Make Ahead

Turmeric-Roasted Cauliflower with Pistachio Gremolata

by:
February 25, 2019
20 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten
Author Notes

I used to hunt for two kinds of recipes: everyday food for my husband and me, and “company-worthy” dishes for entertaining. The two sets of recipes hardly ever overlapped—neither in the big file box with precisely labeled folders that I crammed full of newspaper clippings and torn-out pages from Gourmet, nor in the way I served them.

We were newly married, learning how to cook and host together in our small apartment. I’d spend hours coming up with ambitious, multi-course menus that started with hors d'oeuvres and a soup or plated salad. We’d go to multiple grocery stores and specialty markets to hunt down ingredients, if that's what it took, and would start prepping days in advance. I made everything I could from scratch. We enjoyed those dinner parties, but without fail, we’d collapse from exhaustion after our guests left, leaving a mountain of dirty dishes for the next day.

Fast forward sixteen years: My husband and I still love to host, but I couldn’t tell you the last time I served a plated salad. We serve everything family-or buffet-style and usually do our shopping the morning of—the day before, if we’ve really planned ahead. Sure, having two kids and less free time changes the equation, but we’ve intentionally and openly embraced a simpler, more casual style of hosting. Our dressed-down dinner parties are a whole lot easier to pull off, and more fun, too.

And when it comes to the menu planning? I turn to recipes that we like to make for ourselves—ones that can go from weeknight to weekend dinner party, and vice versa. I’ve discarded the notion that certain types of food are only worthy for company, and not for yourself or your family, any night of the week. Or that dinner party food needs to be fancy or complicated to be special. I prize low-effort, high-impact dishes, and once I find them, I make them every chance I get, no matter the occasion.

This is why I’m so taken with this Turmeric-Roasted Cauliflower with Pistachio Gremolata. I came up with the recipe as a simple way to dress up roasted cauliflower, something I make often this time of year. I love how the freshly grated bits of turmeric (ground turmeric is a fine substitute if you can't find fresh) get deliciously caramelized on the hot sheet pan, and how its earthiness complements the mild sweetness of cauliflower.

And, because I’m a sucker for nutty, herby condiments, the whole thing is topped with pistachio gremolata (lots of it), plus juicy pomegranate arils to add extra freshness and zing (I like to use them liberally to make the dish a little salad-like). When pomegranates aren't in season, either omit the arils (no substitutions needed) or omit the dates and use currants or dried cranberries in place of the arils.

The dish comes together quickly and easily—and even better, I can get all of the ingredients at my neighborhood supermarket. It’s so striking in flavor and presentation, and a dish that’s equally special for busy weeknights and relaxed weekend dinner parties.

During the week, I serve it as a main course, maybe with some leftover chicken on the side. On the weekends, I serve it as a side dish to go along with whatever meat or fish we’re roasting or grilling—whether for my family, or a table of friends. It’s the type of dish that I’ll never tire of, no matter how many times I serve it.

I still have that same file box crammed full of recipes in my basement. I keep it for sentimental reasons, I guess—a reminder of those bygone dinner parties that my husband and I used to throw. But I don’t use it, nor any kind of labeling or sorting system, for recipes. Now, instead of trying to find “company-worthy” dishes for dinner parties, I just focus on serving good food. —EmilyC

