This delicious Korean spice roasted gochujang cauliflower can be made two-ways: you can roast the whole cauliflower or you can roast individual florets. It's a great meal for large family dinners, and you can always save the leftovers for delicious tacos!
The post contains helpful tips and tricks to make sure you're successful in your first attempt. But if you're in a rush, please use the link above to jump to the recipe card at the end!
💭 Why you'll love this recipe
My friend introduced me to gochujang almost a decade ago and I've been hooked ever since. This recipe takes all the fermented spicy goodness of gochujang and adds it to the perfect vehicle - roasted cauliflower. If done right, this leads to crispy, yet soft cauliflower, and an explosion of flavors in your mouth.
- Easy, wholesome recipe: This recipe is super simple and can be made in just an hour. You have multiple cauliflower heads? Just pop them all in the oven at the same time.
- Explore new flavor profiles: Adding a global flavor profile to local, seasonal ingredients leads to sustainable eating habits. And this Korean gochujang cauliflower is a perfect example (and cauliflower is almost always in season)
- Make this as whole roasted cauliflower or use florets: The main recipe uses a whole head of cauliflower, but make sure to check out the section below that for florets!
📋 Ingredients and notes
You'll need a head of cauliflower, gochujang, soy sauce (or tamari, if you're gluten-free) along with tahini, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. You can garnish with fresh herbs or even cheese if you consume dairy products.
What is gochujang? Is it vegan?
Gochujang is a vegan, Korean red chili paste that's made with glutinous rice, fermented soy beans and salt. Despite it's fiery red color, the flavor can range from sweet to spicy, making it the backbone of Korean cooking. I put gochujang on all my vegetables! It's the most delightful spicy umami bomb ever because it has all the ingredients for fantastic flavor which contribute to the perfect bite of gochujang cauliflower!
There's two ways to make gochujang cauliflower - whole roasted and roasted florets. I have detailed instructions for both in this post.
⏲️ Make Spicy Whole Roasted Cauliflower
The base technique for making roasted cauliflower head is inspired by Ottolenghi's recipe. You first boil the cauliflower in salted water to start the cooking process. Once the cauliflower is soft (about 10-15 minutes) make sure to drain the water and blot it using a clean towel. This helps absorb extra moisture. You can keep or chop off the stem based on whether the cauliflower is able to stand on it's own! (I kept mine in this case)
Make the sauce by mixing gochujang, soy sauce, tahini, olive oil, salt and pepper. Smear the cauliflower with this sauce, making sure to get the crevices. Blot out any excess and pop it into the oven at 425F for about 25 minutes.
Optional: You can broil for about 30 seconds to get it crispy if you like, and garnish with fresh herbs and/or cheese, and you're ready for deliciousness!
How to use cauliflower florets in this recipe
If you have cauliflower florets, the technique is a bit different, but not by a whole lot.
- Toss the florets with olive oil, salt and pepper, and bake for 15 minutes at 425F. This releases excess water, which in turn makes it less likely to become soggy.
- Make the sauce by mixing gochujang, soy sauce, tahini, olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Blot excess water from florets and toss them in sauce. If you want it ultra crispy, you can add breadcrumbs and/or chickpea flour to this mixture!
- Pop it back in the oven for another 20 minutes, tossing them halfway through to make sure they're cooked evenly.
Check out my Korean cauliflower tacos recipe for how you can use roasted florets!
🍴 Serving and storage suggestions
I often serve the whole roasted cauliflower as a family style dish. The florets, you can serve in a bowl with chopped scallions (add a creamy dip to tone down the spice!) or better yet: you can make gochujang cauliflower tacos or an easy fried rice. I also love serving this as a healthy side on it's own to any main dish!
To store the cauliflowers, place them in an airtight container and warm them up in an oven at 350F for 5-10 minutes. I prefer this instead of popping them in the microwave since it helps retain crispiness!
If you like this recipe, check out my other easy Korean-inspired recipes:
Spicy Korean Gochujang Whole Roasted Cauliflower
- 1 head of cauliflower, medium size, kept whole, washed
- 1 tablespoon Korean gochujang sauce, available at most Asian supermarkets - you can add as much as 2 tablespoons based on size of cauliflower!
- 1 tablespoon tahini sauce
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or lime juice
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 425F
- Boil some water with salt in a pot large enough to submerge the full cauliflower. Chop off the excess leaves at the bottom, and place the cauliflower florets side down in the water and boil for 10 or 12 minutes until the cauliflower is tender. Wrap in a clean, dry kitchen towel and set aside while you prepare the sauce - this will help absorb excess moisture from the cauliflower and ensure it's crispy!
- Mix the gochujang, soy sauce, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a bowl to make a sauce with a thick consistency.
- Either transfer the cauliflower to the mixing bowl, toss with the gochujang sauce evenly (make sure not to overcoat) or coat it evenly with your hand on a baking sheet.
- If your oven has a roast function, you can turn it to this setting. If not, keep the bake setting and put the baking sheet with the cauliflower in for about 25 minutes. Switch to broiler and broil for exactly 30 seconds (otherwise the top will burn!)
- Taste the sauce before you toss your cauliflower with it - if spicy, adjust with tahini or olive oil till it's to your liking. The sauce must taste delicious (though intense!)
- Make sure not to overcoat to avoid the risk of burning the sauce - you can always use excess sauce to coat the cauliflower after it comes out of the oven
- I've found it better to use my hands to toss the cauliflower vs. using a brush. Okay to get a bit dirty!
- If you want your cauliflower to be extra crispy, you can add some chickpea flour into the sauce or coat with breadcrumbs.
- If you have cauliflower florets instead, check the post for details!
Note: This post was originally published on Jan 15, 2020 and updated on Dec 29, 2020 to include more detailed instructions and updated photos to make the recipe easier to follow!