A super easy, super tasty little plant-based appetizer to serve alongside some cocktails. You won’t believe how tasty these humble ingredients can become! Slow-roasted cauliflower, tender and soft on the inside, crispy on the outside, dipped into the flavourful herby, slightly vinegary chimichurri sauce is an absolutely scrummy combo.
This is one of those dishes you can make effortlessly when friends come over – it is literally a case of pulling the cauliflower apart into florets, rubbing them with some oil and salt and pepper and then leaving them in the oven while you get on with lighting candles and choosing your outfit!
As for the accompanying chimichurri sauce, it takes seconds to make in the blender and since it's all blended together, you don't need to be too careful painstakingly picking the coriander and parsley leaves off the stems - just roughly chop everything and throw it all into the blender.
Chimichurri is like the South American, naturally vegan version of the Italian salsa verde. Both sauces are based on green herbs and olive oil but chimichurri relies on some heat from chillis and a sour kick from red wine vinegar, whereas salsa verde has capers and anchovies for the flavour kick.
Originally from Argentina and Uruguay, chimichurri sauce is traditionally served with steak. The idea is that the vinegar cuts through the fat in the steak.
However, I find this slightly tangy sauce also works really well with roasted cauliflower which really benefits from this powerful flavour boost.
Since cauliflower is not fatty like the steak, I have toned down the vinegar in this recipe so that it just provides enough tang without it being overly tart. The result, I think, is absolutely delicious! Obviously since it is just vegetables with a herby sauce, it’s also supremely healthy but it’s so deliciously moreish that you won’t even notice that you’re guzzling down such a healthy option!
- Cauliflower - this is the star of the show! Choose a lovely big fresh cauliflower that will break nicely into florets. If you're lucky enough to be able to buy the cauliflower still in its leaves, you can take those off and cook them too (they will be ready a little earlier than the florets).
- Fresh Herbs - fresh coriander (cilantro) and parsley are the heroes in Chimichurri so don't skimp on these! They make up the bulk of the sauce and give it that wonderful fresh flavour. You don't need to be too precise on amounts but go for big handfuls! I also don't bother with only picking off the leaves since I make this sauce in the blender so I chop it much more roughly including some of the stem.
- Jalapeño Chilli - I like the jalapeño chilis best of this recipe as they have that tanginess that goes well in the dip. If you can't find jalapeños just choose any other green chillis (habanero could work too).
- Garlic - you can choose to adjust the garlic amount as you like. I love the taste of garlic but appreciate that some don't like too much in dips that they are serving to guests. The fresh parsley in the dip helps to prevent garlic breath (a little) if you're worried about that.
- Olive Oil - this is what gives the sauciness to the chimichurri, almost like a dressing. Use good quality extra virgin olive oil if you can which will give a lovely depth of flavour.
- Red Wine Vinegar - this is the vinegar traditionally used for Chimichurri but I have to admit that sometimes that is hard to find where I live (Qatar) so I often use cider vinegar instead which is equally good.
- Ground Cumin - only a little is needed as you don't want an overpowering cumin flavour but just a little background spice.
Please see the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post for full list of ingredients and their quantities.
This dish is very easy to make but requires a little forethought as you need to pop the cauliflower in the oven for about 45 minutes.
Step One: Pre-heat the oven and line a baking tray with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat.
Step Two: Prep the cauliflower - just tear apart or cut the florets into bite-sized pieces and cut off any leaves you might have (you can include these too). Then put into a bowl with the olive oil and salt and pepper and mix together well so that each piece of cauliflower is well covered. Pour onto a lined baking tray and roast in the oven for 45 minutes at 180°C / 350°F. (Turn the cauliflower pieces over half way through cooking.)
Step Three: When the cauliflower is almost ready, roughly chop the herbs and garlic and then put all the sauce ingredients into a blender and whizz until it is the consistency of a dippable sauce. It shouldn't be completely smooth (but of course you're welcome to do that if you prefer it like that!). It should have some identifiable little pieces of herbs scattered through so it has some texture.
Step Four: Serve!
This is a summary only. Please see the printable recipe card at the bottom of this page for full instructions.
If you’re lucky enough to have some leftover (or hold some back…), it keeps well in the fridge and works wonders in salad dressings (dilute with a little more olive oil to make it into a dressing) and with pasta, or dolloped on top of a plate of stew or with a toastie.
There are two ways you can serve these: either as a bowl of cauliflower already mixed with the sauce and give everyone a little fork or cocktail stick to eat with, or you could just serve the roasted cauliflower pieces on a platter with the bowl of sauce for people to dip the cauliflower into. I have found both work well and, either way, it gets demolished in seconds!
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This chimichurri sauce keeps well in an air-tight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. The bright green colour will fade over that time but it will still taste delicious.
Yes, most recipes for chimichurri sauce are naturally vegan, including this recipe. That means it is also dairy-free and egg-free and it also happens to be gluten-free too! This makes it a really great option for entertaining guests with allergies or intolerances!
📖 Recipe 📖
Roasted Cauliflower with Chimichurri Sauce
- 1 head of cauliflower, broken into bite-sized florets
- 1-2 tablespoon olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 jalapeno chilli, roughly chopped
- 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
- ½ tablespoon red wine vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 20 g fresh coriander (cilantro), roughly chopped
- 20 g fresh parsley, roughly chopped
- 40 g extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C / 350°F. Line a baking tray with baking paper or a silicon mat.
- Put the cauliflower florets in a bowl with the olive oil and salt and pepper and mix with your hands to ensure the oil covers all the bits of cauliflower. Then pour them onto the lined baking tray. Put the cauliflower in the oven for 45 minutes, turning the florets half way through the cooking time.1 head of cauliflower, 1-2 tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper
- Just before the cauliflower is cooked, put the chimichurri ingredients into the blender and whizz until it becomes a smoothish sauce, preferably with some bits of herbs still distinguishable. (As the herbs take up a lot of space in the blender jug and they are very light, I do find I need to use the tamper stick to push them down while it is blending. If your blender doesn’t come with a tamper stick you might need to just stop and start the blending a few times, pushing down the herbs in between each time).Thermomix instructions: Put all the ingredients except the olive oil and vinegar into the TM jug and blend for 5 secs/ sp. 6. Then scrape down and blend again for 5 secs / sp. 6. Then set the TM to 30 secs. / sp. 4 and slowly add the oil and vinegar through the lid whilst blending. (Note, the thermomix works best with bigger quantities so it is easier to make this in the TM if you double the quantity).1 jalapeno chilli, 1 garlic clove, ½ tablespoon red wine vinegar, ¼ teaspoon salt, 20 g fresh coriander (cilantro), 20 g fresh parsley, 40 g extra-virgin olive oil, ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- Serve the cauliflower on a board with the bowl of chimichurri, or in a bowl with the chimichurri mixed into it. Enjoy!
- If you’re lucky enough to have some sauce leftover, it keeps well in the fridge for a few days and can be served dolloped on top of a plate of stew or pasta or as a flavour bomb alongside a toastie. I often dilute it with more olive oil to use as a salad dressing too!
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a ⭐ star rating ⭐ on the recipe card!
If you like this roasted cauliflower and chimichurri sauce recipe, you may like these other delicious vegan and gluten-free recipes for entertaining too: