Loaded Roasted Cauliflower Recipe

Roasted cauliflower topped with bacon, cheese, green onions, and ranch.
Recipe At-A-Glance
Gluten-Free40 minutes
Tender, caramelized roasted cauliflower is loaded with tangy ranch, crisp bacon, fresh green onions, and sharp cheddar cheese for an addicting side dish!

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Roasted cauliflower is one of my favorite veggie side dishes in the entire world. If you’ve never roasted cauliflower before, you have to try it! We roast at a high oven temperature to caramelize the sugars of the veggie, making the florets sweeter, richer, and all-around totally delectable.

On its own, roasted cauliflower is something special, but when you make it “loaded” style with ranch dressing, crispy bacon, sharp cheddar cheese, and fresh green onions? WOW! You have a perfect side dish for everyone in the family.

A gold fork holds a bite of loaded roasted cauliflower in front of a dark background.

How do you make loaded roasted cauliflower?

The process for making this loaded cauliflower is similar to making any other roasted cauliflower recipe, with one major difference—the toppings! Here’s how you get these glorious florets:

  1. Fry up some bacon and reserve the grease.
  2. Drizzle the bacon grease, along with garlic powder and black pepper, onto cauliflower florets. Toss to coat.
  3. Roast in a 425°F oven for about 20 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender and golden brown.
  4. Top with sharp cheddar cheese and bake for another few minutes to melt the cheese.
  5. Drizzle ranch dressing on top, and then sprinkle on the cooked bacon and sliced green onions. Enjoy!

How do you cut cauliflower into florets for roasting?

Grab your head of cauliflower and first slice the whole head in half. Place one half of the cauliflower head cut-side-up on your cutting board, and then use a sharp knife to cut a “V” shape around the base of the stem to remove it. Repeat with the other half. Then break off the florets, cutting any large ones in half or quarters.

What’s the best ranch dressing to use for loaded cauliflower?

Whichever ranch dressing you like the best is going to be your best option for topping this roasted cauliflower—it can be store-bought or homemade. If you’re looking for a great homemade ranch recipe, try our Cashew Ranch Dressing (vegan, paleo), Coconut Milk Ranch Dressing (vegan, paleo, nut-free), or our Greek Yogurt Ranch Dressing.

What can you serve with roasted cauliflower?

This loaded roasted cauliflower is a super versatile side dish that will go along with all kinds of mains. Since the cauliflower is so packed with flavor, it’ll pair best with other bold flavors. Try it with:

A gold fork lays on a baking pan covered in loaded roasted cauliflower.

Can you make this roasted cauliflower in advance?

While you can prep all the toppings in advance, roasted cauliflower is best served fresh out of the oven, so wait to complete the roasting and topping until you’re ready to serve.

Can you freeze loaded cauliflower?

You can freeze cauliflower and it’s completely safe to eat. However, the texture tends to change once it’s had a trip through the deep freeze. Fresh roasted cauliflower is the way to go!

What other toppings can you put on loaded cauliflower?

While this classic bacon and ranch combo is delicious, don’t let them be the only toppings you try! Here are some of my favorite ideas:

  • Buffalo Blue Cheese Roasted Cauliflower: Drizzle your roasted cauliflower with your favorite wing sauce, ranch dressing, crumbled blue cheese, and diced fresh celery.
  • Pizza Roasted Cauliflower: Melt mozzarella and Parmesan on your cauliflower, and then season it with dried oregano, basil, and parsley. Top with your favorite marinara sauce.
  • Thai-Ginger Roasted Cauliflower: Drizzle with my Pad Thai sauce, and then top with chopped fresh cilantro, chopped peanuts, and a hefty squeeze of lime juice.

My protips for AWESOME roasted cauliflower:

  • Roast cauliflower (and all veggies) at a high oven temperature—we recommend 425°F here.
  • Don’t crowd the baking pan or the oven, or you’ll get steamed cauliflower instead of roasted. I’ve been known to just slightly prop open my oven door to release steam while roasting veggies.
  • Smaller florets roast faster and tend to get more caramelized edges. Feel free to cut your florets into halves or even quarters to get better results.
  • Short on time? Many supermarkets carry pre-cut cauliflower florets in the prepped veggie section. They’re more expensive, but they’ll save you a few minutes of cutting time later on.
  • The primary flavor you’ll taste here is ranch, so make sure to use a ranch dressing you really love! Our Greek yogurt ranch is a favorite of mine.

Looking for some other awesome cauliflower recipes? Here are some you might like:

 
Roasted cauliflower topped with bacon, cheese, green onions, and ranch.

Loaded Roasted Cauliflower

Yield: 4-6 side dish servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Tender, caramelized roasted cauliflower is loaded with tangy ranch, crisp bacon, fresh green onions, and sharp cheddar cheese for an addicting side dish!

Ingredients

  • 6 slices bacon, chopped
  • 2 heads of cauliflower, leaves removed, broken/cut into small florets
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1/3 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 4 green onions, sliced thinly
  • 1/3 cup ranch dressing (see notes)
  • Additional salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. In a medium skillet, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until crisp. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to cool, and set aside. Reserve 1/4 cup of bacon grease. 
  2. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the cauliflower, bacon grease, garlic powder, and black pepper. Toss to combine.
  4. Spread cauliflower on the prepared baking sheet, and then bake in preheated oven for 18-22 minutes, flipping once halfway through. The cauliflower should be tender and golden brown when ready.
  5. Sprinkle the cheddar cheese on top of the cauliflower, and bake an additional 2-3 minutes to melt the cheese.
  6. Remove from oven, and top the cauliflower with the crumbled bacon and green onions, and drizzle on the ranch dressing. Serve immediately.

Notes

  • If your bacon isn’t fatty enough to produce enough grease, supplement with a high-smoke point oil, like avocado oil or grapeseed oil.
  • Use whatever homemade or store-bought ranch dressing is your favorite. Our Greek yogurt ranch is a favorite of mine.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 287Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 35mgSodium: 533mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 5gSugar: 5gProtein: 11g

At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.

Cassie is the founder and CEO of Wholefully. She's a home cook and wellness junkie with a love of all things healthy living. She lives on a small hobby farm in Southern Indiana with her husband, daughter, two dogs, two cats, and 15 chickens.
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