Roasted Cauliflower with Tomato Sauce and Black Olives

This recipe caramelizes both the onions and cauliflower, a technique that cooks the sugars out of food, whether meat, vegetables or fruit, giving them sweetness and an appealing golden-brown color. You do need to watch carefully to ensure you don’t burn the food. You may want to use two smaller pans, so you don’t crowd the cauliflower, which would keep it from browning. Cut or break the cauliflower into florets, discarding the greens and reserving the stems for another use. You can make the tomato sauce ahead of time and keep up to a week in the fridge or a week in the freezer.

Chef Mike Isabella

    • Phases234
    • 4
    • 10 Minutes
    • 50 Minutes
    • 1 Hour
    •  US  Metric
  • Nutritional information per serving

    • 5g
    • 8g
    • 3g
    • 2g
    • 23g
    • 240


  • Cauliflower:
  • 2 ½ cups cauliflower florets (1-inch)
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • Tomato sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • ¼ cup sliced yellow onion
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup cored, seeded and finely diced plum tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoon capers, drained
  • Garnish:
  • ¼ cup black olives, pitted and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoon chopped parsley


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, place the water and ice cubes in a bowl.

  2. Blanch the cauliflower florets for 5 minutes, until tender. Remove and plunge into the ice bath. Once chilled, refrigerate until ready to cook.

  3. To make the sauce, heat 2 tablespoons of canola oil in a small saucepot over high heat. When hot, add the onions and caramelize them. Add the garlic and cook until it releases its aroma, being careful not to burn it. Add the tomatoes and bay leaf and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.

  4. Allow the sauce to cool. Stir in the olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper. Set aside or refrigerate, if prepared in advance.

  5. Reheat the tomato sauce and then add the capers. Turn off the heat, cover and keep warm.

  6. Heat 2 tablespoons of canola oil in a large sauté pan over high heat. Season the blanched cauliflower with salt. Once the oil is hot, add the cauliflower and caramelize it on all sides. To serve, place the tomato sauce on a serving plate and top with the cauliflower florets. Garnish with black olives and parsley.