Spectacular Whole Roasted Cauliflower in Spicy-Sweet Mexican Sauce {Secret Recipe Club}

by Dorothy Reinhold on November 22, 2015

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In the final countdown to Big Thursday (aka Thanksgiving), do you have room for one more dish on your buffet? Because I have a beaut for you today.

It’s a whole roasted cauliflower, and it is a simply spectacular specimen. I predict your guests will ooh and ahhh over it, because it is probably unlike any other dish they have seen. The sauce is just slightly spicy from chile, and slightly sweet from currants and onions. I’ll bet no one can guess what’s in it.

It’s sort of like an impressive roast dinner, only it’s a vegetable, not a beast.

Vegetarian Whole Roasted Cauliflower in Spicy-Sweet Mexican Sauce recipe on ShockinglyDelicious.comMy husband ate a large wedge for dinner, and then finished the leftovers off while clearing up the table. There was not a drop left in the dish.


Whole Roasted Cauliflower in Spicy-Sweet Mexican Sauce

Prep Time: 35 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 60 minutes

Yield: Serves 4

Slightly spicy, slightly sweet whole roasted cauliflower makes an impressive vegetarian centerpiece for a main course or side dish.


  • Poaching the cauliflower
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 20 black peppercorns
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and cut into half
  • 1 3-inch cinnamon stick
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 1 medium cauliflower, trimmed and tough stem cut off
  • .
  • Sauce
  • 1 tomato, finely diced
  • 1 scallion, sliced (I used a pearl onion, finely minced)
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
  • 1 (10-ounce) can enchilada sauce (I used La Victoria Enchilada Sauce)
  • 1/3 cup currants
  • .
  • Coating
  • 1 medium egg, beaten
  • 1-2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Heat oven to 450F/220C/Gas mark 7.
  2. Cook the cauliflower: Add enough water to a big pot so the cauliflower can be submerged. Add garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, onion, cinnamon stick and cloves to the water and bring it to a boil. Add the whole cauliflower, turn heat down, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Gently take the cauliflower out of the poaching water and sit it in a colander to cool while you make the sauce.
  3. Make the sauce: Take the onion and garlic out of the poaching liquid (discard the rest) and finely dice them both. Put them into a bowl or large measuring cup and add the rest of the sauce ingredients -- scallion, garlic, enchilada sauce and currants. Mix well and set aside.
  4. Roast the cauliflower: Place the drained cauliflower in a shallow baking dish and with a brush, coat it with the beaten egg, making sure you cover it. Sprinkle the grated Parmesan cheese over the cauliflower and roast it in the oven for 10 minutes. Spoon the sauce all over the cauliflower and allow it to run down into the baking dish. Cook for another 15 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling hot.
  5. Remove from the oven and cut into slices or into quarters, serving with the sauce from the baking dish.
  6. Serves 4.


Recipe source: Adapted from Lavender and Lovage


Ingredients for Whole Roasted Cauliflower in Spicy-Sweet Mexican Sauce on ShockinglyDelicious.com

Just a few ingredients make a simple sauce.

Spicy-Sweet Mexican Sauce will be very chunky before roasting

The sauce will be quite chunky when you stir it together.

Whole Cauliflower gets an egg wash and then Parmesan coating on ShockinglyDelicious.com

An egg wash helps to “glue” the Parmesan onto the cauliflower.

Spicy-Sweet Mexican Sauce goes right on the whole cauliflower

Pour the sauce over the whole head and roast!

Vegetarian Whole Roasted Cauliflower in Spicy-Sweet Mexican Sauce on ShockinglyDelicious.com

Out of the oven and ready for action!

I found this recipe from Karen at Lavender and Lovage, a simply lovely food blog based across the Pond (she shares her time between North Yorkshire and South West France). You’ll have a take a look at her in her charming kitchen (I wish I was sitting there with her), and soak in the quiet beauty of her heirloom recipes. She also specializes in 5:2 Diet recipes, which is a plan in which you eat normally for five out of seven days, and greatly restrict your food on the other two days. So if you follow that plan, she’s your go-to gal.

I had been browsing her site for interesting sides for Thanksgiving, and landed on her gorgeous British Carrots: Sticky Carrot Medley with Pomegranate Molasses. Her Little Black Dress of Salads (Potato & Radish in a Creamy Truffle Oil Dressing) will indulge my love of spuds, truffle AND crunchy radishes! She says the humble potato and radish assume an air of luxury and sophistication, and the truffle dressing is like the string of pearls on the little black dress. You understand.

