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Crispy Oven-Fried Cauliflower

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Cauliflower is a vegetable that didn’t seem to get a lot of love before the low-carb style lifestyles hit the scene. Now it’s regularly served as the star of lots of delicious low-carb favorites, especially as a look-alike substitute for rice and potatoes. I’ve tried quite a few varieties of these popular low-carb cauliflower dishes and I’ve liked many of them a lot.

I always enjoy throwing some cauliflower florets into hearty vegetable stews, and other times I like to roast it with herbs then drizzle it with lots of butter. But, my favorite way to eat this stunner of a vegetable is when it’s perfectly, crispy fried!

When I was whole lot younger and still living with my parents, my mom used to deep-fry breaded cauliflower florets and we always thought it was such a weird and delicious treat. Fried cauliflower is definitely a dish I associate with my mom and I’ve always considered it one of her personal specialties. However, she told me very recently that a woman she met from Italy, many years ago, was the source of her recipe for breaded cauliflower.

Lately we’ve been on a breaded food kick around my place and I’ve thought about making my mom’s recipe for fried cauliflower more than once in the last few weeks. I just haven’t been motivated enough to get to it before now!

So, when I was thinking up recipes to share this weekend, the first recipe that came to mind was my mom’s fried cauliflower. However, I changed it up a little bit though and this is my lightened-up spin on the recipe: it’s baked and not fried in oil. My mom breads her fried cauliflower in a seasoned, flour-based coating and my oven-fried version is coated with Italian seasoned bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. I think it’s a heavenly dish whichever way it’s made.

The cauliflower florets roast to a perfect, tender crisp texture and it makes for a really nice bite underneath that crunchy coating. We enjoyed this dish as an appetizer and served it with some cool, creamy ranch dressing, but this dish is really versatile and it will work as a terrific side dish with some roasted or grilled meat or even a satisfying vegetarian main!

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Crispy Oven-Fried Cauliflower               printable recipe

Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time:  30 min
Yield: 4-6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups cauliflower florets
  • 1 cup Italian-seasoned bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (I used the canned Kraft brand)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 large egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • non-stick cooking spray (I used canola oil spray)
Instructions:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 400°. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside. Mix bread crumbs with Parmesan cheese, paprika, and pepper together in a medium-size bowl and set aside. Place a spoon next to the bowl with the bread crumbs (you’ll use this to coat the cauliflower with bread crumbs)
2. In another smaller bowl, mix the egg and milk together. Set the small bowl next to the bowl with the bread crumbs. Dip the cauliflower pieces into the egg wash and briefly allow the excess to drain off. Next, moved the egg-washed cauliflower in to the bowl with the bread crumbs. Using the spoon, generously coat the cauliflower with bread crumbs.
3. Place the breadcrumb coated cauliflower onto prepared baking sheet. Continue breading the cauliflower until the baking sheet is full. Spray the breaded cauliflower with cooking spray and place them in the oven.
4. Allow to bake for 25-30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and crisp. Serve warm with ranch dressing, ketchup or cream gravy for dipping. Enjoy!
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15 Comments

  1. Marcelle, this oven fried cauliflower will have to be on our menu soon! It's similar to a dish I make but your coating with the powdered Parm makes such a lovely fine breading. It looks fabulous!!!

  2. I always love cauliflower! These bites look so delicious with Parm flavoured coating.

  3. Hi, Liz thank you! I hope you all enjoy them 🙂

  4. Hi Marcelle, love how you prepared the cauliflower, looks amazing, love the coating.

  5. Marcelle – I love when you can bake vs. fry – so much healthier and, honestly, less mess! You know from my posts that I love cauliflower, so I can't wait to try yours! David

  6. Hi David, thank you! I hope you all like it if you try it! 🙂

  7. I love this recipe- I could eat this as a side dish or a main meal for sure!

  8. i've never tried fried cauliflower, but i've had it baked, and i love it! this is an every-person-pleasing recipe!!

  9. Its like grown-up tenders for adults! Looks delicious.

    Veva

  10. These oven-fried cauliflowerettes look delightful, Marcelle! Looking forward to try them soon 🙂

  11. This is such a good idea! I need to try this! Bet the Parmesan gives it a great flavour.

  12. Yum, your cauliflower looks crispy and delicious.

  13. Cauliflower is amazingly versatile! I’ve never tried a recipe like this one and it sounds delicious! I even make Ranch dressing from my own mix, in which I use herbs I’ve grown myself, so that’s even more appetizing. It just so happens that I have a head of cauliflower in the refrigerator. I bought it not knowing what I was going to do with it, but now I do!

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