The men (Hubby and my boys) in my family aren't big on cauliflower, unless it's battered, fried, and smothered in Valentina hot sauce, or baked with lots of butter and garlic as in my Baked Cauliflower al Mojo de Ajo (recipe coming soon). When I saw the beautiful Whole Roasted Cauliflower in a Spicy Mexican Sauce, I had a feeling it would be something everyone would love. I mean, what's not lot love especially when cheese and Mexican salsa are involved?!
I ended up making this recipe on a Sunday afternoon as a light snack to nibble on while watching a movie with Hubby and the kiddies on Netflix. Once it was done baking (and I snapped a few pics), I cut the roasted cauliflower into bite-size pieces and presented it on a platter for my family to enjoy. No one really said anything as they ate, so I wasn't sure if they liked it or not. But I guess the fact that the cauliflower disappeared in less than 15 minutes was all the proof I needed that it had been a huge hit. And it wasn't until after they had finished eating that Hubby and the kiddies started to rave about how good the cauliflower tasted with the cheese and spicy enchilada sauce.And they also asked when I was going to make it again.
This Salsa Roasted Cauliflower with Queso Fresco can be served as a side dish or on it's own for a light lunch or dinner.
Salsa Roasted Cauliflower w/ Queso Fresco
(Recipe slightly adapted from Lavender and Lovage)
- 6 cups water
- 1 whole cauliflower, leaves trimmed
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/2 medium onion
- 2 roma tomatoes, finely chopped
- 1 cup enchilada sauce (homemade or store-bought)
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 cup crumbled queso fresco
Bring water, cauliflower, bay leaves, salt, black pepper, and half of the minced garlic to a boil over high heat. Cover and reduce heat to low. Let cauliflower simmer for about 30 minutes, turning over halfway through, until tender. Drain and let cool in a colander.
Preheat oven to 450°F. Lightly grease a baking dish with cooking spray.
To prepare the salsa, heat vegetable oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté onion for 2 to 3 minutes until transparent. Add the remaining minced garlic and sauté for an additional 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes and enchilada sauce; season with salt and black pepper to taste. Let sauce simmer, stirring occasionally, for 6 to 8 minutes.
Arrange whole cauliflower in baking dish. Brush lightly beaten egg all over the cauliflower. Press crumbled queso fresco atop the cauliflower. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, just until the cheese starts to turn golden. Spoon sauce atop cauliflower. Continue to bake for an additional 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat.
To serve roasted cauliflower, slice into wedges. Enjoy!
Tip: If you can't find queso fresco, the original recipe calls for grated Parmesan cheese.