Friday, December 20, 2013

Recipe for Roasted Cauliflower with Red Bell Pepper, Green Olives, and Pine Nuts (Christmas Caulifiower)

Technically this Christmas Cauliflower is probably a side dish, but I ate a big bowl of it for lunch!

(For Phase One Fridays I feature Phase One Recipes from the past that have been my personal favorites, and this delicious cauliflower side dish is not only festive from the red and green colors, but it's a delicious combination of flavors.)

When I made this cauliflower I ate a big bowl of it for lunch, and I first posted it as a Meatless Monday dish.  But if you don't care about that, this would make a perfect festive side dish for any kind of holiday meal.  And with the red and green colors and all the flavors going on here from red bell peppers, green olives, pine nuts, and capers, this is cauliflower at its finest, which is why I think it deserves the title of Christmas Cauliflower!

(If you're following Meatless Monday, you can find more meatless recipes by using the label Meatless Monday or checking Vegetarian Recipes in the recipe index.  For Meatless Monday ideas from other bloggers, check Meatless Monday at BlogHer, where I write a weekly post spotlighting one of the fabulous meatless recipe ideas I find around the web.)

Start with a large head of cauliflower, and cut it up into smallish same-size pieces.

I added the red bell pepper because I thought it would look pretty and taste good with the cauliflower.  (It did!)

Toss the cauliflower pieces and red bell pepper pieces in a large bowl with olive oil, season to taste with salt and fresh-ground black pepper, and spread them out on a cookie sheet and start roasting.

I couldn't help increasing the amounts of green olives, pine nuts, and capers in the recipe.  And I used the flat-leaf parsley because I had some in my garden, but I'd say you could definitely skip that if you wanted.

After the cauliflower and peppers have roasted for 20 minutes, put them back in the bowl and toss with the sliced green olives, pine nuts, capers, and parsley (if using).  You can add a tiny bit more olive oil if you think you need it, but I didn't.

Spread the combined mixture back on the cookie sheet and roast for 10-15 minutes more, or until the vegetables are starting to nicely brown and the olives are looking slightly cooked.  Serve hot.  I didn't think of it at the time, but I think this would be good with a squeeze of lemon juice right when you eat it.

Roasted Cauliflower with Red Bell Pepper, Green Olives, and Pine Nuts (Christmas Cauiflower)
(Makes 4-6 servings, depending on what else you're serving with it; recipe adapted from Food and Wine Annual Cookbook 2008, a book with a lot of good ideas.)

1 head cauliflower, cut up into smallish, same-size pieces
1 red bell pepper, stem and seeds cut out and cut into 1/2 inch dice
2 T olive oil
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
3 T pine nuts (slivered almonds would also be nice if you don't want to buy pine nuts)
2/3 cup sliced green olives
1-2 T capers
2 T chopped flat-leaf parsley (completely optional, but if you have some it adds some nice green color)
cut lemon pieces to squeeze over (optional)

Preheat oven to 425F/220C.  Cut the cauliflower into smallish, same-size pieces and cut the red bell pepper into half inch dice.  Put chopped cauliflower and peppers into a plastic bowl and toss with 2 T olive oil, stirring so the vegetables are all lightly coated with oil.  Season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper and stir again.  Spread the vegetables out in a single layer on a cookie sheet and roast for 20 minutes.

While the cauliflower and peppers are roasting, slice the olives and measure out the pine nuts and capers.  Chop the parsley if using.  After 20 minutes, remove cookie sheet from the oven, put the cauliflower and peppers back into the same bowl, and toss with the olives, pine nuts, capers, and parsley (if using.)  Spread the mixture on to the cookie sheet again and roast an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the vegetables are starting to brown and the olive pieces are looking slightly cooked.  Serve hot, with a slice of lemon to squeeze over if desired.

If you don't eat this all at once it will keep in the refrigerator for a day or two.  I would reheat it in a very hot dry non-stick pan instead of using a microwave.

South Beach Suggestions: 
Everything in this dish is a wonderfully low-glycemic ingredient, making this a great recipe for any phase of the South Beach Diet.  If you don't want to eat a big bowl for lunch like I did, it would make a nice side dish for something like Baked Tofu with Soy and Sesame or Garlicky Roasted Chickpeas with Feta, Mint, and Lemon for a Meatless Monday dinner.   Or serve as a side dish for any kind of fish, chicken, or meat for a holiday meal.

Nutritional Information? 
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

More Tasty Ideas for Holiday-Worthy Cauliflower:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Cauliflower Gratin with Sharp Cheddar and Parmesan from Kalyn's Kitchen
Roasted Purple Cauliflower and Arugula Salad from Food Blogga
Pureed Cauliflower with Garlic, Parmesan, and Goat Cheese from Kalyn's Kitchen 
Lemon Roasted Cauliflower with Cumin and Sumac from Everybody Likes Sandwiches
Roasted Cauliflower Slices with Kalamata Olive and Garlic Vinaigrette from Kalyn's Kitchen
Cauliflower and Kale Salad from Steamy Kitchen
Twice-Baked Cauliflower from Kalyn's Kitchen
Cauliflower "CousCous" with Basil Lemon Sauce from Leite's Culinaria
Barely-Blanched Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad from Kalyn's Kitchen
Cauliflower "Couscous" from Simply Recipes
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

Blogger Disclosure: 
Posts may include links to my affiliate account at, and Kalyn's Kitchen earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon! counter customizable free hit counter customizable free hit


  1. You know that I'm not a fan of cauliflower, but when you surround it with all other ingredients I love, I just might have to try it! The colors really do look like the holidays, too.

