Roasted Cauliflower with Olives

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This is such a wonderful side dish for so many entrees.

The mild taste of the roasted cauliflower matches perfectly against the tangy green olives, capers, lemon zest, and fresh parmesan cheese. And it simply could not be easier to prepare, and is super healthy, too! This is great served with Roasted Chicken or Beef Brisket!

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How To Make Roasted Cauliflower with Olives

The hardest part (and it’s really not even hard), is cutting the cauliflower into florets. But like we said, it’s not really that hard. Just use a nice, large, sharp knife to carve out the core, and then cut away the florets. Easy!

In many well-stocked supermarkets, you can get pre-cut cauliflower. In a pinch, you can use frozen, although the texture will be very soft.

You may be asking: “Is cauliflower healthy?” In a word: Yes! Read more about that here.

A rectangular serving platter filled with roasted cauliflower with olives sitting next to a couple glasses of white wine.

The Ingredients You Will Need

This recipe is not only extremely pantry-friendly, but you can also adapt it to your own tastes.

Here are the simple ingredients we love using, but you feel free to adjust:

  • Fresh cauliflower, cut into florets
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Lemon zest
  • Salt and pepper
  • Smoked paprika
  • Olives (we love a mixture of green and kalamata)
  • Capers
  • Fresh parsley
  • Grated Parmesan cheese

EXPERT TIP: The dish as written is 100% vegetarian. To make it 100% vegan, leave off the cheese.

Mix together the seasonings with the oil and lemon zest and then pour over the cut cauliflower in a large bowl.

A person pouring paprika oil over cauliflower florets in a large glass bowl.

Place the prepared cauliflower on a large baking sheet with your oven preheated to 400°F.

We line our baking sheets with parchment paper (or foil) for easy cleanup.

This recipe will comfortably feed 4 people as a side dish. If you are feeding more, simply increase the cauliflower to 2 heads and add more olives as desired. The original flavored oil quantity will still work with the increased veggies.

Seasoned cauliflower florets resting on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Roasted Cauliflower FAQs

Can the dish be made ahead of time? Sort of. You can easily prep all of the items and get the oil mixture ready to go. We recommend serving the dish right from the oven, or soon after. The cauliflower, though still tasty, loses its nice crisp toasty texture after it sits for several hours.
What other ingredients can be added? For the holidays, we make this and add cooked pancetta (preferably cut into chunky pieces) and fresh sage. You can also add other vegetables, such as broccoli, carrots, and quartered new potatoes. They will bake in the same amount of time.
How long will leftovers keep? As mentioned, you’ll lose some of the toasty texture, but leftovers will keep covered in the fridge for several days. The dish doesn’t freeze very well, as the overall texture becomes compromised.

The combination of roasted ingredients makes for a gorgeous presentation, too!

A large baking sheet filled with roasted cauliflower and olives with a wooden spatula off to the side.

Other Awesome Cauliflower Recipes

Cauliflower is one of our favorite ingredients to cook with. It’s versatile, easy to find, and when prepared right, amazingly delicious.

Here are some great recipes to try:

In the meantime, you’ve got to whip up a batch of this amazing Roasted Cauliflower with Olives.

EXPERT TIP: Garnishing the dish with freshly chopped parsley, toasted pin nuts, and grated parmesan cheese adds an unforgettable depth of flavor and texture that is just amazing.

A person using a micro-plane to grate a block of Parmesan cheese over a platter of roasted cauliflower and olives.

When To Serve

This dish is always a favorite when served to family, friends, and guests.

It’s so easy and is ideal for a busy weeknight meal. And, by the way, remember it’s very healthy.

But, it’s so vibrant and gorgeous, it’s really perfect for dinner parties and for holiday feasts.

A white rectangular serving platter filled with roasted cauliflower with olives garnished with parsley and grated Parmesan.

This has become a staple in our house and we’re certain you’ll feel the same way.

It’s deeply flavorful and so adaptable to your tastes.

Trust us, with one bite, you’ll be hooked.

