This easy roasted cauliflower recipe is extra special because it's flavored with lime, cilantro and garlic! You can make this fantastically flavorful cauliflower side dish with only 7 basic ingredients, and only 10 minutes active prep time!
Note: this post was originally published in 2019 and updated in 2021 with new photos and improved instructions.
In my opinion, roasting is the #1 way to prepare cauliflower (although, my aunt did make an amazing battered and deep fried cauliflower that was on a whole other level!). But, for a quick, easy and flavorful cauliflower side dish, roasting is the way to go; it just gives so much rich and nutty flavor, and a beautiful caramel color that's hard to beat.
And, you can make roasted cauliflower EVEN MORE delicious with this recipe for cilantro lime roasted cauliflower! Cauliflower florets are flavored with garlic, lime juice, and fresh chopped cilantro. But wait, there is even a secret ingredient...mayonnaise!
It may sound unusual, but the mayo really helps to brown the cauliflower, and provides a rich mouthfeel that's a little different from only using oil. I don't think you can tell there is mayo in the final product either, but it's really doing a lot!
(If you need a main course to go with this delicious cauliflower, check out my recipe for grilled balsamic chicken!)
- Limes: fresh lime juice is the best, but if you have bottled lime juice, that will also work.
- Cilantro: I know cilantro can be divisive; if cilantro is not your thing, you can substitute with another fresh herb you like, such as parsley, chives, and/or dill.
- Kosher salt: I used kosher salt in this recipe, which has a coarse grain. If you want to substitute fine grain salt, reduce the amount from 1 teaspoon to ¾ teaspoon.
Step by step photos
1. First, whisk together the kosher salt, black pepper, lime juice, garlic and mayo in a large bowl until smooth.
2. Then, add the cauliflower florets into the bowl.
3. Toss the cauliflower well with the mayo dressing, making sure the cauliflower florets are evenly coated.
4. Then, spread the cauliflower out evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Scrape out any remaining dressing from the bowl and pour it overtop the cauliflower.
5. Roast the cauliflower in a 425 degree F oven for 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and stir the cauliflower well, and spread it evenly on the baking sheet again.
6. Place the pan back in the oven for another 10 - 15 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender and well browned. Sprinkle the cilantro overtop the cauliflower and toss everything together on the baking sheet.
7. You can also sprinkle a little flaky sea salt on the cauliflower too! Serve the cauliflower immediately, garnished with lime wedges if you like.
Tips and tricks
- The recipe calls for 2 tablespoons lime juice, but if you want the roasted cauliflower to be extra tangy, you can increase the lime in the recipe up to 3 tablespoons.
- When you are cutting up your florets, make them on the smaller side; about one and a half to two inch chunks is a good size. Of course, you can cut them larger, they may just need a little more time in the oven. (Also, be sure to add in all those little crumbles of cauliflower from the cutting board, they turn deliciously crispy in the oven!)
- When you are tossing the cauliflower florets in the mayo and lime dressing, make sure to toss it very well, so the dressing seeps into all the nooks and crannies. You shouldn't see any dry bits of cauliflower remaining!
- Likewise, when you remove the cauliflower from the oven after the first 20 minutes, stir the cauliflower very well so the remaining dressing is redistributed onto the florets.
This roasted cauliflower recipe will taste best when served right after roasting, but there are some steps you can do ahead to save time.
First, you can cut the cauliflower florets ahead and store them in a zip top bag or food storage container in the fridge, up to 2 days in advance.
You can also mix up the mayo and lime dressing up to 2 days ahead of time and store it in a small jar or tightly covered container in the fridge.
Leftovers can be stored in the fridge, kept in a tightly covered container, for 3 - 4 days. The cauliflower also reheats well in the microwave. Bonus points - after heating the leftovers, sprinkle some more freshly chopped cilantro over the top!
Yes, you can freeze this roasted cauliflower! It will keep in the freezer (in an airtight container) for 6 months. Here is a great comprehensive guide on freezing vegetables.
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This roasted cauliflower recipe is super easy but is packed with cilantro, lime and garlic flavor - elevating the basic roasted cauliflower to something truly special!
- 1 head cauliflower (about 2 ¼ pounds/1 kg before trimming), cut into small florets (see notes 1 - 2)
- ⅓ cup (73 g) mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (see note 3)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste, plus more for sprinkling (see note 4)
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 3 large or 4 small cloves garlic, minced
- ⅓ cup (19 g) chopped cilantro
- optional garnish: lime wedges
- Preheat oven to 425° F/220° C.
- Whisk together mayonnaise, lime juice, garlic, kosher salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add in the cauliflower florets and toss together until the cauliflower is well coated in the mayonnaise mixture (you should see no dry patches left on the cauliflower).
- Spread the cauliflower out evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. If there is any remaining mayonnaise dressing in the bowl, pour it over the cauliflower.
- Roast for 20 minutes in the preheated oven. Take out the baking sheet and stir the cauliflower well so the remaining dressing is redistributed on the cauliflower pieces. Spread the cauliflower out evenly and put the baking sheet back in the oven for another 10 - 15 minutes, or until the cauliflower is browned and cooked through.
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven and sprinkle the cauliflower with the chopped cilantro. Toss the cauliflower on the pan to evenly distribute the cilantro. Taste a piece of the cauliflower, and if it needs it, lightly sprinkle the cauliflower with a bit more salt (recommendation - use flaky sea salt!) and serve immediately with lime wedges as a garnish.
Aim for florets that are about 1 ½ - 2 inches in size. If the florets are slightly smaller or larger, you may need to adjust the cook time slightly.
If you are using pre-cut cauliflower florets, you will need about 6 cups.
For a more intense lime flavor, you can increase the amount of lime juice from 2 tablespoons up to 3 tablespoons.
Kosher salt is coarse grained; if you want to substitute fine grain salt, reduce the amount used in the dressing from 1 teaspoon to ¾ teaspoon (or, add salt to taste). For finishing the dish, flaky sea salt is a nice touch. If you don't have flaky sea salt, just a light sprinkle of the same salt used for the dressing will also work!
The nutrition information below is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator, and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical, health, or nutritional advice. See our full nutrition disclosure policy.
- Serving Size: ¼ recipe
- Calories: 145
- Sugar: 1.8 g
- Sodium: 613 mg
- Fat: 13.4 g
- Saturated Fat: 2 g
- Carbohydrates: 5.6 g
- Fiber: 1.9 g
- Protein: 1.6 g
- Cholesterol: 7 mg
Keywords: roasted cauliflower, cilantro lime cauliflower, cilantro lime roasted cauliflower