Sauteed Cauliflower

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Sauteed Cauliflower with garlic, lemon, parsley, and Parmesan cheese is ready in less than 15 minutes for a star side dish that tastes amazing.

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When you need a quick and easy side dish, Sauteed Cauliflower should be at the top of the list. The cauliflower gets slightly browned and crisp while it sautes and then it is paired with fresh garlic, lemon juice, Parmesan cheese, and parsley. Yum. 

The other day I was at the grocery store and I saw a bin in the middle of the produce. You know, one of those ones that usually holds watermelon or cantaloupe or some other big melon that wouldn't be able to fit in the normal veggie and fruit bins?

I got a little closer to see what was inside and it was these giant heads of cauliflower — leaves and all. And, I don't know why but I got so excited. Like what makes this different from the cauliflower I always buy?

I guess it's kind of just in the presentation. Plus, knowing it was in season and the heads were huge and the leaves still on told me it was fresh — I just had to buy one. Okay, three. So now I'm all about everything cauliflower, starting with this recipe for Sauteed Cauliflower!

Also, these cauliflower happened to come in all different colors - traditional white, purple, and a beautiful golden cauliflower - but this recipe works great with regular white cauliflower if you can't find the colored variations. However, if you can find them, it makes a beautiful side dish for a holiday or special occasion. 

So easy, you only need 6 easy-to-find ingredients (if you don't count salt and pepper, which I don't). While this makes a great side, I like to eat it all by itself as well.

Ingredients for Sauteed Cauliflower including caulfilower florets, olive oil, minced garlic, parsley, lemon, and Parmesan cheese.

How do you make Sauteed Cauliflower?

First, I cut the cauliflower into florets (more on that process below).

Next, heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, then add in the florets and toss to coat with the oil, then season as you like with salt and pepper.

Cook and stir the cauliflower for about 10-12 minutes, or until it is fork-tender. During this time, flip and stir the cauliflower as it browns. If the cauliflower begins to burn at all, turn down the heat. You can also add 1-2 tbsp of water if needed, if the pan gets too dry.

Finally, add the garlic and cook for another minute, or until fragrant. Remove from heat and add fresh lemon juice, parsley, and Parmesan cheese. Toss and serve.

Should you wash cauliflower before cooking?

I do wash the cauliflower before cooking. It usually has some dirt on it and maybe some grit, a bug or two...who knows, just rinse it off to be on the safe side.

I rinse it after I've cut it into pieces in a colander. Then, you can pat it dry if you like or just give it a couple shakes in the colander to get off excess water.

How do you cut and core cauliflower?

Cutting and coring cauliflower is really very easy!

  1. Take off the outer leaves.
  2. Cut the entire head into quarters, stems and all.
  3. Take the stem off each quarter by cutting it off at an angle. Discard stems.
  4. Break apart the florets with your fingers or use a knife if you prefer.

What are the benefits of eating cauliflower?

Cauliflower is a healthy member of the cabbage family. Full of fiber so it keeps you feeling fuller, longer, low in calories, and with zero fat, it's a great vegetable to include in your diet if you're looking to lose weight or eat more healthfully.

Cauliflower contains vitamins C, K, and B6, folate, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, and manganese. In addition, it is full of antioxidants, and has anti-inflammatory properties.

Add to that easy, healthy ingredients like garlic, lemon juice, and parsley, and you have yourself one healthy, delicious dish!

Main dishes to serve with Sauteed Cauliflower

Is cauliflower Keto-friendly?

Yes, cauliflower, like broccoli, is a great vegetable to eat if you are on the Keto or another low-carb diet.

Eat it riced or mashed for other ways to sneak in low-carb, high-nutrient vegetables into your diet instead of rice or potatoes.

Cauliflower that is sauteed with garlic and olive oil on a plate with fresh parsley, lemon, and Parmesan cheese.

More Cauliflower Recipes

The Recipe
Sauteed cauliflower with white, purple, and golden cauliflower florets with parmesan cheese and parsley.

Sauteed Cauliflower

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  • 4 cups cauliflower florets
  • 1.5 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese

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Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat.


Add the cauliflower to the pan. Ttoss to coat with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. For about 10-12 minutes, cook and stir the cauliflower until it is fork-tender, but not mushy. Make sure to stir the cauliflower as it browns. If the cauliflower begins to burn at all, turn down the heat. You can also add 1-2 tbsp of water if needed to help the cauliflower cook without burning.


Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute until fragrant. Make sure not to let it brown too much or if will become butter. Remove from heat and add fresh lemon juice, parsley, and Parmesan cheese.

Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 1 cup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 93
Calories from Fat 57
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 6g
Saturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 3mg
Sodium 91mg
Total Carbohydrate 7g
Dietary Fiber 3g
Sugars 2g
Protein 4g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
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