Do you ever wonder why you don’t crave vegetables like other foods? Is it because of their taste? Or because of our perceptions? Too many of us don’t give vegetables the chance they deserve. They’re blank canvases on which you can express your culinary creativity. I believe everyone should have a method for preparing vegetables that you can easily make at any given time. My personal favorite method is roasting them—the most fun, adaptable method anyone can learn. 

Gjelina, a restaurant in Los Angeles, makes some of the most creative, soul-satisfying veggies I’ve had. I bought their cookbook, Gjelina, two years ago and came across this easy, fantastic method for roasting cauliflower, which I also use as a foundation for making other dishes.

This version provides an easy-to-follow recipe that makes for a wonderful bite. It involves taking the time to make a garlic confit, which, despite its fancy name, renders a versatile pantry item with uses beyond this dish. After making the confit, everything else in the recipe is quickly put together, which makes the whole dish great to have in your back pocket.

Once you’ve made this veggie dish, I encourage you to follow your instincts and palate, using the underlying technique while substituting your favorite flavors. For example, you can toss the cauliflower with harissa paste before roasting to give it a zesty profile that pairs well with a cool yogurt sauce. Or, you can substitute balsamic vinegar to give the dish a sweeter, more complex flavor profile. You can also use broccoli, rapini, or romanesco instead of the cauliflower. You’ll be surprised by how easy and fun it is to build upon this basic technique of roasting to make vegetables that you’ll want every day.

Personally, I use this method most often when I cook—its versatility, ease, and simplicity make it superb with almost any dish. Try it as a side dish to pizza, lavender-crusted pork chops, or a simple Cacio e Pepe pasta. Or, eat it with a dab of seasoned Greek yogurt and call it lunch. I hope it can find a place in your cooking so that you will crave vegetables every day.

Gjelina Roasted Cauliflower

  • Prep Time:1 hr
  • Cook Time:12 mins
  • Total Time:1 hr 12 mins
  • Servings:4
  • Easy


  • 8 cloves garlic peeled whole
  • 1 1/3 cup olive oil plus more as needed
  • 2 bay leaves bruised
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 1 head cauliflower cut into florets
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • Ground black pepper
Nicole Chen
  • Step 1

    Preheat oven to 350° F. In a small baking dish, combine garlic cloves, thyme, and bay leaves. Pour in 1 cup of olive oil into garlic mixture. Make sure garlic cloves are covered by at least an inch of oil.

    Nicole Chen
  • Step 2

    Place baking dish in oven for 45 minutes to one hour. Bake until cloves are soft and fragrant, but still maintain their shape.

    Nicole Chen
  • Step 3

    Take garlic out of oven and let it cool. You can make this ahead of time. Keep refrigerated in an airtight container, with garlic completely submerged in oil.

  • Step 4

    Preheat oven to 500° F. In a medium bowl, toss cauliflower with remaining 1/3 cup of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

    Nicole Chen
  • Step 5

    Heat a large cast-iron frying pan over high heat (make sure your frying pan is oven proof). Add cauliflower into hot pan. Let sit undisturbed until it begins to brown for 2-3 minutes.

    Nicole Chen
  • Step 6

    Transfer pan directly into oven. Let cook for 5 minutes.

  • Step 7

    Take pan from oven and flip cauliflower over with a spatula. Then place pan back in oven to continue cooking until well seared for another 3-4 minutes.

  • Step 8

    Remove pan from oven. Take three cloves of garlic confit and place into pan with roasted cauliflower.

  • Step 9

    Add red wine vinegar, parsley, and red pepper flakes. Stir to distribute, breaking up garlic with a spatula and season to taste with salt and pepper. Make sure everything is mixed evenly.

    Nicole Chen
  • Step 10

    Transfer to a large serving dish. Serve either warm or at room temperature.

    Nicole Chen