If you’re looking for the perfect vegetarian-friendly entree for a holiday feast, this whole roasted cauliflower skillet from Lauren Toyota is it. It’s big, impressive, and looks kind of like a turkey. It can be served as the main event for all your veg-heads at the table or as a complimentary side to a traditional holiday menu. The homemade gravy basted over the cauliflower may just be your new favourite go-to vegan gravy recipe too!
Cauliflower and Vegetables
Prepare all your cut up vegetables and herbs. Toss the potatoes, carrots, onions, and rosemary with olive oil, sea salt, and ground pepper.
Preheat oven to 425ºF.
To prepare the whole cauliflower, remove the excess green leaves. Trim the stock so the cauliflower is able to sit flat into a roasting pan or cast iron skillet and remove any tough exterior of the remaining stalk so just the florets are visible. Be careful not to cut too deep into the bottom so the florets don’t come apart from the entire head of cauliflower.
To prepare the gravy, heat a saucepan over medium and add vegan butter. Once melted add the minced garlic and shallot. Stir and cook this until softened for about 2 minutes.
Add nutmeg, celery salt, rosemary and thyme and continue stirring for another minute.
Combine corn starch with water to make a slurry and add that along with the tamari, maple syrup, tahini, and Worcestershire, whisking to combine well. Whisk occasionally as you bring the gravy to a low simmer. Once it’s bubbling, lower heat and continue to simmer for 10 minutes. This should be a thick, but pourable consistency so it coats the cauliflower and sticks to it without dripping too much into the roasting pan. If you need to thin it out use a small amount of vegetable stock to reach the right consistency.
Start by placing the cauliflower upside down in the pan so the bottom is exposed. Pour a couple tablespoons of gravy into the bottom so it gets into the florets. You can also use a turkey baster to inject the gravy into the base of the cauliflower. You can pick it up and move it around a little. Then flip it back up placing it in the roasting pan or skillet and pour half of the gravy that’s in the saucepan on top. Use a brush to coat the entire cauliflower with the gravy.
Surround the cauliflower with the seasoned carrots, potatoes, onion, and most of the rosemary sprigs, leaving a few pieces for a final garnish.
Roast for 25 to 30 minutes. At this point it should have a nice deep brown colour and there should be plenty of juices at the bottom of the pan that you can toss the surrounding vegetables in as well as use some of it to baste the cauliflower.
Continue to roast for another 25 to 30 minutes until it’s a deep golden brown colour.
When you remove the finished roast and vegetables if there’s any excess liquid in the bottom of the pan, use a baster to add it back into the saucepan with the remaining gravy. Heat this up over the stove top on medium heat. Serve this alongside the whole cauliflower roast and guests can add more gravy as they wish.
Garnish the final dish with the last few fresh rosemary sprigs and serve immediately.