This Tandoori Whole Roasted Cauliflower is an Indian-inspired, Whole30-friendly riff on my popular Whole Roasted Cauliflower recipe! It’s a showstopper vegetable dish that will delight your vegan and omnivore friends alike!
What is tandoori?
Tandoori actually refers to a type of Indian cooking that utilizes a tandoor, a super hot round clay oven. Proteins are traditionally marinated in yogurt or coconut milk whisked with an aromatic spice blend before they’re roasted in the clay oven. Like most of you, I don’t own a traditional tandoor, so I simply cook my tandoori-marinated meat and veggies in the oven or out on the backyard grill.
What’s in tandoori spice blend?
Tandoori spice blends (a.k.a. tandoori masala) can vary, but it usually contains garam masala (which typically consists of coriander, cumin, cardamom, cloves, black pepper, cinnamon, and nutmeg), garlic, ginger, onion, and cayenne pepper. I buy a tandoori spice blend at the store or online, but you can mix some yourself by following this recipe. Tandoori’s not normally spicy hot, but it is very flavorful like an aromatic curry.
- Cauliflower head (not a giant one, 2 pounds is perfect)
- Full-fat coconut milk or plain coconut yogurt
- Tandoori spice mix or masala (no salt added)
- Freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Diamond Crystal brand kosher salt
- Flake finishing sea salt (optional)
How to make Tandoori Whole Roasted Cauliflower
Heat the oven to 375°F and place a rack in the middle position. Grab the cauliflower head and…
…trim away the leaves at the bottom of the cauliflower head. Carefully cut off and remove the stem and tough core, but be careful to keep the head intact.
In a large bowl, whisk coconut milk, tandoori spice, lemon juice, and ½ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt.
Place the cauliflower head bottom side up in the dish or pan you are going to roast it in. Pour some of the tandoori marinade all over the bottom of the cauliflower and brush it evenly on the bottom.
Flip the cauliflower over and pour the rest of the tandoori marinade over the top and paint the top until it is completely covered.
Cover tightly with aluminum foil. (You can also put a layer of parchment between the foil and cauliflower if you prefer.)
Put the skillet on the middle rack in the oven. Cook for 30 minutes, covered.
Remove the foil from the skillet. Baste the top of the cauliflower with the sauce in the pan and roast for an additional hour in the oven.
Once the cauliflower is golden brown on the outside and tender on the inside, take it out of the oven.
Transfer the cauliflower head to a cutting board or platter and sprinkle with your favorite flake finishing salt for crunch and salinity!
Carve and serve!
Got extra Tandoori marinade?
Make these simple recipes pronto:
How do I cook this recipe faster?
Although the final dish is worth the wait, you can streamline this recipe into a quick weeknight vegetable side dish. Simply cut the cauliflower into florets and toss with the tandoori marinade. Lay them in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and roast in a 400°F oven for about 30 minutes, tossing the florets every 10 minutes, or until browned and tender. Yep, broccoli florets also work!
What do I serve with whole roasted cauliflower?
You can serve Tandoori Whole Roasted Cauliflower as a main dish for your vegetarian pals or you can serve it as a side dish to your favorite grilled meat or seafood.
If you want to make an Indian-themed dinner, you can serve it with these dishes:
How do I store and reheat leftovers?
Store the cooked tandoori whole roasted cauliflower in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 days and in the freezer for up to 4 months. Reheat the cauliflower (thawed if previously frozen) in a covered dish at 325°F until warmed through. Remove the cover and broil for 2-3 minutes to brown the top.
Looking for more recipe ideas? Head on over to my Recipe Index. You’ll also find exclusive recipes on my iPhone and iPad app, and in my cookbooks, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2013), Ready or Not! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2017), and Nom Nom Paleo: Let’s Go! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2022).
PRINTER-FRIENDLY RECIPE CARD
Tandoori Whole Roasted Cauliflower
- 1 whole cauliflower head about 2 pounds
- ½ cup full-fat coconut milk plain coconut yogurt
- 1 tablespoon tandoori spice mix (no salt added)
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- Flake finishing sea salt optional
- Heat the oven to 375°F and place a rack in the middle position.
- Grab the cauliflower head and trim away the leaves at the bottom of the cauliflower head. Carefully cut off and remove the stem and tough core, but be careful to keep the head intact.
- In a large bowl, whisk coconut milk, tandoori spice, lemon juice, and ½ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt.
- Place the cauliflower head bottom side up in the dish or pan you are going to roast it in. Pour some of the tandoori marinade all over the bottom of the cauliflower and use a pastry brush to paint it evenly on the surface.
- Flip the cauliflower over and pour the rest of the tandoori marinade over the top and paint the top until it is completely covered.
- Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil. (You can also put a layer of parchment between the foil and cauliflower if you prefer.)
- Put the skillet on the middle rack in the oven. Cook for 30 minutes, covered.
- Remove the foil from the skillet. Baste the top of the cauliflower with the sauce in the pan and roast for an additional hour in the oven, uncovered. Once the cauliflower is golden brown on the outside and tender on the inside, take it out of the oven.
- Transfer the cauliflower head to a cutting board or platter and sprinkle with your favorite flake finishing salt for crunch and salinity!
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Wow, I love whole roasted cauliflower! Anything tandoori spiced is also a winner in my book. And yes, full fat coconut milk is KEY for flavor and creaminess! I’d just eat at least half the cauliflower myself 😉
Yummilicious! Also, it’s so nice to see natural fingernails rather than those fake silly things that every other woman seems to wear. Thank you!
If you use the nom nom paleo tandoori marinade, do you still use the 1/2 cup of coconut milk and tandoori spice?
Nope! You either use 1/2 cup of the bottled marinade or make it with the coconut milk and tandoori spice blend.
My 85 year old Mom lives in San Diego. My husband and I live up in Portland. I make Michelle’s recipes, take pics of the finished dishes and show her my masterpieces. She asked me for a copy of this recipe (she’s as non-Internet savvy as they come). Today she decided to make this as a side dish for friends who are coming for dinner. This is how today’s conversation has gone so far. I’m waiting to hear how the guests loved it.
My mom: boy it aint easy coring a cauliflower! part of it came away. Guess i cut too deep
Me: oopsie. You know what though? Even if it fell apart it’ll still be tasty when you roast it
My mom: just not as pretty. but most of it is intact just a few big parts arent which i will put beside whole head and serve only the intact part
Me: you’re making me laugh
My mom: did you find the additional hour was enough?
Me: It was perfect. I had used a too-small head of cauliflower, so i think I only roasted with 45 min and then poked it to see if it was tender. it was
My mom: well this was 2 lbs before the pieces fell off
My mom: stop laughing
My mom: you know i will blame you if its not perfect
Me: I’m good with that
My mom: lol
Me: Gene (my husband) is laughing too
My mom: i will get you both!
Me: and our little cats too?
My mom: absolutely they take after their mommy and daddy
Me: yeah they’re laughing too
My mom: Maddie (her dog) is crying
Me: with laughter
My mom then cyber-whaps me.
Looks great! If I use the sheet pan method for the cauliflower dish do I still cover with foil and just remove to stir and recover?
If using florets, no need to cover with foil because they will cook faster.
I’m Nomnompaleo’s biggest fan. Love so many of her recipes. This one though was not a fan. Hubs hit the nail on the head when he said he felt like he was eating Cauliflower pudding. Flavor good, but the texture just wasn’t for us.
Thanks for the feedback! The texture should be tender, but not mushy like pudding.