This Lebanese Style Cauliflower recipe is simple and delicious. Follow this easy recipe and make it either fried or roasted to serve as a side, appetizer, or as a snack. Get some sauces ready for dipping because these little florets are addictive!
Many of the recipes that I share come from requests. Aaron Fagley asked me to make Lebanese-Style Fried Cauliflower and I went to work. I love cauliflower so this was easy. Now, the only problem was, should I share the original fried version or a healthier roasted cauliflower alternative? So, I naturally went with BOTH! haha. Everyone wins with this post. Here are both versions. Let me know which one you prefer in the comments section. 😊
Fried Cauliflower Florets
Let’s begin with the classic Lebanese fried cauliflower. It doesn’t get simpler than this. Here’s how to make them:
- Separate the florets into uniform pieces so that they cook evenly.
- Heat some flavorless vegetable oil in a frying pan to 375 °F, 190 °C.
- Carefully add the cauliflower florets to the hot oil being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Adding too many florets to the oil will cause the temperature to drop and will result in soggy cauliflower and that is not the goal. So, fry a few at a time until they are golden all around. This usually takes about 5-7 minutes per batch.
- Line a plate/tray with paper towels and place the fried cauliflower on top to absorb the excess oil.
- Immediately season the florets with some salt, ground cumin, and sumac.
- Serve with lots of lemon wedges and your favorite dipping sauces.
What to serve the fried cauliflower with
The options are endless! They taste great as an appetizer along with a variety of sauces, served over salad, as a side to any meat dish, and as is with plenty of lemon juice squeezed over top. Here are some of my favorites:
- Shawarma Sauce
- Tzatziki Sauce
- Harissa Sauce
- Tahini Sauce
- in a pita sandwich
- aside salad
- over rice
- as a side to lamb, chicken, and fish
- on a charcuterie/mezze board
Roasted Cauliflower Method
If you’re looking for a lighter version of Lebanese cauliflower and hate frying, then, roasting is the way to go. It’s ready in under 30 minutes and will still be flavorful and delicious and light. Here’s how it is done:
- Separate the cauliflower into florets and lay them flat on a baking tray.
- Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt, cumin powder, and black pepper.
- Toss to coat and make sure that both sides are seasoned for maximum flavor.
- Roast the cauliflower in a preheated 450 °F, 230 °C oven until soft and golden. This usually takes about 25 minutes. Turn on the broiler element for 3-4 minutes to get more color on the florets. More color equals more flavor. Just keep a close eye on them so that they do not char or burn.
- The cauliflower is ready when it is soft and golden. Sometimes this can take up to 30 minutes.
- Garnish the roasted cauliflower with sumac and chopped mint and serve with your favorite dipping sauces.
The Taste Test: Fried or Roasted?
This is the best part of my job: the taste test. Here are my thoughts:
- soft, slightly sweet and melts in your mouth
- your home will smell like fire cauliflower for hours (not the best smell in the world so get some vanilla boiling on the stove and light some candles)
- eating too many can leave you with a heavy feeling afterwards
- more firm yet still flavorful and delicious. Especially the darker more caramelized florets!
- lighter than the fried and you can eat the entire tray without that heavy after feeling.
- bonus points for no frying smell in the house
Ok, fried cauliflower tastes amazing and melts in your mouth. If you’re going strictly for flavor than these are full of it. Caramelized, and delicious. However, there’s something refreshing about the roasted cauliflower and I prefer them just a tiny bit more. Both taste delicious the next day but, I avoid deep-frying whenever possible and that’s why The Roasted Cauliflower wins this competition.
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I hope that you give this recipe a try and if you do, let me know what you think in the comments section. Which version do you prefer? Kali orexi and I will be back soon with a delicious recipe worth sharing. Yiassou!! -Dimitra
- For the Fried Cauliflower:
- 1 head of cauliflower
- ground cumin
- vegetable oil for frying
- For the Roasted Cauliflower:
- 1 head cauliflower
- ¼ cup olive oil
- black pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- lemon wedges
- fresh mint
- Serve with:
- Shawarma sauce
- Tahini sauce
- Harissa sauce
For the fried cauliflower:
Heat the vegetable oil to 375 °F, 190 °C.
Separate the cauliflower into florets.
Carefully place the florets into the oil and fry them in a few batches until golden and soft. About 5-7 minutes per batch.
Using a slotted spoon, lift the cauliflower florets from the oil and let the excess oil drip back into the frying pan.
Place the fried florets onto a tray that has been lined with paper towels to absorb the excess oil.
Season with salt, cumin powder, and sumac. Toss to coat and top with finely chopped fresh mint. Serve with lemon wedges and your favorite dipping sauces.
For the Roasted Cauliflower:
Preheat the oven to 450 °F, 230 °C.
Separate the florets from the cauliflower and lay them flat on a baking tray.
Drizzle with olive oil.
Season with salt, pepper, and cumin powder.
Toss to coat and make sure that both sides are seasoned well.
Bake on the center rack for 25-30 minutes or until the cauliflower florets are soft and golden. Flip them over halfway through cooking.
Turn the broiler element on for the final 3-4 minutes of cooking if you want them to be more caramelized.
Transfer the florets onto a serving tray and sprinkle them with sumac and finely chopped mint.
Serve with lemon wedges and your favorite sauces. Enjoy!
Take care not to overcrowed the frying pan when frying the cauliflower. This will cause the oil's temperature to drop and they will end up soggy.