  • Prep time 12 minutes
  • Cook time 25 minutes
  • Serves 4
Ingredients
  • 1 large head of cauliflower, trimmed and cut into bite-sized florets
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated fresh turmeric (from about three 3-inch pieces), or 1 teaspoon ground (or as needed to fully coat the florets)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 6 to 8 dates, such as Medjool, pitted and halved (or quartered if large)
  • 1 large lemon (finely grated zest plus juice)
  • 1/3 cup shelled pistachios, raw and unsalted are ideal but roasted work too
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate arils
  • 1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper, or to taste
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Heat oven to 425°F.
  2. Toss the cauliflower with the turmeric and olive oil on a sheet pan, season with salt, and arrange in a single, even layer. Roast for 15 minutes, then remove the pan from the oven. Add the dates, toss everything together, and redistribute in a single, even layer. Continue roasting until the cauliflower is nicely browned and tender, and the dates and little bits of grated turmeric are starting to caramelize, about 10 minutes more. Remove pan from oven, and squeeze half a lemon (zest it first—you'll need it for the gremolata in Step 3!) over the whole dish; add more lemon juice and salt, to taste.
  3. Meanwhile, to make the pistachio gremolata: Toast the pistachios in a small skillet over medium heat, until they’re fragrant, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat, and when cool enough, chop them into fine yet irregular pieces with a knife. In a small bowl, toss together the pistachios, lemon zest, parsley, pomegranate arils, and Aleppo pepper; season with a pinch of salt.
  4. Arrange the cauliflower and dates on a large serving platter, and scatter the pistachio gremolata over the top. Serve warm or at room temperature.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Jen
    Jen
  • Devin Shepherd
    Devin Shepherd
  • Jodi Rausch
    Jodi Rausch
  • Elizabeth Templeton
    Elizabeth Templeton
  • Susanna
    Susanna
EmilyC

Recipe by: EmilyC

I'm a home cook. I love salads. Two things you'll always find in my refrigerator are lemons and butter, and in my pantry good quality chocolate and the makings for chocolate chip cookies.

32 Reviews

Jen January 17, 2021
Delicious! We love roasted cauliflower and enjoyed playing with fresh turmeric for the first time. This recipe had two wonderful takeaways for me... 1. the roasted cauliflower + dates (I agree to up to 10 or 12 dates). The addition of the dates brought roasted cauliflower to a whole new level! 2. the pistachio gremolata was divine. Fresh and crunchy and addictive! My "tastes" to adjust lemon zest, salt, and pepper turned into spoonfuls. I'll be using the gremolata on salads, grilled veggies, topping rice, adding to a bruschetta... endless possibilities! Thank you, EmilyC!
 
Devin S. December 4, 2019
Great recipe! Loved it! Agreed with comments below - more dates needed. I also had okra and decided to roast and toss it in here. Tasted great! And also agree - it's a brilliant leftover heatup for a salad later in the week.
 
Author Comment
EmilyC December 6, 2019
So glad you liked this, Devin! Thanks for your note!
 
Zultan November 25, 2019
We use vadouvan rather than just tumeric, lime instead of lemon, and a few more dates than the recipe calls for. A large cauliflower yields more than the 2 of us can eat, but it’s great as a leftover.
 
Author Comment
EmilyC December 6, 2019
LOVE vadouvan -- sure it was fantastic here!
 
Cathi May 5, 2019
This was amazing!!! So good you can’t stop eating! Thanks Emily!
 
Author Comment
EmilyC May 5, 2019
Wonderful! So happy you liked it, Cathi! Thanks for your note.
 
Jodi R. April 28, 2019
Emily, I’m allergic to pistachios (and cashews). Is there another nut you’d recommend as a substitute? I can’t wait to try this!!!
 
Author Comment
EmilyC April 28, 2019
Hi Jodi! Toasted slivered almonds would be delicious, as would pine nuts. I hope you enjoy the dish!
 
sylvia April 4, 2019
This was awesome and I've since shared it with about 20 people! Any nutritional info out there for it?
 
Tess M. March 25, 2019
Just made this and it's absolutely delicious! I ended up using closer to 2 teaspoons of the tumeric powder just because it love it and needed that little bit extra to cover the florets properly. I have been looking for a roasted cauliflower recipe like this that doesn't involve so many complex steps and this is perfect! Will definitely make it again :)
 
Author Comment
EmilyC March 25, 2019
Yay, so glad you liked it, Tess! Thanks so much for your note.
 
Elizabeth T. March 21, 2019
I live in rural Vermont. Arils have only appeared in stores here over the last several months. Aleppo pepper, not at all. In the absence of Aleppo, what shall I use, and in what quantity?
 
