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This blackened cauliflower is one of the best side dishes imaginable. The cauliflower is first roasted until golden and then topped with crispy herb and garlic panko and sweet, plump raisins.
This blackened cauliflower has been a long-time favorite around here. The combination of dark-roasted cauliflower with garlicky crispy panko bits and sweet, juicy raisins wins every time.
What happens to the cauliflower when it spends enough time in a hot oven to become dark brown is nothing short of dreamy. It takes on a rich, nutty flavor that is hard to resist. And once it's covered in salty, crispy, buttery breadcrumbs it takes it to a whole new level.
And while this blackened cauliflower recipe might seem complicated, it's really quite simple. To make it, we season and roast cauliflower. And when the cauliflower is in the oven, we boil raisins to plump them up and toast panko in garlic butter. Then we layer all the pieces together in a serving bowl before bringing it to the table. Easy!
Cauliflower + olive oil + sumac + salt – We use two large heads of cauliflower and toss them in a generous amount of olive oil and lemony-tasting sumac.
Raisins – sultanas or golden raisins are wonderful, but any type of raisins will work.
Butter + garlic + rosemary + parsley – These four give tons of flavor to the panko.
Panko – these Japanese-style breadcrumbs are extra crispy and widely available. You can use regular breadcrumbs if you have them on hand.
Parmesan or grana padano – just a sprinkle of salty cheese to finish the dish.
How to make crispy blackened cauliflower
Despite having layers of flavor, this cauliflower is incredibly simple to make.
- Start by chopping and then seasoning the cauliflower. Then, put it into the oven and let it roast until it's beautifully dark in spots.
- To make the raisins, simmer them in water for about 10 minutes. This makes them plump and extra tasty.
- To make the panko, start by sauteing garlic and rosemary in a bit of butter. Then, add the panko and let it toast in the pan. Once it's golden stir in the parsley and a pinch of salt.
- Now, all that you need to do is layer the roasted cauliflower, crispy panko, and plump raisins in a bowl. We also like to add a sprinkle of parmesan right before serving.
What to serve with blackened cauliflower
This is one side that goes well with nearly every main dish. We love it with simple baked chicken or juicy pork chops. It's also lovely next to lemon garlic fish or a fancier chicken dish like chicken provençal.
Most of the time when we serve blackened cauliflower we'll treat it like a starchy side and enjoy it in place of potatoes or rice. Add a spring mix salad to the table and dinner is ready!
Is this cauliflower really crispy?
The crispiness in this recipe comes from the panko. The herbed panko makes the cauliflower feel wonderfully crispy when you take a bite.
Can I use dried rosemary?
Yes! You'll want to use a little less than ½ teaspoon.
Can I make this recipe dairy-free?
Yes! This recipe can easily be made without dairy. Simply swap the butter for olive oil and skip adding parmesan at the end. If you'd like, you can sprinkle a little nutritional yeast on the cauliflower instead. But there is lots of flavor in the recipe so it's not really needed.
What can I use instead of sumac?
If you don't have sumac in your pantry, you can skip it and add a squeeze of lemon juice to the cauliflower after it bakes.
- 2 large cauliflower heads (cut into florets )
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons sumac (see notes)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ cup raisins
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 cloves garlic (very finely minced)
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary (minced)
- ⅓ cup panko
- 1 tablespoon finely minced parsley (plus extra for garnish)
- Parmesan or grana panado (to serve)
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the cauliflower florets in a large bowl then add the olive oil, sumac, and sea salt. Use your hands to toss everything together well.2 large cauliflower heads, 2 teaspoons sumac, 1 teaspoon sea salt, 4 tablespoons olive oil
- Transfer the cauliflower to the prepared baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the cauliflower is very brown.
- While the cauliflower is roasting, prepare the panko and raisins. Place the raisins in a small pot and cover them with 1″ of water. Bring the pot to a boil then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.¼ cup raisins
- Heat the butter over medium heat in a small frying pan. Add the garlic and rosemary and cook for 30 seconds. Add the panko and mix everything together well. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the panko is light brown. Stir in the finely minced parsley and a pinch of sea salt.2 cloves garlic, 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, ⅓ cup panko, 1 tablespoon finely minced parsley, 1 tablespoon butter
- To assemble, layer the cauliflower, herbed panko, and raisins in a serving bowl and top with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.Parmesan or grana panado
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.