I could also see her dazzling winter coleslaw of Red Cabbage, Apple and Pecan Salad on my plate. It would brighten any holiday season meal, offer welcome crunch and be a healthful side dish. I’m making that one, too.

Seriously, if you are bored with what’s coming out of your own kitchen, take a gander at what comes out of hers, and then choose a recipe or three to try. You won’t be sorry. Thanks, Karen, for a delicious month of browsing and cooking. I’m officially stalking you now.

Secret Recipe Club button on Shockingly DeliciousI was assigned her blog as part of Secret Recipe Club, a sort of secret-Santa project for food bloggers. We are to quietly explore and cook for a month from this secret blog, and today is our reveal day of the recipe we have chosen to present.

If you’d like to see what else the Secret Recipe Club cooked up this month, browse the photo array below.

Disclosure: Hormel compensated me for using their enchilada sauce in my recipe.

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Erin @ The Spiffy Cookie December 8, 2015 at 10:50 am

Wow I have never roasted and entire head of cauliflower, whole. That looks amazing!


Dorothy Reinhold December 8, 2015 at 5:20 pm

I hadn’t either. I am going to do it several more times in December because I am hooked !


Tara November 30, 2015 at 6:11 pm

Oh wow! You are right. I have definitely never seen anything like it before. Definitely spectacular.


Dorothy Reinhold December 1, 2015 at 6:11 am

If you like cauliflower, you will definitely like this!


Emily @ Life on Food November 24, 2015 at 5:36 pm

This would be a perfect meal when you are all done with the turkey leftovers. I always needs something completely different come the weekend. Great pick for SRC!


Dorothy Reinhold November 25, 2015 at 4:27 am

I totally agree with you. When the turkey is done, you need to move on!


Wendy, A Day in the Life on the Farm November 24, 2015 at 5:40 am

One of my holiday parties each year has a Mexican theme for which this will be perfect. Great choice this month.


Dorothy Reinhold November 24, 2015 at 11:03 am

That’s an OUTSTANDING idea!


nicole @ i am a honey bee November 23, 2015 at 5:28 pm

I was going to make this when I had her blog. see, now I have to go back and make this!!!!

Great post!


Dorothy Reinhold November 24, 2015 at 5:35 am

You DO have to return to the scene of the crime and make this!


SallyBR November 23, 2015 at 7:50 am

Yeap, indeed you got a winner of a blog this month! Love her site, love it! And she got my blog this month…. so cool!

Your choice is simply spectacular, I don’t think I’ve ever seen cauliflower dressed up for a party like that!



Dorothy Reinhold November 23, 2015 at 3:30 pm

This c-flower is ready to rally!


Karen November 23, 2015 at 7:27 am

THANKS so much Dorothy for your kind words and for making my recipe look so AMAZING too! I hope you and your family have a VERY happy thanksgiving and it’s such a treat to read such nice comments on a Monday morning, I’m blushing now! 🙂 Karen


Dorothy Reinhold November 23, 2015 at 3:31 pm

Oh Karen, you have MANY, MANY fans of your blog among the Secret Recipe Club members. Countless! It was my pleasure to draw your name this month.


Christine November 23, 2015 at 6:43 am

This looks so pretty! Who knew that cauliflower could look so beautiful? I never would have thought to try poaching then roasting a cauliflower, but it looks like a fabulous idea! Great SRC choice!


Dorothy Reinhold November 23, 2015 at 3:32 pm

We really could have just had that whole thing for dinner!


Rebekah @ Making Miracles November 23, 2015 at 6:43 am

I love this!! What a perfect choice to share – I’ve never seen a whole roasted cauliflower, but it definitely stands out and sounds absolutely delicious.


Dorothy Reinhold November 24, 2015 at 11:04 am

I really want you to try this!


Karen @ Karen's Kitchen Stories November 22, 2015 at 9:42 pm

I love Karen’s blog, and her dishes are so beautiful and sophisticated. This looks amazing Dorothy!


Dorothy Reinhold November 22, 2015 at 11:16 pm

Ditto and ditto!


susan / the wimpy vegetarian November 22, 2015 at 9:35 pm

I love Karen’s blog!! Love, love, love! And this cauliflower dish is totally my kind of dish. It looks fantastic! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!


Dorothy Reinhold November 22, 2015 at 11:17 pm

This has YOU written all over it!


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