Roasted Purple Cauliflower This vibrant veggie is naturally this deep purple color and unlike artificially dyed purple food, it's good for you!

Roasted Purple Cauliflower

Look at this gorgeous purple cauliflower! It’s naturally this vibrant deep purple color and so quick and easy to make. Roasted Purple Cauliflower is a show stopper vegetable for sure. It’s in peak season in July and August and often available in larger markets for your holiday table. Air Fryer cooking option, too!

Roasted Purple Cauliflower served in a white bowl is a stunning addition to any meal.

Click the image above to Pin.

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Roasted Purple Cauliflower in a white bowl on light wooden surface

When and where can I buy this vibrant veggie

Purple and orange cauliflower is in peak season in the fall months but it’s possible to find it year round in California and larger markets like Whole Foods. Farmers markets often carry it but you will need to be first in line because they don’t last long.

I wasn’t able to find it this year in Birmingham in August. I called Frieda’s Specialty Produce in California and they sent me a case (thank you!) to prepare Roasted Purple Cauliflower on my segment for WBRC’s Good Day Alabama. They said there had been a hot and dry spell possibly causing the shortage. Both Whole Foods and Fresh Market weren’t able to get any for the two weeks I called. I’m still hopeful they will get a few cases in September!

Purple food is just fun to eat and purple cauliflower is good for you! Bonus!

How is purple cauliflower naturally purple?

Purple food, especially baked goods and sweets, are often artificially colored or dyed. Not purple cauliflower! It is naturally this vibrant hue of purple thanks to an antioxidant called anthocyanin. It’s the same antioxidant found in red cabbage and red wine.

Orange cauliflower, on the other hand, is genetically modified to allow the plant to hold more beta carotene.

I bet if you were to roast white and purple cauliflower together and call it Unicorn Trees, little girls everywhere would be eating more cauliflower!

This recipe is simple but the key to getting the browned edges is to be patient and not turn them until you see the edges turn a little more than golden.

Don’t be tempted to stir too soon! It needs the high heat, undisturbed to achieve the brown edges.

Can I roast cauliflower in an air fryer?

Yes! I have a Ninja 1550 Watt air fryer and one batch (half the recipe) roasts in just 6 minutes!

Preheat the air fryer for 3 minutes. Toss the cauliflower florets in oil, salt and pepper. Place half the cauliflower in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Set timer for 6 minutes and set Air Fry setting for 6 minutes. It will turn out crispy on the edges, tender on the inside: roasted veggie perfection!

I show you how to make it in the air fryer on the video below.

Watch my tv segment on WBRC’s Good Day Alabama

Kathleen Phillips and Janice Rogers make Roasted Purple Cauliflower on WBRC's Good Day Alabama

Does purple cauliflower change color when cooked?

Yes. It turns a darker hue of purple. On the left is a raw head of purple cauliflower. On the right is a head I blanched for 1 minute.

Raw and blanched heads of purple cauliflower side by side. Blanched is darker on the right side.

Can I freeze purple cauliflower?

Yes! All cauliflower freezes well-no matter the color. The trick is to blanche the florets in boiling water first.

They hold their texture much better than just sealing them in a ziplock bag. Let them cool and dry on a kitchen towel, then freeze in a single layer on a sheet pan. Then pack them in a freezer zip top bag or freezer container. This way, you don’t have a frozen lump and can pull out individual florets in any amount as you need them.

Other veggie recipes you may love

How to Make Southern Fried Yellow Squash

Oven-Fried Okra

Beans and Greens: Instant Pot Collard Greens and Navy Beans

Perfect Every Time Fried Green Tomatoes

Other Purple recipes you may love

Purple Sweet Potato Magic Cake

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Roasted Purple Cauliflower
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
20 mins
You can opt for white cauliflower or broccoli if purple is not available. Don’t be tempted to stir too soon! It needs the high heat, undisturbed to achieve the brown edges.
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cauliflower, purple food, purple cauliflower, sides
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Kathleen Royal Phillips
  • Half of one large head cauliflower cut into florets about 4 cups
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, avocado oil, or vegetable oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 425°. Toss all ingredients together in a bowl or right on a rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan. Spread florets out in a single layer. Bake at 425° for 12 minutes or until browned on underside of florets; stir or use tongs to turn over. Bake another 3 to 5 minutes or just until tender and lightly browned.

Recipe Notes

Don't be tempted to stir before the 12 minutes (or lightly brown on first side) is up!

Author: gritsandgouda

Hi! I’m Kathleen. I’m a food stylist, recipe developer, cookbook author, and event planner loving life in a charming town called Gardendale, Alabama, with my husband and two teenage children. I love to cook and laugh…not necessarily in that order.

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