Spiced Roasted Cauliflower with Garlicky Aioli

I will be the first to admit that I was an incredibly picky eater growing up. The only vegetables I would eat without complaint were carrots and iceberg lettuce (and potatoes if you count those).

Most of the vegetables we ate were frozen or canned, but considering two picky kids and busy schedules, it’s no wonder my parents didn’t insist on us trying more variety and went with the tried and true.

With my own kids, I’ve tried to foster an appreciation of, if not love for, a wide range of vegetables. The little one loves to chew on broccoli, while the big one will ask for peas along with dinner. But while they enjoy those veggies, there are always a few that need a little more coaxing.

roasted cauliflower

I didn’t enjoy cauliflower until I was about 30 years old. I know. But before that time, I had only had it raw or boiled, that latter of which is the least exciting way to possibly prepare a vegetable.

But roasting? Roasting can transform any vegetable into an amazing thing that you just cannot possibly get into your mouth fast enough. Plus, there’s so many different layers of flavor you can add to a basic roast, that you don’t need to worry about getting tired of it.

We also love dipping things in our family, so I threw together a garlicy aioli to go along with this cauliflower. It helps balance the spices and makes it a bit easier to eat for the pickier ones in the family.

roasted cauliflower

I used Chinese five spice for the cauliflower (it went wonderfully alongside the short ribs we ate it with) but feel free to experiment. I’ve found that a little goes a long way when it comes to adding ground spices, so take care to not go overboard!

Spiced Roasted Cauliflower with Garlicky Aioli

Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 438kcal
Author: Megan


  • 1 large head cauliflower
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese five spice
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • Cracked pepper


  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Cut cauliflower into small pieces.
  • In a large bowl, mix together cauliflower and olive oil until coated, then stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt and Chinese five spice to coat.
  • Spread on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the edges are browned and caramelized.
  • Meanwhile, whisk together mayonnaise, minced garlic, lemon juice, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and cracked pepper. Taste and adjust salt and pepper, if needed.
  • Serve sauce alongside cauliflower.


Calories: 438kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 42g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 17mg | Sodium: 766mg | Potassium: 642mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 25IU | Vitamin C: 104.9mg | Calcium: 60mg | Iron: 1.4mg


What veggies did you dislike as a child, but now love?

About Megan

Megan Myers is a copyeditor and spatula-wielding mom seeking out the simpler life in Texas. Her blog, Stetted, focuses on her family’s journey from junk food addiction to a diet of local, organic, and whole foods, while exploring the many options farmers provide.

Subscribe For Free!

Like reading this post?
Get more delivered to your email inbox.


  1. I just recently roasted broccoli for the first time, and it was so good! I’ll have to give cauliflower a try!

  2. I love roasted cauliflower – so do my kids! I didn’t like mushrooms as a kid . . . but I still don’t!

    • Really, Allison, no mushrooms? So interesting!

      • I know! I’ve tried so hard to like them – I really want to like them. But, the fact remains, I can’t stomach the nasty little fungi. I try them every now and then just to make sure 🙂

        • I don’t like mushrooms much either, Allison! When my parents would make tater tot casserole, I’d pick out every single tiny piece of mushroom.

          Now I mostly eat them to be a good example for the kids. Ha!

  3. Wow, this looks great, I happen to have some cauliflower, will try this tonight. The only veggies I did not like was canned peas and I still feel the same way.

  4. I love your question because I think the answer could be: ALMOST ALL. I was the worst veggie eater as a kid – still have memories of sitting at the table long after everyone else had left, just trying to force down those three bites of broccoli (and my mom cooked it well, I was just averse). Now, I’ll eat most all things green and we eat a very plant-based diet. I don’t think much changed, I just needed to grow into more mature taste buds.

    Still, I have trouble with Asparagus. (I know!) My husband has gotten a real kick out of watch me try it over the last few years. Last summer, I ate a whole stalk without gagging, and the asparagus recipes I read actually look like things I want to try. Maybe this is my year…

  5. These look delicious– and completely kid-friendly! I think all kids are picky eaters when it comes to vegetables. Thank goodness for recipes like these!

  6. I was an odd child. I hated canned peas and corn and still don’t like them that much, especially peas. This may have been because I was used to homegrown frozen vegetables. However, I love spinach and cooked cabbage. I probably was a pre-teen by the time I had broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, but liked them all.

  7. I never loved cauliflower unless it was smothered in cheese sauce but I’ve just started roasting it and it is so good that way!!
    I just tossed mine with olive oil and sea salt but your spices and aioli sound so good!!

  8. Mine is kind of opposite. I loved canned green beans (and most canned vegetables) as a kid, but I don’t think I could stomach them now. They’re just so soft and not at all like the fresh ones. I’m tempted to try canning my own to see if I can preserve some of the goodness that comes from fresh green beans.

    Also, I love roasting vegetables. We usually roast broccoli, but I’m definitely giving this cauliflower a try soon.

  9. Wow! Love this recipe for Spiced Roasted Cauliflower with Garlicky Aioli.

    It makes the cauliflower edible to even the pickiest person. I cannot wait to try it.

    Thanks so much,

    Rosana Santos Calambichis, CEO BIG CHEF

  10. Christina says

    ooh, I already have discovered the yumminess of roasted cauliflower, but the a garlicky dipping sauce sounds like a great (and friendly for my kid) addition. although I think the last time I roasted cauliflower, it was actually romanesco cauliflower, and we roasted it with garlic and parsley and maybe put some parmesan on top. good stuff.

Speak Your Mind

Recipe Rating