Vegan Versions: Crown Roast Cauliflower

by Maria Theresa Maggi on February 7, 2014

Crown Roast Cauliflower

I’m not one that rushes to rubberneck the scene of a fire or an accident. Those kinds of spectacles do not attract me, unless I can be of some actual help.  Perhaps this is because when I was 10, I saw smoke coming from a garbage can and the garage door of the house on the corner. No one seemed to be there, or to be aware of the smoke. I went across the street to people I knew, and the dad there said I did the right thing to tell him and he called the fire department. I was really struck by the quietness of the moment I had first seen the smoke–I had been alone– and the spectacle that followed: a bevy of firetrucks and police cars, and a thick crowd of neighbors and passers-by straining for a look. The feeling in the atmosphere was one of a carnival or a circus.

Why are they doing that?” I asked my Dad, as we waited for the police to ask me what I’ seen. “Oh,” he said, somewhat derisively, even as he himself strained for a better view now and then. “They just want to see.”

See what? I thought.  The fire was now out. The tearful, shocked, grateful owners? The policeman in his helmet writing on a pad? The damage to the garage and the house? It seemed to me that those things should be private. But I learned they are most definitely not.

However, when it comes to food spectacles, I am the first in line to have my jaw drop. When I saw this recipe from PureWow posted on a friend’s timeline in my facebook newsfeed, I gasped. It was so beautiful and spectacular looking, I had to click on it and see if it could be veganized. As I waited for the recipe to appear, I wasn’t hopeful. It looked to me like butter or lots of oil had been involved. But when I actually got there, I gasped again. The main ingredient in the marinade? Greek yogurt. The only oil used was to  coat the baking sheet. Veganizing this one would be easier than I thought.

I wanted to make a soy free version, too, so I chose some plain almond yogurt. But even the plain has some sugar, and tradtional Greek yogurt is quite tart. To make up for that sweetness, and offset the fact that I wouldn’t be using salt either, I added some chickpea miso to the marinade, for some tart saltiness, without all the sodium in the kosher salt that was part of the original recipe.

I tinkered with it a bit more, substituting and adding when it came to the spices. Those of you who like super hot may want to follow the proportions in the PureWow original. Or you could certainly also use the spice combination in Susan’s Roasted Cauliflower Bites. No matter how you mix it up, the marinade is a tasty innovation, and the cauliflower smells wonderful as it bakes.

It isn’t quite the shape of a crown roast, but it’s golden, and sure looks regal when it comes out of the oven and gets sliced open. And it reigns over anything else you eat it with.

There was still quite a bit of marinade left over, and PureWow says to use leftover marinade as salad dressing or to roast other vegetables. I decided to try the second option. Here are some broccoli florets, parsnip and red cabbage coated with the leftovers:

Crown Roast Cauliflower Leftover Marinade

They were tasty like this (I sampled), but since the high the day I made this was 13, I decided to bake them. They got a little crispy, but were mighty tasty:

Broccoli, Parsnip and Cabbage Roasted in Leftover Marinade

They became part of this “bowl,” full of re-steamed leftover brown rice with red quinoa, millet, adzuki beans, and some pineapple and green onion with a little extra lime juice. Pretty darn yummy. And warm.

Leftover Bowl

Actually, I ate most of the crown roast cauliflower in a similar fashion: in a bowl with millet, adzuki beans, spinach and extra “As You Wish” Spice Blend (you may have noticed the As You Wish Ingredients crept into my marinade too).

But you don’t have to chop everything up and put it into a bowl like I do. Slice your crown roast cauliflower if you’d like, and eat it with a knife and a fork. After all, it’s the new white meat, right?  I’m betting you won’t be able to take your eyes, or your fork–off this spectacular looking roast vegetable treat.

And if you’re looking for just the right not-so-usual valentines, there are still some packs of I Love You cards waiting for you in the Slow Miracle Art Store. But any day is a good day for an I Love You card–or a crown cauliflower roast, for that matter!

Maria (moonwatcher)




Leave a Comment

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Julie February 7, 2014 at 12:16 pm

I also saw this on my “feed” but I haven’t tried it yet. Your interpretation looks fantastic, and saves me some tinkering of my own! 🙂


2 moonwatcher February 7, 2014 at 1:05 pm

Thanks, Julie, and welcome! It was pretty captivating, yes? I’m glad to save you some tinkering! 🙂


3 Valerie February 7, 2014 at 6:19 pm

This sounds really delicious. I’ve never heard of chickpea miso before; I usually get the standard miso at my local Korean supermarket. Will that still work? It probably will, but just wanted to check with you.


