Recipe For Health
Adapted by Chef Kurt Kwiatkowski from a recipe by Emily Han at Kitchn
Featured Food: Cauliflower Yield: 3-6 ServingsLearn more about Cauliflower


  • 1 large head cauliflower
  • 3 T. olive oil
  • 1 T. minced fresh ginger
  • 1 t. ground cumin
  • 1 t. ground turmeric
  • 1 t. curry powder
  • 2 T. chopped fresh cilantro
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 425°F.

Trim leaves and cut stem end flush with base of cauliflower head. Cut cauliflower from top to bottom into 3 ¾ inch-thick slices or “steaks.” Yield should be 3 steaks.

Heat 1 Tablespoon oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Sear cauliflower until golden on both sides, about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to sheet tray.

Whisk remaining oil with ginger, cumin, turmeric, and curry powder, then brush or spoon onto cauliflower.

Roast in the oven for about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving plate, garnish with cilantro and serve.

Chef Kurt Kwiatkowski, MSU Culinary Services, adapted this recipe, increasing the spices for a punch of flavor. Great as a side dish, it also makes a delicious vegetarian main dish. 

Learn More About Cauliflower

The flowering stalk of the cauliflower makes it one of the more stunning members of the cabbage (technically, Brassica) family. The familiar kind has creamy-white heads. Cauliflower comes in orange, green, and purple, too. You pay more for the non-standard version mainly because the colorful-headed varieties take longer to grow. All have the same mild flavor.

You can find cauliflower year-round wrapped in plastic in your grocer’s produce aisle. Michigan-grown cauliflower has a season: July through October. Look for cauliflower with compact curds and tight bud clusters. Brown spots are caused by bruising and aging. While the spots can be cut away, doing so reduces yield. Stored stem side down in a paper or perforated plastic bag, cauliflower should keep for a week; if washed or cut, just a day or two.  

Boiling and steaming will likely leave your cauliflower waterlogged—and stinky. Long cooking time in water develops odorous sulfur compounds in brassicas. Even mild-flavored cauliflower can’t deny its cabbage family lineage when cooked like this.

Rather than cooking cauliflower completely with moist heat, give it a quick dip in boiling water. Follow that with dry heat and you’ve got the winning combination for big flavor. Dry heat concentrates the sugars in any vegetable. The same is true for cauliflower.

Start by cutting the head into eight wedges or break it into florets. Blanch in salted water until tender-crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Move the cauliflower to a pan of icy water; drain well. Toss with a little oil then oven-roast, grill, or pan sauté until browned to your liking. From there you can go either of two ways: let its delicacy shine with a drizzle of olive oil and salt to taste; or pair it with strong flavors such as lemon and capers or bacon and scallions. Think of any flavor you love and pair it with cauliflower. You can’t go wrong.  

Peggy Crum, MA, RD

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