Roasted Cauliflower with Crunchy Lemon-Garlic Breadcrumbs and Caper Vinaigrette

This Roasted Cauliflower with Crunchy Lemon-Garlic Breadcrumbs and Caper Vinaigrette has become a favorite recipe over the last few months. Roasted cauliflower by itself is great, but it’s more fun to treat it as a canvas for adding various flavors and textures. These lemon-garlic breadcrumbs add crunchy depth and the caper dressing adds an additional punch of flavor. The technique for lemon-garlic breadcrumbs is something you could use for countless other recipes, and almost any salad. This was hands down the favorite recipe at my last cooking group event when we cooked several recipes inspired from Hetty McKinnon’s cookbook Community. Everyone kept talking about these bright flavors. Yesterday when I was prepping this dish to take to a dinner party, my cousin told me she was simultaneously making it for her family. We all love it.

I have made several adaptations from the original cookbook version to make it my own. Firstly I eliminated the raw tomatoes because if you know me, you know I’m not a raw tomato person. I also swap other greens instead of baby spinach, which I find a little boring. I either increase the amount of parsley to amp up the brightness, or do a combo of parsley and arugula. I also increase the amount of toasted walnuts to highlight their flavor. For the acid component, instead of the original apple cider vinegar, I use champagne vinegar which I prefer for salads, or simple lemon juice. I also decreased the amount of cauliflower, so there is a greater ratio of aromatics to cauliflower, making it a punchier dish.

I hope you all enjoy this dish as much as we do.

Roasted Cauliflower with Crunchy Lemon-Garlic Breadcrumbs and Caper Vinaigrette

1 large cauliflower head, cut into florets

2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

sea salt

2 cups flat leaf parsley (or 1 cup parsley and 1 cup arugula)

2/3 cup walnuts

lemon-garlic breadcrumbs

250g stale bread (such as sourdough or baguette)

grated zest of 1 large lemon

2 large garlic cloves, grated

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

sea salt

caper vinaigrette

1/2 cup capers, rinsed and roughly chopped

2 large garlic cloves, grated

2 tablespoons champagne vinegar or lemon juice

scant 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

sea salt


Preheat the oven to 400F. Trim the cauliflower and cut it into florets. Arrange on a large baking sheet. Toss with olive oil and salt. Roast for 25-30 minutes, or until golden.

While the cauliflower is roasting, you can use the lower oven rack to toast the breadcrumbs and the walnuts. Toast the walnuts around 5-7 minutes until fragrant but not dark. When cool, roughly chop.

To make the breadcrumbs, tear the stale bread. Then add it to a food processor and pulse into chunky crumbs. Transfer to baking tray add the grated garlic, grated lemon zest, olive oil, and a big pinch of salt. Massage everything together with your hands to make sure the crumbs are evenly coated. Spread on the tray and bake for 10 minutes, or until golden. Combine with the walnuts and set aside. Wait to add them to the salad just before serving so they stay crunchy. If you are bringing this dish to a picnic or potluck, store the breadcrumb-walnut mixture separately and add at the last minute.

Make the vinaigrette in the big salad bowl you will use for serving. Rinse and chop the capers. Add them to the bottom of the salad bowl along with the grated garlic, salt, and champagne vinegar or lemon juice. Add the olive oil in a steady stream and whisk vigorously to get a thick, creamy dressing. Taste and adjust the seasoning if desired.

To serve, add the cauliflower and parsley to the vinaigrette. Just before serving, add the breadcrumbs and walnuts. Toss and taste for salt.

If you have leftovers, I recommend reheating in a toaster oven so the breadcrumbs get crispy again.

you may also like…

Charred Cabbage with Hazelnuts & Chili Butter
Artichokes Baked with White Wine, Thyme & Lemons
Italian Arugula and Fennel Salad with Basil Dressing

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