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Tandoori Roasted Cauliflower

2013 January 7

When I first considered going vegetarian two years ago, one of the concerns I did not have was becoming bored with meatless meals. By then, I had a nice repertoire of Indian dishes, all vegetarian and, more importantly, a pantry stocked with spices, several recipes for key homemade spice blends, and fantastic local sources for the more exotic ingredients).

No meal is ever boring when sufficiently herbed and spiced.

This little beauty is orange cauliflower (sometimes marketed as cheddar cauliflower — due to the color, not the flavor). I’m not certain I could actually pass a blind a taste-test between orange and white, but it seems to be slightly nuttier and somehow perkier. Regardless, it’s gorgeous in the garden among all the green, and stunning on the plate, as it holds its color when cooked.

Roasted cauliflower is a long-time favorite in my household. The astringent, somewhat bland vegetable — and I say that with a lot of love — takes on a whole new persona under the heat of the oven, turning deeply savory and gently caramelized-sweet.

And when coated with a spiced yogurt marinade … well, it’s completely over the top.

Tandoori spice has bit of a kick, so I recommend serving it with a cooling yogurt raita, like this pomegranate cucumber version.

Tandoori Roasted Cauliflower

adapted from this recipe

If you have a tandoori spice blend that you love, don’t hesitate to substitute it for the one below.


  • for the tandoori spice blend:
  • 6 parts sweet paprika
  • 2 parts coriander, ground
  • 2 parts cumin, ground
  • 2 parts coarse sea salt
  • 1 part cinnamon, ground
  • 1 part black pepper, ground
  • 1 part ginger, ground
  • 1/2 part tumeric, ground
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper (use your judgment)
  • for the cauliflower:
  • 1 small head cauliflower, leaves removed, stalk trimmed
  • 1/2 cup Greek-style yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon tandoori spice blend
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. for the tandoori spice blend: Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. For this recipe, I used a 1/2 teaspoon as the measuring tool for the parts, which will make about 1 tablespoon of spice mix.
  2. for the cauliflower: In a medium bowl, stir together the yogurt, tandoori spice, garlic, lemon juice, and salt. Spread the mixture evenly over the cauliflower head, taking extra care to coat the florets on the underside. Refrigerate for several hours to allow the yogurt mix flavors to meld.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the marinated cauliflower head on a parchment lined baking sheet, and roast for about 45 minutes, or until the florets are tender.
  4. Drizzle with extra lemon juice and olive oil, if desired, and serve immediately, preferably with a side of raita.


7 Responses
  1. January 11, 2013

    You mentioned in this post that you have a lot of vegetarian indian recipes, but I can’t seem to find them on your blog? Can you point me to them?? :)

    • Karen @ Leaf & Grain permalink*
      January 11, 2013

      Hi Holly,
      Sorry for the misunderstanding – I have a nice collection of Indian recipes, but they’re not documented on this blog yet (this blog is still pretty young, just a month or so old). Thank you for visiting and asking, though! :)

      • January 13, 2013

        Well, I just need to be patient then! ;) Looking forward to seeing them. Your blog is beautiful and I’ve already tried the quinoa bites and they were delish! :D

        • Karen @ Leaf & Grain permalink*
          January 15, 2013

          I’m so glad you like them! (They are pretty addictve – dang, that sriracha’s wiley ways! ;) )

  2. January 14, 2013

    I LOVE cauliflower and also Indian food and cooking techniques. This looks unbelievably delicious, I have to try this! Your photos really are wonderful, I’m so glad I found your blog!

    • Karen @ Leaf & Grain permalink*
      January 15, 2013

      And I’m so glad you visited!

  3. Sinclair permalink
    May 25, 2013

    I had a beautiful deep amber and heavily crusted Tandoori Cauliflower at dinner last night and am going to make it a fav ‘go-to’ veggie. This looks like an excellent version. Thanks.

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