A person holding up a large spoonful of roasted cauliflower, green and kalamata olives, and fresh herbs.

Ready to make an incredible side dish that just may steal the show from the main dish? Go for it!

And when you do, be sure to take a photo of it, post it on Instagram, and tag @HowToFeedaLoon and hashtag #HowToFeedaLoon!

A rectangular serving platter filled with roasted cauliflower with olives sitting next to a couple glasses of white wine.

Roasted Cauliflower with Olives and Lemon

Roast Cauliflower with Olives is deeply flavorful, healthy, easy to make, and can be adaptable to your own tastes. The roasting just enhances the natural flavors. Wonderful side dish any time of the year!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side
Cuisine: Vegetable
Keyword: healthy side dish, how to cook cauliflower, how to roast cauliflower
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 186kcal


  • 1 baking pan lined with parchment paper or foil for easy cleanup.


  • 1 head cauliflower cored and cut into 2-inch florets
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¾ tsp Kosher salt
  • ½ ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice from 1 lemon
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • ½ cup green olives pitted
  • ½ cup Kalamata olives pitted
  • 2 tbsp capers drained
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts toasted
  • 2 tbsp parsley fresh, chopped, for garnish
  • 3 tbsp Parmesan cheese freshly grated, for garnish, optional


  • Preheat oven to 400F.
  • Place the cut cauliflower in a large bowl.
    1 head cauliflower
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, salt, pepper, paprika, and lemon juice. In a separate large bowl, combine the cauliflower, olive oil, and lemon zest. Pour the mixture over the cauliflower and use two large spoons to mix and fully coat.
    ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, ¾ tsp Kosher salt, ½ ground black pepper, 1 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tbsp lemon juice, Zest from 1 lemon
  • Spread the cauliflower onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (or foil).
  • Roast for 15 minutes, stirring halfway through with a wooden spoon.
  • Remove from the oven and stir in the olives, capers, and half of the toasted pine nuts. Return to the oven for another 10 minutes.
    ½ cup green olives, ½ cup Kalamata olives, 2 tbsp capers, 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • Remove from oven and carefully transfer to a serving platter. Garnish with remaining pine nuts, parsley, and grated Parmesan (if using). Serve at once.
    2 tbsp parsley, 3 tbsp Parmesan cheese


See the video near the top of the blog post for visual guidance.  If you like the video, please subscribe to our YouTube channel
All of the prep work can be done for the dish up to a day in advance.  Mix together the EVOO, seasonings, and lemon zest, and then keep covered in the fridge.  Do the same for the cut cauliflower.  Once ready to be baked, the recipe is extremely simple and quick. 
You can also add in cut broccoli, carrot spears or slices, and/or bell pepper strips.  During the holidays, we often add cooked pancetta (cut into small cubes) and fresh sage.
Leftovers will keep in the fridge for several days (though it's never as it is fresh out of the oven). We don't recommend freezing.  


Calories: 186kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 3mg | Sodium: 1177mg | Potassium: 503mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 584IU | Vitamin C: 72mg | Calcium: 101mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe? Take a Picture!Mention @HowToFeedALoon or tag #HowToFeedALoon!

POST UPDATE: This recipe was originally published in February 2015, but was updated with improved tweaks to the recipe with new tips and photography and a fabulous new video in February 2022!


  • Can you please review this recipe? The instructions are confusing about when to add in the olives and also you mention lemon juice at one point but lemon juice is not listed as an ingredient.

      • Sorry about that, Meredith! Thank you so so much for clarifying, Cynthia! We’ve updated the recipe to make it match the video! And…thanks for the GREAT review! That means the world to us! And this roasted cauliflower with olives is sooo yummy! We need to make it again, soon!!! xoxo

  • Something I’ve done with roasted cauliflower… take a full head, dip in a bowl of plain Greek yogurt (that I added a few Tbsp of yellow curry), and then broiled in the oven. Oh, drizzle olive oil over it before dipping into the curry yogurt. I think it did it for about 30 mins or so as per recipe…. It was amaze-balls!

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