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Cauliflower with Garlic and Lemon

I love this Cauliflower with Garlic and Lemon for a quick side dish that’s low-carb, Keto, low-glycemic, dairy-free, gluten-free, Paleo, Whole 30, and vegan! Use the Diet-Type Index to find more recipes like this one.

Click here to PIN Cauliflower with Garlic and Lemon!

Cauliflower with Garlic and Lemon found on KalynsKitchen.com

Have you heard that cauliflower is the new trendy vegetable for 2014?  I don’t know who decides these things, but personally I’m kind of excited to see a versatile and low-carb vegetable like cauliflower getting the spotlight!  My love for cauliflower recipes is well documented in the recipe archives, but there are quite a few of my early cauliflower recipes that can really use a photo update, like this Cauliflower with Garlic and Lemon that I posted in 2006 when I was infatuated with Mark Bittman’s wonderful book The Best Recipes in the World.

In this recipe with Tuscan origins, the cauliflower is briefly simmered, then sauteed in a generous amount of olive oil that’s been seasoned with garlic and finished with both lemon zest and lemon juice.  Cauliflower with Garlic and Lemon is a pretty garlic-flavored dish, which was fine with me. But if you’re not sure how much you like garlic, or if you’re planning a romantic evening, you might want to reduce the amount of garlic.

Cauliflower with Garlic and Lemon found on KalynsKitchen.com

Trim away the stem and leaves from a large head of cauliflower and cut into small bite-sized flowerets. Cook the cauliflower 4-5 minutes in a pot of boiling salted water. While cauliflower cooks, zest and juice the lemon and minced the garlic (or use minced garlic from a jar like I did.)  If you don’t have a Lemon Zester like the one in this photo, use the finest grater you have. (Be sure to zest the lemon first and then squeeze the juice.)

When the cauliflower is barely starting to get tender, drain it well, rinse with very cold water to stop the cooking process, and drain again. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.  When it’s hot add the garlic and saute 1-2 minutes, being careful not to let it get too brown. Then add the cauliflower and spread out into a single layer.  Let it cook without turning until the cauliflower starts getting browned. (I turned over a piece to check.)

Turn the cauliflower and continue to cook until it’s cooked through and nicely browned on the edges. Add the lemon zest and cook a couple minutes more.  Then add the lemon juice (and more olive oil if desired) and turn off heat.  Season with salt and fresh ground pepper and serve hot or at room temperature.

This would make a great low-carb meal with Almond and Parmesan Baked Fish.

More Cauliflower to Enjoy:

Cauliflower Gratin with Sharp Cheddar and Parmesan ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Spicy Whole Roasted Cauliflower ~ Sweetnicks
Pureed Cauliflower with Garlic, Parmesan, and Goat Cheese ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Saffron Roasted Cauliflower ~ Chocolate and Zucchini
Cauliflower-Crust Vegetarian Pizza with Mushrooms and Olives ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen

Cauliflower with Garlic and Lemon

This Cauliflower with Garlic and Lemon is a quick and easy side dish.


  • 1 large head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into bite-sized flowerets
  • salt for cauliflower cooking water, about 1 tsp.
  • 3-4 T extra virgin olive oil (I thought 3 tablespoons of oil was enough for this, but in Italy they would add more oil right before serving.)
  • 1 T minced garlic (or less if you’re not that fond of garlic)
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • salt and coarse ground pepper to taste


  1. Fill medium sized pot with water, add salt, and bring to a boil.
  2. Add cut-up cauliflower and cook 4-5 minutes, until barely tender-crisp.
  3. Drain well and rinse with very cold water, then drain again.
  4. In very large frying pan, heat 3 T olive oil over medium heat.
  5. Add garlic and saute 1-2 minutes, until barely starting to get some color. (Be careful not to burn it.)
  6. Turn heat to high and add cauliflower.
  7. Let the cauliflower cook without turning until it’s getting nicely browned on one side (I lifted up a piece to check the color).
  8. Turn cauliflower and continue to saute, turning as little as possible, until cauliflower is starting to get well browned on all sides.
  9. When cauliflower is well-browned, add lemon zest and cook about 2 minutes more.
  10. Add remaining tablespoon olive oil (if using) and lemon juice, stir and turn off heat.
  11. Season with salt and fresh-ground black pepper  as desired.
  12. Serve hot or at room temperature.


This recipe adapted slightly from The Best Recipes in the World.

