Roasted Cauliflower and Garlic Dip

This month, we’re featuring our favorite appetizer recipes — tasty starters you can easily throw together to keep guests satisfied until dinner begins. First up, a creamy dip from Elizabeth of Brooklyn Supper

Roasted Cauliflower and Garlic Dip
by Elizabeth Stark of Brooklyn Supper

For years, my go-to appetizer was a rich caramelized onion dip. Nothing crazy; just onions, herbs and the thickest sour cream I could find. But as my menus became more elaborate, I started looking for less imposing (and caloric) ways to kick off a meal. I traded heavy and rich recipes for lighter, brighter concoctions – something delicious enough to stave off hunger while still playing a supporting role to a fantastic meal.

This cauliflower dip offers up just the right mix of hearty and healthful. Roasted cauliflower florets and toasted pepitas lend richness and texture, while hints of garlic, lemon and nutmeg keep things bright and lively. It all comes together in a flavorful dip that will have everyone asking for the recipe.

Roasted Cauliflower and Garlic Dip

Roasted Cauliflower and Garlic Dip

Recipe: Roasted Cauliflower and Garlic Dip

You’ll need:

4 cups 3/4-inch thick cauliflower florets
1 head garlic, root end trimmed and broken into cloves
4 tbsp plus 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
3 tbsp pepitas
2 tbsp minced flatleaf parsley
Sea salt
Ground cayenne pepper to taste
Flatbreads or crackers, for serving

Preheat oven to 425F.

In a medium-sized bowl, toss cauliflower florets and garlic cloves (still in their papery skin) with 1 tbsp olive oil. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with sea salt. Make sure garlic is tucked up against the cauliflower florets to protect it from the heat. Flipping halfway through, roast until cauliflower is tender and golden, about 20-25 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, set a small skillet over medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon olive oil, then the pepitas. Toast 2-3 minutes, just until the seeds become fragrant and a few start to pop. Toss with sea salt and set aside.

When cool enough to handle, squeeze roasted garlic out of the papery skins.

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse to combine roasted cauliflower and garlic, 2 tablespoons toasted pepitas, lemon juice, nutmeg and cayenne pepper to taste. With food processor running, drizzle in 3 tablespoons olive oil (for a creamier dip, add up to 2 more tablespoons olive oil). Taste and add additional sea salt, cayenne and lemon juice as needed.

Spoon dip into a wide bowl, drizzle with remaining teaspoon olive oil, minced parsley and remaining toasted pepitas. Serve with warm flatbread triangles or crackers.

Roasted Cauliflower and Garlic Dip

Thank you so much, Elizabeth!

P.S. More recipes, including readers’ 12 favorite recipes of all time.

(Recipe and photos by Elizabeth Stark. Thanks to Stella Blackmon for helping with this series.)