If you love the buttery, nutty flavor of roasted cauliflower, you’re in for a treat.
The following sides, herbs and spices, sauces, and more are perfect partners to this versatile vegetable.
Cauliflower is a great canvas for other flavors—it’s a bit like rice in that way—and it also happens to be quite nutritious.
When roasted, cauliflower transforms into something completely new: sweet, nutty caramelization on the outside and tender florets on the inside.
This versatile veggie pairs well with almost anything from cheese to lemon to chili flakes.
We’re sharing our favorite recipes for side dishes, herbs and spices, sauces, and more that go well with roasted cauliflower.
What to Serve with Roasted Cauliflower?
Roasted cauliflower is a versatile vegetable that pairs well with a wide variety of dishes. It goes especially well with a simple salad or pasta.
You can also pair roasted cauliflower with creamy sauces, such as pesto, hollandaise, and bechamel. It pairs well with a savory cheese like feta, and you can even use it as a replacement for mashed potatoes.
We recommend soup!
- Soup gives you the opportunity to pick up flavors and ingredients that complement the savory notes in the roasted cauliflower.
- Soup is easy to make in big batches, so you can satisfy all of your hungry guests.
- Soup is perfect if you want an easy, no-fuss meal that still feels like a treat.
A word of caution:
There are so many different kinds of soup—make sure you choose one that goes well with the flavors of your cauliflower!
Salad is a classic staple of the healthy diet, and it pairs well with just about any main course—and roasted cauliflower is no exception.
Another bonus? It’s super easy to make.
All you need are some colorful vegetables, perhaps some cheese or tofu for protein, and a couple of seasonings.
You can even create your own dressing in about two minutes using some oil and vinegar with your favorite spices.
You’ve got yourself a scrumptious side to go with your perfectly seasoned roasted cauliflower that’s sure to please everyone at the table.
The only thing to consider is whether or not you want to make the salad the star of your meal.
Because while this side dish pairs incredibly well with cauliflower, it’s also delicious on its own!
Heck, it’s great all by itself as a small snack when you get hungry in between meals.
So if you’re looking for something that will work wonderfully as both a side dish and an entree, we’d suggest salad.
3. Pasta Salad
Pasta salad is tasty, but not too intense.
It has a lot of flavor, but it’s not going to overpower whatever is on your dinner plate.
So you can still taste all the flavors in your main course.
Plus, it’s easy to make and easy to store in a refrigerator, which means you can make it ahead of time.
And if you’ve got some leftovers after dinner, you can enjoy them later in the week—just add some olive oil and stir!
If you’re making pasta salad as a side dish, there’s one thing you should be aware of: it can sometimes be a bit high in calories.
Chicken is a classic choice for good reason.
It’s neutral enough in flavor that it won’t overshadow the cauliflower, but at the same time, it’s substantial and rich enough to hold its own against the dish.
And if you’re going through the trouble of roasting a full head of cauliflower, why not roast a whole chicken at the same time?
It brings one-pan meals to a whole new level.
But before you run out and get yourself some chicken… consider this:
Is chicken really your style?
If not, there are plenty of other things that will allow you to enjoy both dishes at once, such as rice or potatoes.
It’s a great pick because it has all the simple flavors you want in a side dish, but with just enough complexity to keep things interesting.
If you’re looking for something a little more substantial than a salad, but not quite as heavy as roasted potatoes or rice, this is the right option for you.
The only thing to consider is that the portions may be a little small, since this is more of an appetizer than a full meal.
If you have some big eaters coming over, make sure to serve extra pizza or add a salad or another side on top of this one!
Mashed potatoes are a great way to pair with roasted cauliflower because they complement the savory nature of roasted vegetables, and they provide a contrasting texture as well.
Another huge plus is that you can add countless different ingredients to mashed potatoes without detracting from the flavor of your roasted cauliflower.
Just keep in mind that if you do decide to serve mashed potatoes with your roasted cauliflower, it’s important to start cooking it first so it gets done around the same time as your main course.
Otherwise, one or both could get cold before you’re ready to serve!
7. Curry dishes
We’d like to direct your attention to curry dishes.
They can be served hot or cold, so they’re a great year-round option.
Plus, there are endless variations—you can choose from sweet and spicy or salty and tangy.
