Manchurian Roasted Cauliflower

Roasted cauliflower tossed in a spicy, savory tomato sauce with a hint of vinegary sweetness.

Typically the cauliflower would be battered and deep-fried first but given my recent obsession with roasting and knowing how messy and fussy frying is I went the easier route. The timing works out perfect because while the florets are roasting you can get busy making the sauce.

The sauce.

I can’t say enough good things about the sauce or even find the right words to describe it in a way that will give it the justice it deserves. I do know it’s unlike any sauce I’ve had before and the memory of it won’t leave my taste buds.

Diced tomatoes, onions, vinegar and sugar cook down together before being added to hot, garlic-infused oil and seasoned with a small amount of chile powder. It sounds simple but the flavors are anything but.

The vinegar and sugar work together adding a depth of flavor that transforms the tomatoes into something completely different. Everything comes together to make one cohesive sauce that honestly surprised me.

In a {I-can’t-stop-eating-this-where-have-you-been-all-my-life-I-can’t-forget-you-now) kind of way.

Manchurian Roasted Cauliflower

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 4 servings

Manchurian Roasted Cauliflower

Roasted cauliflower tossed in a spicy, savory tomato sauce.


1 big head fresh cauliflower
olive oil
coarse sea or kosher salt and fresh black pepper
1 onion, finely chopped
1 (15 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon balsamic or white wine vinegar
3 teaspoons sugar
4 large cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon chile powder
3 scallions, chopped, for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Break or cut the cauliflower into florets that are fairly even in size. Place on a large baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon coarse salt and lots of black pepper. Use your hands to massage the oil into the florets then arrange in a single layer. Roast until fork tender.
  2. Meanwhile in a large skillet cook the onion in a tablespoon or 2 of oil over medium-low heat until soft. Add the tomatoes, juice included along with both vinegars, the sugar and a couple pinches of salt. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 20-25 minutes. You can puree it smooth if you like or lightly smash it with a potato masher leaving it a little chunky.
  3. In a separate large skillet heat another tablespoon of oil over medium-low heat and saute garlic for a minute or two - just until fragrant - not browned. Add the tomato sauce and turn heat up to medium. Cook stirring often about 5 minutes, stir in chile powder and season well with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Add the florets and toss well until they are completely coated. Garnish with scallions. Serve immediately.


Adapted from Nourish Me who adapted it from Mark Bittman

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  1. says

    I have made this dish on various accounts, and it turns out absolutely fab every single time…. I do reduce the amount of oil and i use fresh tomatoes! But still it is just too yumm….will be sharing my version on my blog soon!!

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