Whole baked cauliflower with tomato & olive sauce

This is a great way to cook cauliflower because it half steams and half boils in the delicious sauce. It's really nice served at the table in the pan it has cooked in, as it looks so different to any other conventional way of cooking cauliflower, but if you prefer you can serve it in a dish like I did in the picture. Even though I made this recipe up, it feels quite Mediterranean in style to me.

Nutritional Information (amount per serving)


Serves 4   Approx time: 75   Difficulty: super easy


  • 1 red onion, peeled and sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large head cauliflower, outer green leaves discarded, stalk chopped
  • olive oil
  • 1 handful black olives, stoned
  • 4 good-quality salted anchovy fillets in oil, drained and sliced
  • 1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves roughly chopped, stalks finely chopped
  • 2 x 400 g good-quality tinned plum tomatoes
  • red wine vinegar


First of all, find yourself a pan in which your whole head of cauliflower will fit, leaving an inch around the outside of it – this is important, otherwise it won't cook in the way it's supposed to. I use my regular porridge-for-four-people pan and it works a treat! Add the onion, garlic, chopped cauliflower stalk and a lug of oil to the pan and slowly fry for 10 minutes until softened and with a little colour. Add the olives, anchovies and parsley stalks and fry for another couple of minutes. Add your tomatoes, then half-fill one of the tins with water and add that to the pan, with a good swig of red wine vinegar. Stir everything together, breaking the tomatoes down with a spoon to make sure there are no big lumps, and bring to the boil.

Take your cauliflower and gently push it down into the sauce. If you've got the size of your pan right, half of the cauliflower will be in the sauce, half above it. Drizzle with olive oil, put the lid on and let it tick over on a low heat for 50 minutes. Serve sprinkled with the parsley leaves. Again, this is a pretty well-behaved dish when it comes to cooking it in advance and then reheating it just before you want to serve it. Lovely with roast lamb, and it's also a delicious main course for a vegetarian if you leave out the anchovies.

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