Curry dishes also go well with a variety of different meats, so you won’t have to change your menu too much if you choose to serve roasted cauliflower as a side instead of potatoes.
Curry dishes are definitely a crowd pleaser—but keep in mind that if you’re serving this as an appetizer or at an event where people might not be used to curry, it could end up being too spicy for some people.
8. Fried rice
We love fried rice because there’s a huge range of ingredient options that can be added, so you can cater to any diet or preference.
If you’re trying to keep it vegan, tofu is an easy way to add protein and a meaty texture.
If you’re serving meat-eaters, ground chicken or turkey is an excellent option.
A thing to consider before choosing fried rice as your side dish for roasted cauliflower?
The carbs—rice can be calorie dense and high in carbs, depending on how much oil you use and what style of fried rice you decide to make.
If you’re trying to keep the meal low-carb, fried rice might not be the best choice!
What Sauces Go with Roasted Cauliflower?
Roasted cauliflower is a super easy and delicious way to get your veggies.
Sometimes it’s just not quite enough on its own.
Sometimes, you need a little something extra to spice it up, make it more exciting, give it that extra kick.
That’s where sauces come in—the perfect solution for the discerning cauliflower lover who needs a little bit more than what the floret has to offer on its own.
Here are 7 sauces that will make your roasted cauliflower experience even better:
1. Tartar Sauce
We love serving roasted cauliflower with tartar sauce.
The slight sweetness from the roasted cauliflower is balanced out by the tangy bite of the tartar sauce, and it does it without overpowering or distracting from the taste of our favorite healthy side dish.
That being said, tartar sauce isn’t necessarily a fit for every occasion.
If your cauliflower is already quite sweet, the tanginess of the tartar sauce will be too much to handle.
2. Tomato Sauce
Cauliflower with tomato sauce is a classic combination, and that means it’s always sure to please everyone at the table.
It’s a great choice if you’re serving cauliflower to a crowd, because it’s an easy sauce for folks who are new to veggies like cauliflower.
This is also a great choice if you have a wide range of ages at the table—grandparents will love this pairing, and kids will enjoy it too!
For something a little different, try putting your tomato sauce in squeeze bottles or small dipping dishes for each diner to serve themselves.
It can be so much fun to get messy with your food!
Just be sure to have plenty of napkins on hand.
One thing to consider before you choose this particular sauce is how much time you have to prepare it.
While tomato sauce is usually pretty easy to make, if you’re short on time, then this may not be the option for you.
3. Tahini Sauce
This sauce has a rich flavor, with just a touch of sweetness from the lemon juice.
You may not have had it before (which is okay—we’re about to change that), but we’re willing to bet that after one taste, you’ll be hooked!
The only thing to consider before making this sauce?
How good are you with lemon juice?
The more you squeeze into your tahini sauce, the more acidic it will be, so if you usually find yourself reaching for lemonade when you’re at the grocery store, maybe don’t squeeze quite as much in as we did.
4. Hot Sauce
First of all, who doesn’t love hot sauce?
It’s kind of like the peanut butter of condiments—something everyone has in their fridge, something that goes on everything.
If you’re strapped for time or just don’t feel like cooking tonight, there’s no shame in serving your roast cauliflower with some hot sauce drizzled over top.
One thing to consider before choosing this particular sauce is that different types of hot sauce will have different levels of spiciness, which may be more appealing to some than others.
If you choose to use store-bought hot sauce, make sure you check the label for an accurate rating of its heat level so you know what you’re getting yourself into.
We know what you’re thinking, but hear us out: you want a sauce that is going to stand up to the strong flavor of the cauliflower and add a little zing.
And sure, BBQ sauce would be delicious, but let’s be honest—it’s been done to death.
Horseradish sauce is the perfect choice if you want something a little different—but don’t forget to add a few other ingredients so it doesn’t overwhelm your taste buds.
We love this pairing because the buttery, rich flavor of the hollandaise brings out the earthy flavors of the cauliflower.
It’s a match made in heaven!
One thing to consider about this pairing, though, is that it’s not for everyone.
Hollandaise can be a pretty heavy sauce—and if your recipe calls for making your own from scratch, it can be kind of a pain to prepare.
If you’re looking for an easier option or something lighter, you could try serving your cauliflower with ranch dressing or a chimichurri sauce instead.
