, then pour the puréed mixture over it. Seal the bag, and refrigerate for 24 to 48 hours, turning the bag occasionally to ensure that the cauliflower is evenly coated.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Pour the half-cup of water into a dutch oven or large oven-safe skillet, then place the cauliflower stem-side-down in the pan. Pour the remaining marinade over the cauliflower, cover the pan, and bake until tender, about 60 to 80 minutes. Serve hot, and enjoy!

— Removing the seeds and white ribs from the serrano pepper will lower the heat level. For a mild dish, remove all the seeds before mincing. For a medium spiciness, remove the seeds from half of the pepper. And to make it spicy, leave all the seeds in.