Author Comment
EmilyC March 21, 2019
Hi Elizabeth -- red pepper flakes, about 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon, are a good substitute for Aleppo, or even cayenne. A little heat in this dish is nice to balance the sweet dates and pomegranate seeds. Let me know what you think if you try it!
 
Joan March 21, 2019
This sounds delicious but what’s an aril? I also had to look up gremolata. Do grocery stores sell fresh turmeric? I had no idea it was available fresh. Now I’m dying to try it!
 
Author Comment
EmilyC March 21, 2019
Hi Joan -- pomegranate arils are the seeds! Fresh turmeric is so wonderful in this dish if you can find it. I've been buying it at Harris Teeter (which is in the Kroger family), and Whole Foods carries it, as well. But ground turmeric works well -- no worries if you can't find the fresh!
 
Joan May 5, 2019
Thanks! I made it with ground turmeric and it was amazing! I’ll try fresh next time.
 
Author Comment
EmilyC May 5, 2019
Yay, so glad you liked it, Joan! : )
 
Susanna March 21, 2019
This sounds wonderful. I’m thinking of subbing fresh figs for the dates because, well, I have them and love them.

Also, I love pistachios and this gremolata is making me think about combining the gremolata ingredients (sans pomegranate) with bread crumbs and using it as the base for a pantry pasta of some sort.
 
Author Comment
EmilyC March 21, 2019
Absolutely on the figs and/or making this into a pantry pasta! Go for it! Please report back with results! : )
 
James P. March 21, 2019
I love this recipe! I have tried two other versions of this one; one with cumin, turmeric and curry powder and one with just cumin and turmeric. After making it the first time I thought what would make this even better is to add julienne slices of red bell pepper and wedges of caramelized onion. I like your addition of dates and the splash of lemon!
 
Author Comment
EmilyC March 21, 2019
Thanks James! You really can't go wrong with any of these additions, can you?!
 
yyw March 19, 2019
The amount tumeric is way too much. "Standard" for a 1 cup kitcheree is 1 teaspoon ground. This is not beans, and caulitflower is easy to disintegrate. Go learn about herbs before using them, for your own good.
 
Brinda A. March 19, 2019
Hi yy W., thanks for your input here. Have you had a chance to try this recipe yet? We made it in our test kitchen and 1 teaspoon of turmeric was just enough for one large head of cauliflower (which comes in around 850 grams in weight—pretty huge!). Plus, we found that when broken up, the florets have a lot of surface area to cover, and needed that much of the ingredient. If you'd prefer to make this with less, please go ahead, by all means. And if you do, let us know how much turmeric you ended up liking in the dish!
 
Author Comment
EmilyC March 19, 2019
I'm confused by your comment: I call for 1 teaspoon ground in the recipe (or 2 tablespoons of freshly grated turmeric). You need a much larger volume of fresh versus ground, which is why the two amounts are different.
 
Brinda A. March 19, 2019
Ah, yes, just want to clarify we made it with 1 teaspoon of *ground* turmeric in the test kitchen (as the recipe specified), and it was perfect!
 
kimmiebeck March 20, 2019
One teaspoon is perfect. In fact, I may use more the next time I make this recipe. You should try the recipe before commenting.
 
Author Comment
EmilyC March 20, 2019
Thanks for trying this and circling back, kimmie!
 
1of3 March 21, 2019
yy W, nobody likes a know-it- all!! I tried it and it was great! No problem with the tumeric amount.
 
JFERN March 23, 2019
No need for the nastiness in these comment. If you don't like recipe, that is okay, but don't get mean about the person posting the recipe. They are doing us all a service! Manners and respect please.
 
Sonja M. March 18, 2019
I'm always looking ways to switch up my cauliflower game so I'm excited to try this! If we're not willing to shell out (see what I did?) for the shelled pistachios, then what is a worthy substitute? Pine nuts? Almonds?
 
Author Comment
EmilyC March 18, 2019
Hi Sonja: Either pine nuts or almonds would work nicely, as would pepitas!