Small florets of cauliflower look a lot like popcorn, and when coated with classic popcorn seasonings, they can be just as snackable. Roast pieces the size of popped kernels until deeply tender and frizzled, shower with panko bread crumbs seasoned with nutritional yeast, then return to the oven to toast. The panko mimics the airy crispness of popcorn, while nutritional yeast adds a cheesy, salty flavor. Adjust seasonings based on what you like: Add wet ingredients, like hot sauce or soy sauce, to the cauliflower before roasting, and dry ingredients, like Old Bay, furikake or Tajín, when you add the panko.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 2pounds cauliflower, cut into ½- to 1-inch pieces and florets
- ⅓cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or melted ghee
- ¼cup nutritional yeast
- ¼teaspoon red-pepper flakes or pinch of ground cayenne
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- ½cup panko bread crumbs
Step 1Heat the oven to 450 degrees. On a sheet pan, toss the cauliflower with ⅓ cup olive oil, 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast and the red-pepper flakes. Season generously with salt and pepper, then toss well to evenly distribute. Spread in an even layer and roast for 20 minutes, until the cauliflower is crisp-tender and starting to brown at the edges.
Step 2Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the panko, remaining 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast and remaining tablespoon olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, and stir with a fork until evenly combined.
Step 3When the 20 minutes are up, stir the cauliflower, spread it into an even layer and sprinkle with the panko mixture. Roast until the panko is toasted, 10 to 12 minutes.