All images and text ©

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Cauliflower with Garlic and Lemon would be approved for all phases of the South Beach Diet and it’s also low-carb, Keto, Paleo, Whole 30, and vegan.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Nutritional Information?
If you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you. Or if you’re a member of Yummly, you can use the Yum button on my site to save the recipe and see the nutritional information there.

auliflower with Garlic and Lemon found on KalynsKitchen.com

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34 comments on “Cauliflower with Garlic and Lemon”

  1. Amy, you are too kind! And so glad I got you to appreciate cauliflower more with this recipe.

  2. I like but don't love cauliflower, so I thought I'd give it a try. Fantastic! My whole family loved it and there isn't a single bite left. I think next time I will use even more garlic and will probably try with broccoli, too. Kalyn, you're becoming not only my favorite blogger but my whole family's favorite!

  3. You could do that, but I'd be very careful not to overcook and to drain well.

  4. how about steaming the cauliflower and then doing the rest of your recipe?

  5. Alyssa, hope you enjoy!

  6. I also love cauliflower and never get sick of it. Pinning this to make!

  7. Becca, I think that's a brilliant idea!

  8. Sounds like this might also be delish with broccoli, greens or maybe even asparagus? Yum!

  9. Joanne, hope you enjoy; we absolutely loved it!

  10. I love this simple preparation! I have a head of cauli in the fridge and am so excited to turn it into this side dish!

  11. Lydia, I don't know if you'd love this, but I'm betting you'd like it more than many cauliflower recipes. It's loaded with garlic and lemon flavor!

  12. Maybe a whole lot of garlic is just the thing to get me to like cauliflower. I've tried. I really have. But I just haven't found a way to love it yet.

  13. Debra, I’m not recommending either method. This was a recipe from Mark Bittman, so I just followed how he wrote the recipe. Steaming is definitely fine, if you prefer that method.

  14. I’ve noticed that many of your cauliflower recipes call for boiling the cauliflower (briefly) in a large quantity of water. I prefer to steam my cauliflower in a small amount of water to preserve as many vitamins as posssible. Is there any particular reason why you recommend boiling over steaming?

  15. Wow, thanks for the feedback, jcsjcs. Always nice to hear that people like the recipes.

  16. Thank you for yet another fabulous recipe. I only stumbled upon your blog 1 week ago and I’ve already tried 4 recipes. So far you’re 4 for 4!

  17. Kalyn,

    I had this for my side dish last night and it was so yummy. Even my dad liked it.


  18. Looks delicious Kalyn. My Hubby says that if both people eat garlic it cancels out the smell, but I’m not sure if I believe him…

  19. Reading food blogs all day? Moi?

    Don’t let on!

  20. This looks and sounds lovely!

  21. Hey, thanks everyone for all the nice comments about this cauliflower dish. (You guys are all obviously reading food blogs all day while I’m busy teaching school. I’m jealous.)

  22. MmmMmMm, cauliflower. I been on a cauliflower jag for a few weeks now. Roasted, toasted, braised and sauteed. Did you catch my entry from the 30th? With the troll? We’re just finishing it up and it’s GREAT cold.
    I have found though, that we need 2 heads worth. I’ll eat an entire one myself, along with a roast or soup.
    Also been going heavy on the quark cheese as a topping, oh yeah. BRING IT ON !!!

    So says I,


  23. Wonderful! I can already tell this will make a great start to my first brush with cooking in olive oil (yes, never cooked in olive oil before, :P). It looks and sounds super yum. Thanks for sharing!

  24. This sounds delicious and would make a nice addition to my already expanding cauliflower dishes repertoire! Thanks for sharing!

  25. Kalyn,

    This sounds delicious. I will try it – I’ve never done caulifower with lemon zest. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  26. Hi Kalyn,

    I have gotten in early for the weekend herb blogging. I have jsut posted to my blog about shiso.

  27. That sounds delicious. I took the recipe and try it.

  28. Wow, Kalyn, as usual, it’s a great picture ,the cauliflower florets looks so yummmmy!I would love to make the same way..Thanks !

  29. Sounds wonderful, I love cauliflower.

  30. That looks utterly delicious. Wow, I never thought to put garlic with cauliflower (which is kind of surprising since I put garlic in practically everything). But thanks for the simple tasty recipe.

  31. i love cauliflower, i will definitely make this.

  32. I enjoy Ilva and Bittman’s recipes! Also like cauliflower! Thanks for this recipe!


  33. I think I better try this one! I love cauliflower AND lemon! Thanks Kalyn! Nic pic!

  34. Mmmm! I have a head of cauliflower at home awaiting consumption…I think I’ll try this one. Sounds really good.

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