Peppered Cauliflower with Garlic, Green Onions and Cilantro

For years the only way you’d get me to eat cauliflower was if it was under a significant amount of cheese sauce.  These days I’m finally discovering that this cruciferous vegetable, when prepared well, is nothing like the bland, boring stuff I experienced as a youth.

The trick is to steer clear of steaming, which generally doesn’t do cauliflower any favors flavor-wise, and opt for a roasting or high-heat saute method.

Cooked until lightly charred and tender-crisp, this cauliflower just might help you forget all of that soggy, tasteless cauliflower of your youth.  Unless of course you were lucky enough to have something similar to this Vietnamese version that was punched up with a pungent, flavorful fish sauce and plenty of fresh herbs.


Peppered Cauliflower with Garlic, Green Onions and Cilantro

Yield: 6 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes


* 2 Tablespoons oil
* 1-1/2 Tablespoons finely chopped garlic
* 1 small head cauliflower, cut into small florets
* 3 Tablespoons fish sauce
* 3 Tablespoons water
* 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
* 1/4 cup green onions, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
* 1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro


Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add the garlic when the oil is hot enough that a small piece of garlic sizzles immediately upon contact. Quickly toss and add the cauliflower. Cook for one minute without stirring and then add the fish sauce, water, black pepper and green onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower is charred and tender-crisp.

Stir in the cilantro and transfer to a serving plate.

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2 Responses to “Peppered Cauliflower with Garlic, Green Onions and Cilantro”

  1. #
    Eileen — January 18, 2013 at 10:41 am

    I totally agree–crispy browned cauliflower is so much better than steamed! I love the idea of tossing it with pungent fish sauce & herbs. :)


    • Cate — January 21st, 2013 @ 2:53 pm

      Yeah, I’m totally a roasted/charred vegetable addict these days. In fact I can’t even remember the last time I made plain baked or steamed vegetables :)


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