Béchamel is a member of the mornay family of sauces, which also includes cheese sauces and tomato-based sauces.
It’s smooth and creamy, so it’s an ideal pairing for crispy roasted cauliflower—and if you’ve never tried roasting cauliflower before, stop what you’re doing and make that happen now.
The caramelized edges are the stuff dreams are made of.
This versatile sauce adds more than just rich flavor to your cauliflower:
It can also be used as a base for other recipes, like lasagna or macaroni and cheese.
Once you have it on hand, the possibilities are endless!
Keep in mind that Béchamel sauce has milk in it, so if you have any guests coming over who have milk allergies or lactose intolerance, it might be better to choose another option.
8 Herbs and Spices that Go Well with Roasted Cauliflower
Roasted cauliflower is delicious, but it’s important to season it with the right herbs and spices.
Here are 8 herbs and spices that go perfectly with roasted cauliflower:
First, let’s talk about Marjoram.
This is a good pick if you’re looking for something that’s familiar, but not too overpowering.
The sweet, floral notes are sure to be a hit with most palates, and it’s also pretty versatile when it comes to pairing with other ingredients.
Here’s what you should consider before you make your choice: Marjoram dries out quickly and loses its flavor if stored for more than six months at a time.
So if you’re looking to stock up for the long haul, this might not be the herb for you!
Sage is a spice that’s all about bringing the flavor out of other, complementary ingredients.
It’s a great pick for roasted cauliflower because it’ll work with all the delicious flavors you’re already getting from your cooking process.
So, if you want to really make your roasted cauliflower stand out, sage is a great pick.
One thing to consider before you choose this is how much flavor you want to add—sage has a pretty strong taste on its own, so if you add too much, it might just be too much for your cauliflower dish!
Thyme can be a great pick if you’re looking for an herb that’ll give your roasted cauliflower an extra kick.
Thyme has a strong, sharp flavor that really stands out, so it’s good for making sure your dish doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.
One thing to keep in mind is that thyme’s sharpness can sometimes overwhelm more delicate flavors.
If you’re working with other smaller, more subtle herbs and spices, like rosemary or basil, it might not be the best pick for you.
Rosemary is like the potato of spices: it pairs well with just about anything.
And the herb compliments cauliflower in particular because they both have earthy tones that are mellow and not too strong.
Just don’t overdo it—because of its strong flavor, we’ve noticed that rosemary can easily overpower other ingredients.
5. Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne is a great addition to roasted cauliflower because it brings a little heat in the form of spicy capsaicinoids, but also a nice earthy flavor and bright notes of color.
One thing to consider?
Cayenne can be pretty powerful stuff.
Maybe just try adding a little first, and then go from there.
Add ginger to your cauliflower for a hint of spice and a subtle sweetness.
It can be especially good if you’ve got some cauliflower that’s been sitting in the fridge for a bit—ginger will give it a boost.
We like to grate some fresh ginger into our oil before roasting, or sprinkle ground ginger on top right before serving.
One thing to consider: Ginger works best with sweet or mild flavors, so if you’ve got some cauliflower that’s been marinating in hot sauce, you might want to try something else.
Nutmeg isn’t just for Christmas cookies or eggnog.
It adds a warm, cozy, and sweet tone to roasted vegetables.
You’ll think it tastes like your favorite dessert—but without the sugar crash afterward.
And it makes your kitchen smell like the holidays year-round!
The only thing to consider before choosing this spice is that nutmeg can be overwhelming if you use too much.
Be sure to add it in increments until you’ve found the right amount for your taste.
Paprika is a great choice if you want to add some spice to your cauliflower.
This spice is known for its subtle heat and smoky flavor, and it’s a versatile herb that goes well with lots of different foods.
Paprika helps bring out the sweetness of the vegetable while also adding some spice and smokiness that can help cut through the richness of a cream sauce or buttery vinaigrette.
One thing to consider before choosing this particular herb/spice: paprika can be expensive. If you’re on a budget, you may want to look into other spices or herbs that are a little more cost-effective.
What to Serve with Roasted Cauliflower (Sides, Sauces, Etc)
- Pasta Salad
- Mashed potatoes
- Curry dishes
- Fried rice
- Pick your favorite side dish from this article to serve with your meal.
- Prepare the ingredients according to the recipe.
- Be ready to eat in no time!