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Sweet & Smoky Caramelized Cauliflower

Oct 22, 2014 04:00PM ● By Cate Reynolds
Rhea’s Rundown

I know cauliflower is not everyone’s favorite vegetable, but this dish blows away all those unsavory stigmas. It’s an even bigger hit for those who can stand a little heat in the kitchen. I acknowledge that there are some people who are just downright picky or only stick to what they know. However, whenever I encounter someone who automatically turns their nose up at a food, I tend to think it’s because they haven’t eaten that particular thing when it has been prepared correctly.

This may be just the recipe to reverse any reservations you once had about this unpopular veggie. The sweet and smokey flavors are so good, cauliflower could be your new favorite food! And for those of you who love cauliflower, you’ll love it even more. This recipe achieves the perfect balance of a bright sweetness and a subtle smoky after burn. Another quick and easy dish, most of the ingredients are things you probably already have available in the kitchen. The only aspects of the recipe that require any time at all, which is not much to speak of, involves cutting the cauliflower into florets and giving them time to brown in the pan. If you're in a pinch for time, you can even cut that down by buying pre-cut cauliflower florets. Finally, I love the use of honey as a natural sweetener, something that may help you not get tricked into eating other treats.

Ingredients – Serves 4

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • ½ teaspoon smoked sweet paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • ½ lemon
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. In a large frying pan over medium heat, melt the butter with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the cauliflower florets, sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt, and toss gently to coat the florets with the seasoned oil. Spread the florets in a single layer in the pan and cook, without stirring, until lightly browned on bottom, 3-4 minutes. Using tongs, turn each piece and continue cooking until evenly browned on the second side, 3-4 minutes. Repeat until all sides are evenly browned, 3-5 minutes longer.

2. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, the shallot, paprika, and red pepper flakes to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallot is softened, 1-2 minutes. Add the honey and 2 tablespoons water and sauté until the liquid reduces to a glaze, 2-3 minutes. Squeeze the juice from the lemon half over the cauliflower, stir to combine, and cook just to warm through, about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and black pepper.

Adapted from: Jacobi, Dana. “Sweet & Smokey Caramelized Cauliflower.” Good for You: Easy, Healthy Recipes for Every Day.” Weldon Owen, Inc. and Williams-Sonoma, Inc. California: San Francisco, 2013: Print.

By Rhea Torreon