  2. I am jealous you are in Cali :( I have family in the San Diego area and I never get there often enough. Anways I love love love the roasted cauliflower with red bell pepper recipe. I might have to skimp out on the olives because my kids hate them haha. Anywho, thanks for a taking the time to share these with us:) btw, love the pictues!

  3. We are on the South Beach Diet Phase 2, I struggle to find recipes that my hubby will eat. He's lost 10 lbs, I've only lost 7lbs, but I cheat more than he does!
    Your website has been a reference point for me and I make several of your recipes a week.
    Difficult, though, because he won't eat cooked cruciferous veggies!!
    Thanks for your help!

  4. Love the addition of green olives! Very Christmas-like, and I love the slightly pungent accent it gives.

  5. Christmas cauliflower--what a lovely side dish! Olives are such creative addition, and I bet they add some satiety with the extra fat.

  6. This is so tasty, and it's true that the olives add such a great flavor.

  7. I almost always make meals out of my side dishes, so I think you're totally fine with this. I love all of the flavors here! Briny olives, sweet bell peppers...the works!

  8. I love cauliflower but have never had it roasted. The colours are really festive Kalyn.

  9. We love roasted cauliflower in our house - and I love the idea of the olives in this, adding some briny flavors. Very pretty, and festive enough for Christmas!

  10. I will often eat a side dish for dinner!! This looks fabulous!

  11. I love hearing that I'm not the only one who will eat a dish like this for a main course!

  12. I think I'd happily have a bowl of this for lunch, too!

  13. Festive, healthy, and love those colours!

  14. I eat dinners like this all the time. In fact, I'm always a bit baffled and unsure of what to do when I have to cook a "real" dinner for other people.

  15. Christmas cauliflower - I love it! I could absolutely eat this for an entree, so your story rings true with me.

  16. Love the colors!! This looks like it would be a perfect side dish for Christmas Dinner!

  17. Watch the pine nuts. They burn easily! Just as good and not as expensive, try walnuts (chopped into smaller pieces). I think you'll be happy with the substitute.

  18. I love your recipes but you don't always publish my comments? Why not?

  19. There are very few comments I don't publish, and usually it's only if they contain promotional links for other websites or are lecturing "food police" type comments. Maybe you don't realize that when you post a comment it has to go to my e-mail and be approved before you will see it on the blog. Sometimes that can take a while if I'm busy where I don't have my phone.

    Hope you will come back and see this reply so you don't think I'm blocking your comments; glad to hear you are enjoying the recipes.

  20. This looks incredible! I'm going to make it for my in-laws this weekend. Thanks for some meatless inspiration!

  21. Lauren, hope they enjoy it. Someone on the KK Facebook page suggested sprinkling on a little Parmesan, which I'm sure is a nice addition.

  22. Hallo, another keeper. I only made the cauliflower pieces maybe too small - but will make them again soon. Tried it yesterday and my husband liked it a lot - used only a small head, so there were no leftovers.
    Thanks a lot, Kalyn

  23. Swimchick, so glad you liked it. I made my pieces what I'd call bite-sized, kind of medium-size.

  24. 100,000,000 thanks! This is absolutely wonderful...I made it tonight, I'm on my first week of Phase II and this is just great...its just lipsmacking good, I could barely wait to serve, I mean I wanted to eat it right out the baking dish and if I had it wouldn't be a big deal, right?! I mean it is that good and good for me. :)

  25. Desiree, so glad you liked it. And good for you for staying strong during this tempting time of year.

  26. This was so simple and delicious! My husband was skeptical of the cauli and olive combo, but he loved it, as did I. I served it alongside vegetable paninis with lemon pesto, and it was a delicious meal, even for the summer here Down Under :-)

  27. Sarah, I can imagine eating this summer or winter, but glad to hear it was a hit there where the weather is warm now.

  28. This looks heavenly! Love the colors and can imagine the taste. Have some pine nuts that need to be used before they turn so I'll be making this next week as a treat! Thanks so much.

  29. Thanks Christine, glad you like it.

  30. Just tried this thanks to a pin onto a paleo board, and absolutely loved it! I added some marinated artichokes to the leftovers and liked it that way too. This will be a new salad in the regular rotation!

    -- Anne

  31. So festive - and you always make me want to try cauliflower - NOT my favorite vegggie. What's your favorite way to use cauliflower???

  32. Donna my favorite would have to be some kind of creamy cauliflower dish with cheese!

  33. Yum, yum, yum! Main course for my taste. Been looking for more cauliflower recipes. Thanks, Kalyn.


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