Whole roasted spicy tandoori cauliflower garnished with pickled onions, buttery pistachios, and crunchy-sweet pomegranate seeds is a show-stopper vegetarian dish for family meals and parties. Served with cooling cucumber raita this tasty and visually inspiring meal is ready in under 20 minutes.
Last year I had the pleasure of dining at ABC V, Jean-Georges’ vegan restaurant in Manhattan. One dish that visually took my breath away was the whole roasted cauliflower. It had a brilliant yellow hue and was topped with little gems of pistachios, pomegranate, dried olives, and more.
As I started this year’s Thanksgiving preparation, I wanted to create a visually appealing side dish, but it looks like this dish can actually hold its own as a main! My version has hearty tandoori flavors with a cooling cucumber raita. A perfect main dish for a Vegetarian Thanksgiving Menu.
Looking to experiment with Indian cooking? This dish is a must try!
I love that with the help of an Instant Pot Pressure Cooker and an air fryer, this stunning dish can be cooked in just 20 minutes. A perfect main dish for your holiday table.
- Cauliflower - a medium-sized fresh whole head of cauliflower
- Spices - turmeric, red chili powder, garam masala, ground cumin, and coriander
- Yogurt - creamy whole milk yogurt or Greek yogurt works best for the marinade and the cucumber raita
- Cucumbers - small Persian cucumber
- Garnish - cilantro, pomegranate, pistachios, and pickled onions
How to Make Tandoori Cauliflower
- Trim cauliflower leaves and steam. Make turmeric and salt brine.
- Add 1 cup of water to the Instant Pot insert. Place the trivet inside the Instant pot and place cauliflower on top of the trivet. Apply salt and turmeric brine liberally over the cauliflower. Turn the cauliflower head upside down and pour over the leftover brine. Steam the cauliflower in the Instant Pot for 1 minute. Quick release and take out the cauliflower on a platter.
- Make the tandoori spice blend and generously coat the cooked cauliflower with the marinade and place it in the preheated air fryer. Air fry at 400 F for 5 minutes or roast the cauliflower in a preheated oven.
- Place the air-fried cauliflower on a medium-serving platter. Pour Cucumber Raita around the cauliflower. Garnish with cilantro, pistachios, pomegranates, and pickled onions. Squeeze some fresh lemon juice top.
More Ideas to Garnish Tandoori Cauliflower
✓ chopped cilantro
✓ roasted pistachios
✓ sliced almonds
✓ cashews pan-fried in ghee
✓ pickled onions
- Brush the turmeric and salt + water brine all over the cauliflower, also turn the cauliflower head upside down and pour over any remaining brine.
- Spread the marinade on the top as well as the underside
- The pressure cook time for whole cauliflower (trimmed weight): For 1 to 1.5 lbs steam for 1 minute, for 1.5 to 2 lbs steam for 2 minutes, and for less than 1 lb steam for zero minutes.
- Vegan whole cauliflower - substitute yogurt with vegan yogurt for both marinade and raita. Check out this article on the best dairy-free yogurts
- To adjust the spice levels, add more or less Kashmiri red chili and garam masala
- You can also bake the cauliflower in the oven on a baking sheet.
- Before serving cut the cauliflower into ½-inch steaks and broil for 5 minutes to get a crispier texture
More Thanksgiving and Holiday Recipes
Want to serve this gorgeous roasted cauliflower for the upcoming holidays? Here are some of my favorite recipes to make a complete holiday meal:
Whole Roasted Tandoori Cauliflower Recipe
Step 1: Brine and Steam the Cauliflower
- Add 1 cup water to Instant Pot.
- Place the cauliflower head on the trivet and place the trivet inside the Instant Pot
- Mix salt and turmeric in 2 tablespoons of water and brush it all over the cauliflower. Turn the cauliflower over and evenly pour any remaining brine on it.
- Then place the cauliflower back on the trivet with the stem down. Close the Instant Pot with pressure valve to sealing. Pressure Cook for 1 minute followed by quick release and open the Instant Pot.
Step 2: Marinate and Roast
- Mix all the ingredients for the marinade in a small bowl. Apply the marinade on the steamed cauliflower using a brush or silicone spatula. You can also turn the cauliflower over to get any remaining marinade under the cauliflower. Then place the cauliflower back on the trivet with the stem down. Apply the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil over the cauliflower.
- Preheat the air fryer to 400 F. Place the marinated cauliflower in the air fryer. Air fry at 400 F for 5 minutes. You can also roast in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for 5 to 10 minutes.
Step 3: Raita
- In a bowl, add finely grated cucumber, salt, grated garlic, ground cumin and cilantro. Add yogurt and mix well.
Step 4: Plating
- Place the cauliflower in a medium serving platter. Pour Raita around the cauliflower. Garnish with cilantro, pistachios, pomegranates and pickled onions. Add lemon wedges to the side.
- Cut into ½ inch steaks while serving.
- Boil 1 cup of red pearl onions in 2 cups of water and 2 teaspoons of salt for 5 to 6 minutes. Drain the onions and rinse once
- In a small saucepan add ½ cup water, ½ cup apple cider vinegar, ¼ cup sugar, ½ teaspoon cumin seeds, ½ teaspoon black peppercorn, ½ teaspoon fennel seeds and bring it to a boil or until the sugar dissolves
- Place the drained onions in a jar or glass bowl. Pour the vinegar water over it. Allow it to come to room temperature and then refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving