Whenever I make granola, I have to remember to make a small batch. I can snack on the crunchy oats all day long so I have to keep temptations low. There's just something about homemade granola that makes it incredibly addicting. I usually only make sweet versions but today, I wanted to explore a savory one. A roasted vegetable topped with savory granola sounded just delicious and so here we are. This smoky roasted cauliflower with savory granola and herb marinated mozzarella pearls is one side dish you'll come back to again and again!
Smoky Roasted Cauliflower with Savory Granola
- ½ cups rolled oats
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ cup sliced almonds
- 2 tablespoons pepitas
Smoky roasted cauliflower
- 1 large head cauliflower cut into small florets
- 4 shallots thinly sliced
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon red chili flakes
- 6 ounces fresh mozzarella pearls
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup chopped basil
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- 1 garlic clove grated
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Toss rolled oats with honey, oil, salt and cumin. Spread oats evenly on lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through.
- Add almonds and pepitas to oats, tossing to combine. Bake another 10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and transfer granola to clean parchment paper. Let cool completely.
- Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees F.
- Whisk together olive oil, tomato paste, paprika, turmeric, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and red chili flakes in a small bowl. Pour mixture over cauliflower and toss to coat. Spread cauliflower on baking sheet and roast for 25-30 minutes or until tender.
- Meanwhile, marinate mozzarella. Combine mozzarella pearls with extra virgin olive oil, basil, parsley, garlic, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Let sit for 10 minutes.
- Remove cauliflower from oven and transfer to a serving platter. Top with mozzarella pearls, drizzling herb oil on top. Sprinkle granola on top and serve immediately.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
Cauliflower is one of those vegetables that has a very mild flavor. Unseasoned, it can be boring, but pair it with smoky spices, crunchy nutty granola, and herb marinated mozzarella and bring it to life. If you never had flavorful cauliflower before, you're in for a real treat.
Since the granola takes the longest, let's start there. This savory version still uses a little bit of honey but also has coriander and salt to balance it out.
Spread the oats on a lined baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Make sure to stir the oats halfway through to make sure they get evenly browned.
Add the sliced almonds and pepitas and bake for another 10 minutes. We add the nuts later on to prevent them from getting too dark. Once the granola is golden brown, spread it on clean parchment paper and let it cool completely. Feel free to make the granola up to a week in advance.
While the granola is cooling, let's prepare the cauliflower. To give the vegetable that smoky charred flavor, combine olive oil with tomato paste, paprika, turmeric, garlic powder, red chili flakes, salt, and pepper. Then, toss the cauliflower with the spice mixture, making sure to coat every floret.
Spread the cauliflower on a baking sheet and roast until browned, caramelized, and lightly charred.
Meanwhile, marinate the mozzarella. To give the cheese a little more flavor, we're going to marinate it with fresh basil, parsley, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Be sure to use extra virgin olive oil which has more intense notes than regular olive oil.
Let the mozzarella sit for about 10 minutes. You can let it sit in the oil longer but I found that it didn't make much of a difference in the flavor if you do.
Remove the roasted cauliflower from the oven and transfer it to a serving platter. Top it with the marinated mozzarella pearl, letting it slightly soften from the heat. Sprinkle a good amount of savory granola on top and serve immediately.
I always liked cauliflower but this smoky roasted cauliflower with savory granola really made me love it. Take a bite of the intensely flavored cauliflower along with a bite of the herby creamy mozzarella and crunchy granola. It's a pure match made in heaven!
For more cauliflower inspiration check out this roasted cauliflower fatteh!