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Roasted Cauliflower with Spinach Olives Capers & Anchovies

By November 10, 2018October 30th, 2020Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Paleo, side dishes, Vegetables

As we get closer to Thanksgiving I’m getting really excited. I love a holiday dedicated to food, what could be better? One of my favorite parts of the meal are the vegetable side dishes.  I find them even more exciting than the main attraction. Click here for last years vegetable side dish roundup.

In this dish the sweetness of roasted cauliflower is transformed into a sublime vegetable with a classic mixture of olives, capers and here’s the special ingredient… protein packed, omega-3 rich anchovies. Spinach is added at the end giving it a fresh lively taste and beautiful green color.

It’s a simple make ahead dish. You can prepare it early in the day and leave it in the refrigerator for several hours ahead of baking.

Oh no, you say, “Hold the anchovies!”  You’ve probably had them served to you on a caesar salad or pizza and pushed them off to the side because the taste was fishy and strong.  But I’m telling you when they’re chopped and added to a sauce the taste transforms.  Cooking anchovies further mellows the flavor creating a deep rich umami taste.

In this Roasted Cauliflower with Spinach, Olives, Capers and Anchovies nobody will notice the anchovies.  They’ll simply enjoy the salty, tangy, well balanced flavors that liven up the mild personality of the cauliflower.

The complex flavor of anchovies provides a thrilling, transformative power over almost any savory dish. This tiny fish is deliciously healthy and versatile to cook and enjoy. Read below a few good reasons to consider adding anchovies into your diet.

Cauliflower is like a blank canvas easily transformed.  It’s nature is to absorb flavors. It does that beautifully here.

Roasting the cauliflower on high heat brings out its natural sweetness and enhances the savory, salty taste of the olives, capers and anchovies.

I cut the cauliflower into quarters, remove the tough core and then cut each quarter into 1/2 inch slices.  Cut up the bigger pieces.  You wind up with irregular pieces that mix nicely with the sauce.

For the sauce I mixed together a robust dressing of olives, capers, anchovies, lemon and olive oil. The cauliflower is tossed with the sauce until well coated, then transferred to a baking dish, and popped into the oven. (or held in the refrigerator to bake later).

The 20 minutes of roasting enhances the flavors of the sauce and sweetens the cauliflower as it browns. Spinach is added at the end and cooked for just a minute until wilted. The soft, tender and mild-flavored leaves provide a fresh contrast to the hearty cauliflower.

I’m always looking for nutrient dense, sustainable food especially protein and omega 3 fats.

Anchovies may be tiny, but they are powerful, full of protein, heart-healthy fats, and important vitamins and minerals in each serving.

Anchovies have a multitude of health benefits from nourishing your skin to maintaining your eyesight. They are a good source of vitamin B3, help prevent iron deficiency, and improve digestion.

They are rich in macronutrients like phosphorus and calcium that strengthen your bones, especially important as we get older.

Anchovies have some of the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids of all fish and seafood. Omega-3’s keep inflammation down, support our heart and nourish our brain. We must get this nutrient from our food since our body doesn’t make it.

Anchovies are among the most abundant fish in the ocean. Their small size and short life span means they contain fewer amounts of environmental toxins and are safer to eat than large fish.

Most anchovies are caught in the wild and are considered one of the most sustainable species of fish, allowing you to take advantage of their many health benefits without worrying about the dangers of farmed fish.

Buy wild caught sustainable anchovies, packed in olive oil.

I hope you give this Roasted Cauliflower with Spinach Olives, Capers and Anchovies a try. It can be served warm or at room temperature and is a nice addition to a buffet table.

It’s interesting and beautiful enough to serve as side dish for any holiday or special occasion meal. We found it pairs incredibly well with Turkey and Roasted Sweet Potatoes.

And after Thanksgiving is over it’s an easy, nutrient rich, seriously delicious everyday dish too!

Would you like to have more delicious recipes that support your health and happiness sent to you each week? CLICK TO SIGN UP for my weekly email newsletter of recipes and tips for you to eat well and enjoy your wonderful life.

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Roasted Cauliflower with Spinach Olives Capers and Anchovies

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  • Author: Ingrid DeHart -
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


Roasted cauliflower is transformed into a sublime vegetable with a classic mixture of olives, capers and anchovies. Spinach is added at the end giving it a fresh lively taste and beautiful green color. A simple make ahead dish.


  • 1 medium cauliflower about 1 ½ pounds
  • Celtic sea salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 24 anchovy fillets packed in olive oil, rinsed, patted dry and finely chopped
  • ½ cup roughly chopped black olives (get ones that taste really good)
  • 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed, patted dry and coarsely chopped
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • black pepper
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 ½ cups baby spinach, cut into bite size pieces
  • ¼ cup pine nuts, roasted


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees (unless you’re cooking it later).
  2. Put a large pot of water on the stove to boil.
  3. In the meantime, cut the cauliflower into quarters. Cut off the tough core at the stem end of each piece.  Cut the quarters into 1/2 thick slices. You’ll get a bunch of rough pieces.  Cut large slices into several pieces so all the cauliflower is about the same size. There may be some cauliflower crumbs, that’s ok, cook all of it.
  4. Add salt to the boiling water, add chopped cauliflower. Turn on your timer immediately, cook for 2 minutes and drain. Spread on a baking sheet.
  5. In a large bowl, put garlic, anchovy, olives, capers, olive oil, lemon juice and lemon zest.
  6. Whisk together with a fork and taste. Adjust salt and lemon juice if necessary.
  7. Add blanched cauliflower to the bowl. Season with black pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes.
  8. Toss with your hands to coat cauliflower evenly with dressing.
  9. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet or shallow baking pan. (recipe can me made up until this point and kept in the refrigerator for a few hours).
  10. Bake cauliflower uncovered for 20 minutes until top is beginning to brown.
  11. While the cauliflower is cooking, put the pine nuts into a small roasting pan or oven proof sauté pan. Roast for 5 minutes, stirring a few times until lightly brown. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  12. Once the cauliflower is done, add the spinach and mix to combine.
  13. Return to the oven and let cook for 1 minute, until spinach is wilted.
  14. Sprinkle with pine nuts, serve warm or at room temperature,


You can adjust the pungency by adding or subtracting anchovies.

  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Category: Vegetables, Side Dish
  • Cuisine: Paleo, Dairy Free, Gluten Free





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