Look at this gorgeous Roasted Purple Cauliflower! It's naturally this vibrant deep purple color and so quick and easy to make and healthy. This simple side dish is a show stopper vegetable for sure but white cauliflower can be substituted. It's in peak season around August and often available in larger markets for your holiday table. Air Fryer cooking option!
When and where can I buy this vibrant veggie
Purple and orange cauliflower are in peak season in the late summer and 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.
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, kids 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
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.
What are the darker spots on my cauliflower?
First of all, it's not mold. It's simply oxidation discoloring on the surface of the head of cauliflower. It happens naturally the longer the vegetable is stored. It is harmless but, I agree, not appetizing. Simply cut off the discolored parts of the head.
To help reduce the rapid spread of the oxidation, make sure the cauliflower head is dry when stored and in a tightly closed bag or container.
The dark spots don't show up as prominently on the purple cauliflower as it does on white cauliflower.
If I can't find purple cauliflower can I use white?
Absolutely. All colors of cauliflower can be used interchangeably with no adjustments needed.
Can I freeze purple cauliflower?
Yes! All cauliflower freezes well-no matter the color. The trick is to blanche the florets in boiling water for 30 seconds first, then pat them dry with paper towels before freezing them.
Cauliflower florets hold their texture much better quick freezing them on a sheet pan rather 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
Other purple recipes you may love
Roasted Purple Cauliflower
- sheet pan
- 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)
- 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.
Updated post on 8/26/21 with valuable information