Roasted Cauliflower with Dates and Walnuts


My earliest memory of cauliflower involves ketchup.

But fast-forward to 2011, where grown-up me has donned his classy cap and uncovered a delicious new twist on the home-garden staple that was a surprise hit at our recent SacFoodies Thanksgiving Potluck.

I know—more delicious than ketchup, you say? Brace yourself.

Food Network chef Claire Robinson is known for her fresh ingredient, less-is-more perspective in cooking. I actually had the opportunity to work with Claire earlier this year for a client, where her warmth and effervescence in person paired perfectly with her approachable philosophy in the kitchen.

Enter: Roasted Cauliflower with Dates and Pine Nuts. I stumbled across the recipe in Claire’s 5 Ingredient Fix cookbook. I also realized that my father had actually prepared the dish at a family Thanksgiving the year before, oddly enough.

And so, with the Claire-Family-Work synergy in play, I went with it.

With my own twists, of course.

Doubling the portions, substituting walnuts for pine nuts, and turning up the volume on the garlic were how I put my own stamp on this customizable—and insanely easy—recipe. What will be yours?

Roasted Cauliflower with Dates and Walnuts


2 large head cauliflower, cut into florets (about 16 cups)
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup pitted Medjool dates, coarsely chopped


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Evenly spread the cauliflower on a baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil, then transfer to the oven and roast, tossing once with a spatula, until golden brown at the edges, about 20 minutes.

Put the butter in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Once it’s melted, add the walnuts and cook, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and dates and continue cooking until the garlic and dates are softened, 3 to 4 minutes more; season with salt.

Transfer the hot cauliflower to a serving bowl, drizzle the walnut mixture over the top, and toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary and serve warm or at room temperature.


  • The original recipe only called for two cloves of garlic, but that just doesn’t do it for me. Dial it up or down, depending on your own taste.
  • Definitely serve the dish hot. But if you have to refrigerate overnight (like me), nuke it for a few minutes before serving. The flavors were just as potent.
  • Claire recommends sprinkling with the zest of half a lemon before serving “for a tart edge.” My next attempt will take her second reco into consideration, too: Toss half a teaspoon of chopped fresh rosemary into the butter and walnuts before tossing with the cauliflower.

Original recipe courtesy of Five Ingredient Fix: Easy, Elegant and Irresistible Recipes by Claire Robinson (2010).

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