Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower (Easy & Healthy Side Dish)
Looking for a way to prep quick veggies and even make extras for leftovers during the week? Check out this healthy roasted broccoli and cauliflower recipe that you can whip up in under 30 minutes and is light and flavorful for any weekday meal.
Prepping the broccoli and cauliflower
Prepping fresh broccoli and cauliflower for this oven-roasted recipe is a simple 3 part process: cutting & separating them into evenly sized florets, submerging them in water, and drying them off. (You also have the option of using frozen broccoli and cauliflower, however, you may need to roast them a little longer in the oven to remove the excess moisture from the florets.)
Florets are the little tree-like shapes that make up the whole head of cauliflower or broccoli. Most of the florets naturally come in bite-sized pieces, but you can also cut them in half so they’re the same thickness–this promotes even cooking.
Submerging these veggies underwater during the cleaning process helps get into the tight spaces between the crowns and florets and dirt you can’t really reach only using your hands.
Drying the broccoli and cauliflower before seasoning and roasting is an essential part of the process and one of the most important. You want to reduce the amount of moisture in the oven so you can get crispy, golden edges. I like to use a salad spinner to get the excess moisture off and then use a kitchen towel to dry off the florets.
To enhance the earthy flavor of broccoli and the slightly nutty and sweet flavor of cauliflower, I like to keep the seasoning simple by using olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. I find that using simple seasoning doesn’t overpower the vegetables, but you are also open to sprinkling optional toppings like lemon juice for acidity or parmesan cheese for extra flavor.
How to roast broccoli and cauliflower in the oven
To make sure you get crisp vegetables, preheat your oven to 400 °F with the convection on (or 450 °F in a traditional oven). The beauty of this recipe is that you don’t have to use too many dishes or bowls! I like to plop all the veggies onto one sheet pan and coat it with a little olive oil.
The easiest way to coat the oil onto the veggies is to use clean hands and mix the vegetables around the pan to evenly coat all the surfaces. Sprinkle the rest of the seasonings on top and then, I spread out the cauliflower and broccoli into an even layer. Don’t crowd them and leave some space in between each floret so they each get crispy.
Bake them for 10 minutes before you turn them onto the other side. I cook for an additional 5-10 more minutes depending on how crispy you want them. They should be golden and crispy when you remove them from the oven and have a slight al dente texture when you pierce them with a fork.
This is completely optional, but you can also spritz a little lemon juice on top for extra acidity or sprinkle parmesan cheese on top for more flavor.
Does cauliflower take longer to cook than broccoli?
In my experience, baked cauliflower and broccoli cook in the same time frame so they’re great as a “one-pan” combo. I like to cut down the cauliflower and broccoli florets to the same size to make sure they cook within the same time and don’t burn.
Why is my roasted cauliflower mushy?
One big reason roasted cauliflower can come out mushy is that there is too much moisture on the florets. The extra moisture turns the oven into a steamer instead of roasting them and creating crispy edges.
Sometimes when you use frozen cauliflower, you can end up with mushy veggies due to the extra moisture from freezing. You can also cook them for a longer time to reduce the amount of moisture on the vegetables too. Next time, dry your vegetables as much as possible before adding seasoning and roasting.
Is roasted Cauliflower healthy?
Cauliflower along with other cruciferous vegetables like broccoli is packed with fiber, vitamins, and other antioxidants. Roasted cauliflower is not only healthy, but it’s a tasty way to eat your vegetables.
Note, obviously the nutritional benefits change depending on how you cook cauliflower and what seasonings you add to your meal. I like to use olive oil or avocado oil for roasting because they both contain healthy fats and vitamins.
You can also make air fryer cauliflower as another option for roasted veggies–these are equally as delicious.
Is it better to roast or steam broccoli?
This typically depends on your preference and priorities. During the cooking process, the cell walls of vegetables (like broccoli) break down and release more nutrients and minerals that aren’t available when they’re eaten raw.
If you prefer a crispier and roasted flavor for eating broccoli, then bake it in the oven with some olive oil and seasonings. However, if you’re interested in a lighter flavor and healthier option, then steamed broccoli is up your alley. Steamed broccoli offers a healthier option without using too high of heat to cook (the higher the heat, the more nutrients are lost). You can also try making boiled broccoli as another option.
How do you make broccoli taste good and still be healthy?
Seasonings! Sometimes people are scared to eat broccoli because they think it can be a little bland, but it’s all about the seasonings you add to roasted broccoli that can still be tasty.
When roasting broccoli, try to use healthier oils like olive oil or avocado oil to get crisp, golden edges. Or seasoning with garlic, paprika, lemon, and other herbs like oregano to kick up the flavor.
Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower
- knife and cutting board
- sheet pan
- 1 head broccoli
- 1 head cauliflower
- 2 tbsp olive oil or avocado oil
- 2 tbsp garlic minced
- ½ tsp kosher salt more if necessary
- ½ tsp black pepper
- lemon juice optional topping
- parmesan cheese optional topping
- Preheat your oven to 400 °F with the convection setting on (or 450 °F for traditional ovens).
- Broccoli: Cut the step off of your broccoli and separate the florets. Cut about 1 inch off the bottom of the stem and then peel the tough skin. Cut the rest of the stem into even sized pieces. Submerge the broccoli in water for 3 minutes to remove excess dirt. Dry the broccoli in a salad spinner or with a towel.
- Cauliflower: Cut your cauliflower in half and remove the stem from both sides. Separate the florets. If the florets are larger than 2-3 inches thick, I like to cut them in half so they roast at the same time as the other florets. Submerge cauliflower in water for 3 minutes to remove excess dirt and then dry with a salad spinner or a towel.
- Transfer the cauliflower and broccoli onto the sheet pan. Pour the olive oil and mix both veggies with the tongs (or clean hands). Make sure all surfaces of the veggies are covered.
- Sprinkle the garlic, salt, and black pepper on top. Mix again with the tongs (or clean hands).
- Place in the middle rack of the oven for 10 minutes. Then flip the cauliflower and broccoli. Roast for another 5 minutes (or more) and check if the veggies are crisp with brown edges. Finished broccoli and cauliflower should be golden and have an al dente texture when you pierce it with a fork.
- Transfer to a plate and sprinkle with lemon juice or parmesan cheese if you like. Serve immediately.