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A whole head of roasted cauliflower with a slice taken out of it with a wine butter and herb sauce all over the top.

Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Herb Butter Sauce

Course: Side Dish or Entree
Cuisine: American
Keyword: how to roast a whole cauliflower, roasted cauliflower, vegetarian recipe
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 308kcal
Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Herb Sauce is as impressive in presentation as it is in taste. A wonderful addition to your special holiday menu, a steakhouse-themed dinner party, or just a busy weeknight when you're looking for something a little different.
Print Recipe


  • Small cast-iron skillet or baking dish
  • Aluminum foil (one large square piece)


  • 1 large cauliflower whole
  • 9 tbsp butter preferably clarified
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • cooking spray
  • ½ onion chopped, about ½ cup
  • 4 anchovy fillets drained and coarsely chopped
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 1 cup chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • ¼ cup capers nonpareil, drained
  • ¼ cup basil fresh, chopped
  • 1 tbsp parsley fresh, chopped


  • Preheat oven to 325°F.
  • Use a knife to trim away any leaves at the base of the cauliflower. Cutaway just enough of the bottom of the core to make it flat, but not cutting away from any of the florets (you want the cauliflower head to stay intact).
  • Melt three tablespoons of the butter and then brush it all over the top and bottom of the cauliflower. Generously sprinkle salt all over the cauliflower, as well as turning it upside down and sprinkling some salt into the inside of the vegetable.
  • Spray the cast-iron skillet or baking dish with cooking spray. Place the cauliflower into the pan or dish, core-side down. Cover with a large piece of aluminum foil, crimping the sides of the foil to form a seal.
  • Place in the oven and steam the cauliflower for 20 minutes.
  • Remove the foil and increase the temperature to 450°F and roast for 35 to 45 more minutes. The top will become nicely browned and the cauliflower can easily be pierced with a sharp knife when it's ready.
  • While the cauliflower is roasting, make the sauce: In a large skillet melt 1 tbsp of the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add the chopped anchovies and press them into the onions with the back of a fork. Cook for another 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Add the wine and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the chicken (or vegetable) broth and bring to a boil. Cook for 2 minutes.
  • Reduce heat to medium and add remaining butter, one tablespoon at a time, whisking often, until the sauce thickens a little.
  • Stir in the capers, basil, parsley, and season with a healthy pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Remove the cauliflower from the oven and pour the sauce over the top. Slice into quarters and serve at once.



Steam the cauliflower with the foil covering for 15 minutes if the head is smaller.  A little large can go for 20 minutes. 
Don't be afraid of the anchovies, they are not overpowering, and add a wonderful depth to the sauce.
However, to make the dish 100% vegetarian, then omit the anchovies and be sure to use vegetable broth.
The sauce can be made up to 12 hours in advance.  Gently reheat in your skillet over medium heat. 
The roasted cauliflower can be transferred to a serving platter, but we like serving it right in the cast-iron skillet and then pour the sauce over it at the table. 


Calories: 308kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 70mg | Sodium: 812mg | Potassium: 743mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 969IU | Vitamin C: 108mg | Calcium: 76mg | Iron: 1mg