4 moonwatcher February 7, 2014 at 7:16 pm

Hi Valerie! Welcome, and thanks for your comment. Standard miso will work just fine. 🙂


5 Larry February 8, 2014 at 7:58 am

Looks so yummy and love roasted veggies. I was wondering if there was something that could substitute for the yogurt? Vegan processed food is so difficult to find where I live. We are lucky when a store carries soy / almond milk and tofu.

Oh wait, I think I just answered my own question, LOL. I could just make a fake yogurt out of silken tofu. What do you think? I will give it a try this week, including tenting the roast for a while and let you know how it goes.


6 moonwatcher February 8, 2014 at 8:23 am

Hi Larry, welcome, and thanks for your comment! Isn’t it great to realize you may be answering your own question as you type? I love it when that happens to me. 🙂 It’s a good question though. Yes, I think thinning silken tofu to make a fake yogurt would work fine. The lime juice will help sour it. And good luck trying out the “tent” too!


7 Charlene February 8, 2014 at 8:51 am

How is this a vegan recipe with 1 c of yogurt as the first ingredient.


8 Charlene February 8, 2014 at 8:53 am

oops! missed the almond part. sorry.


9 moonwatcher February 8, 2014 at 8:56 am

No worries! 🙂


10 moonwatcher February 8, 2014 at 8:54 am

Hi Charlene, and thanks for your question. I simply veganized the PureWow recipe by using a non-dairy yogurt. In my case I chose almond yogurt, but you could also use soy yogurt or coconut yogurt. You could also try thinning some silken tofu to the consistency of yogurt. The original PureWow recipe I linked to does use conventional dairy greek style yogurt–mine doesn’t.

There are also many recipes on the internet for making non-dairy yogurt, if you’re interested in trying that out, here’s Susan’s for soy yogurt


11 Veronica February 9, 2014 at 2:48 pm

I saw that on pinterest! Definitely a unique take on roasting cauliflower, and beautiful. Your interpretation looks awesome! I’ll have to try it out, too. Sounds delicious in a rice or millet mixer like you made, quick and easy in leftovers.


12 janet @ the taste space February 10, 2014 at 10:13 am

Nice! I have been meaning to try this ever since I saw it on My New Roots but was uncertain whether the cauliflower would cook all the way through. Just florets take 40 minutes for me and I didn’t want the spices to burn. Anyways, love your version of it and it gioves me confidence to try it myself. 🙂


13 veggiequest February 12, 2014 at 6:53 am

This looks amazing! I’m SO trying it. I actually have a cauliflower in the fridge right now…tonight might be the night! 😀


14 Rebecca Cody February 14, 2015 at 4:19 pm

This looked too great not to try, but I couldn’t find plain almond yogurt and didn’t want to use soy, so I skipped that part and it still worked out just fine. I can’t remember, but I think I thinned it a bit with water. Also, I didn’t have poultry seasoning or fennel powder, but it was still great.

Using a sharp knife, I cut a cone shaped bit of the core out and steamed the entire cauliflower about 15 minutes, core down, took it out of the steamer, then put the seasoning mix on and it worked great. It roasted in about 40 minutes and was tender all the way to the core.

I’m going to make another tomorrow to take to a potluck and I’ll probably tweak the seasonings a bit, just for the fun of it, but I’ll keep the colorful curry powder, paprika and cumin, to give it that roasted-looking color.

I recently made cauliflower “steaks” cut from top to bottom, about 3/4″ thick and steamed them, too. After steaming I marinated them overnight in a lemon-red wine vinaigrette, then baked them at 375 about 15 minutes, then broiled them a few minutes to brown them.Topped with gremolata, they were delicious and beautiful, too, but not as showy as the entire roast.


15 moonwatcher February 14, 2015 at 5:24 pm

Welcome Rebecca! Thanks for your comment. It’s really nice to know that it works well without the yogurt. I will keep that in mind. I hope it’s a big hit at your pot luck! Your steaks sound good too.


16 Rebecca Cody February 17, 2015 at 1:18 pm

Oops! I wrote a note about steaming the cauliflower before spreading the sauce over the top so it would be done to the core in less time and tender all the way through. But I goofed! I said to steam it 15 minutes and that was too long. Ten minutes should be about right for most heads of cauliflower, less for smaller than ordinary heads. If you steam it too long it will begin falling apart.

I also suggested cutting out a cone-shaped piece from the core before steaming. This works, but don’t make the indentation so large that what is left won’t support the florettes. Otherwise they will fall off after steaming.

Otherwise, the method helps cook it through without roasting too long.


17 moonwatcher February 17, 2015 at 1:25 pm

Thanks for the clarification Rebecca, and the good advice. 🙂


Previous post:

Next post: