Crackling Cauliflower inspired by Whole Foods

The Perfect Vegetarian Potluck Dish: Crackling Cauliflower

The weather is cooling off here in Richmond and this weekend was absolutely gorgeous. Perfect for sipping beer and dining al fresco with friends… which is exactly what we did on Saturday night courtesy of Lauren and her hubby, Kyle. The duo hosted another fantastic vegetarian beer dinner at their home and it was a blast. (See my recap from last year here.)

The theme of the dinner was Farewell Summer, Hello Fall and each couple brought one dish and beer (or cider) to go with it. Here’s the line-up for the evening.

Vegetarian Beer Dinner Menu

Small Plates:

Lauren & Kyle: Mini Pesto Pizzas with Victory Prima Pils
Liz & Alex: Spring Mix Salad with Avocado and Grapefruit and Crispin Honeycrisp Cider
Brittany & Isaac: Cracklin’ Cauliflower and Isaac’s home-brewed rye ale
Sydney & Andrew: Eggplant, Chickpea and Potato Curry and 3 Brothers The Great Outdoors
Ashley & Bob: Cauliflower Cous Cous and Lagunitas Little Sumpin’ Wild


Shannon & Evan: Apple Pie and Left Hand Milk Stout Nitro
Alex & Brock (Isaac’s brother): Destructed Apple Pie and Cider

The food and beer were amazing and the company even better. Having a potluck with a bunch of food bloggers is pretty much the best thing ever. 🙂


Two happy campers.

As I mentioned above, Isaac and I brought his home-brewed rye ale and my contribution was a double batch of Cracklin’ Cauliflower.

Crackling Cauliflower

Cracklin’ Cauliflower is my second favorite thing from the Whole Foods salad bar (Garlicky Kale is my first, in case you were wondering) and like most food related things I fall in love with, I recreated this dish at home so I could make it whenever my heart desires. Which is awesome because it’s hit or miss when my Whole Foods will actually have this available on the bar.

So about the dish, the base is roasted cauliflower and it includes a number of fragrant spices including curry, garam masala, fennel seed, fresh ginger and garlic. Don’t let the spices scare you though… I think I got my garam masala, fennel and curry from Penzey’s Spices, but you should be able to find them all at most grocery stores. And other than measuring, throwing the spices into a bowl and roasting the cauliflower, this dish comes together rather quickly — unless of course you accidentally get the curry sauce on your white pants and have to do an emergency load of bleached whites in the process. Not that I would know about that or anything…

Whole Foods Copycat Recipe - Cracklin' Cauliflower

The texture of the roasted cauliflower is perfect (not too crunchy and not too soft) and it takes on the flavor of the curry sauce so well. You get a nice spiciness from the ginger and red pepper, which is balanced by a sweetness from the peas.

Whole Foods Copycat Recipe - Crackling Cauliflower

5.0 from 1 reviews
Crackling Cauliflower
Cook time
Total time
This cauliflower dish is a great option for potlucks because it can be made ahead of time and served at room temperature. It can also be served cold, but I think I like it best at room temp. I even brought it as a non-traditional side to our Thanksgiving dinner one year and everyone loved it!
Serves: 4-6
  • 1 bunch cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • ½ large red onion, diced
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ tablespoon curry powder
  • ½ tablespoon garam masala
  • ½ tablespoon fennel seed
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red chile flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 400°
  2. Take frozen peas out of the freezer and let thaw while preparing the cauliflower.
  3. Combine oil and spices (curry powder through ground pepper) and toss with cauliflower and red onion until all pieces are well-coated. Place cauliflower in a baking dish and roast for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring about every 15 minutes for even cooking. The cauliflower should be crisp-tender and golden brown when done.
  4. Place in a serving bowl, then stir in peas and cilantro. Let cool a bit and serve.

So now you know one of my favorite potluck friendly dishes. What’s your go-to potluck dish?

Facebook Twitter Plusone Pinterest


  1. Who knew that the veggies would be my favorite part of the dinner!?! This was one of my favorites and I am very impressed at how simple the recipe looks compared to how flavorful the dish was to eat.

  2. These spices go so well with cauliflower! I love this dish!

  3. This was SUCH a good recipe! I will be making it again, esp as Andrew loved it too!

  4. I love cauliflower in any form and this looks amazing with the peas and spices. Can’t wait to try it!

  5. I’ve never had Whole Foods’ cracklin cauliflower, but I sure want to make your version! Cauliflower is my all time favorite veggie, so I’m always looking for new ways to enjoy it. My go to potluck dish (this year, anyway) has become a maple dijon quinoa salad with a side of guacamole (that I tend to horde all for myself, shh…) It’s a crowd pleaser and I always know that I’ll have something to enjoy!

    • Oh wow! I think I need that maple dijon quinoa salad in my life. That sounds delicious and I love bringing quinoa to potlucks too. Such an easy protein option. And yes, guac is always a winner in my book.

  6. Yum! I love roasted cauliflower (it’s both super easy and yummy!), but haven’t tried adding these Indian inspired spices. Definitely going to try this one soon!

  7. I think you definitely converted some cauliflower skeptics on Saturday!! This stuff was SO good! I’m going to have to add cauliflower to my next Relay order! 😉

  8. Wow, did that recipe work for me! I was curious to try it because I often cook broccoli with almost no water, olive oil, garlic and curry (low heat with lid) and serve it with basmati rice. This had similar ingredients…it was great!

  9. This looks all delish!

  10. Definitely will be trying out this recipe! I love cauliflower and the spices sound like they’d go so well together. Kind of excited for this.

  11. I am a wee bit homesick for Virginia, for all of y’all, right now! Thank you for now recreating what is also my second favorite Whole Foods hot bar item…especially as the closest Whole Foods is over an hour away now…I just might have to give this a go ASAP. 🙂 [Your Garlicky Kale recipe was spot-on, so I bet this is, too!]

  12. I can’t wait to try this! Love cauliflower and all those spices! Thanks so much for sharing!

  13. This looks amazing! Something about the combination of cauliflower with a little spice is always delicious!

  14. love the crackling cauliflower AND the kale salad.

  15. Superb! So happy I stumbled across this recipe today. It is just as yummy, perhaps more so, as the Whole Foods dish. Thank you for sharing the recipe!

Leave a Comment


Rate this recipe: