Whole Cauliflower Braised in Tomato Sauce

By Jess

4 from 1 ratings

Cauliflower often gets a bad reputation as a “boring” vegetable, but don’t be fooled: It can make a showstopping entree when it's cooked the right way.

braised cauliflower

This is the most delicious cauliflower recipe you will ever have! It is simple to make, hearty and your family and friends will love it. You need to try this!

I created this recipe to bring out the best in this everyday veggie. Simmering a whole head of cauliflower in this authentic Italian tomato sauce couldn’t be easier—it only takes about 5 minutes of prep time—and makes a flavorful, gluten-free and Paleo-friendly dinner.

braised cauliflower ingredients
coring the cauliflower

Who doesn’t love a one-pot meal? Tossing cauliflower into a rich, full-bodied tomato sauce with briny kalamata olives and salty anchovies couldn’t be simpler. Adding a splash of red-wine vinegar and olive oil enhances the Italian flavors. Serve it up with a side of some sautéed greens or a simple salad, and you’ve got a complete, gourmet meal!


I love this recipe because it’s so incredibly easy, but the the finished dish looks pretty impressive—especially when you serve it from a big, beautiful pot and sprinkle it with fresh parsley. It’s pretty enough to serve for guests, but it’s so fast to put together that it’s also perfect for a weeknight meal.

This is the most delicious cauliflower recipe you will ever have! It is simple to make, hearty and your family and friends will love it. You need to try this!

An added bonus? This is one homecooked dinner that won’t break the bank. You probably already have most of the ingredients in your pantry, and a head of cauliflower won’t cost you more than a few dollars at the farmer’s market.

And this tasty, inexpensive meal is incredibly nutritious. Cauliflower is a good source of vitamin C, and also contains lots of essential nutrients like iron, folate, and manganese. Protein and fiber? Yep, it’s got those too.

Ready to try your new favorite veggie-centric meal? All you need is a few minutes to prep, some pantry essentials, and a hungry family. Here’s to good eating!

Photo credit: Paul Delmont


    • 1 head cauliflower, large outside leaves removed
    • 1 25-ounce jar tomato sauce
    • 1/4 cup chopped parsley stalks
    • 1 teaspoon chili powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
    • 1 tablespoon onion powder
    • Freshly ground pepper
    • 4 anchovy filets, drained and chopped
    • 1 handful pitted kalamata olives
    • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • Chopped flat-leaf parsley, to garnish


  1. Place whole head of cauliflower in a large pot. It should fit comfortably, with 1 to 2 inches of room left on all sides.
  2. Pour in tomato sauce, then add parsley stalks, chili powder, smoked paprika, onion powder, and freshly ground pepper. Bring to sauce to a simmer over medium heat.
  3. Stir in anchovies, olives, and red-wine vinegar, then bring to a low boil.
  4. Gently push whole head of cauliflower down into the sauce. (Sauce should come halfway up the sides of the cauliflower). Drizzle with olive oil and cover.
  5. Let cook over low heat for 45 minutes. To serve, garnish with chopped parsley.


Serving Size





Total Time

60 minutes

Prep Time

5 minutes

Cook Time

45 minutes

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Ask a Question 

  1. Hi Jess, how do you serve this – do you cut the cauliflower into wedges? Do you think this would be as good if you chopped the cauliflower into bite-sized pieces first?

  2. I made this tonight. The cauliflower breaks apart when it is cooked so no need to cut it up ahead of time. I sat the whole head of cauliflower on the sauce in the pot and let it cook until it was tender. It was delicious.

  3. I can’t wait to try the cauliflower, I have tried so many way’s to make it tasty, but this looks so good, Thanks.

  4. Sounds good and I will try it but with fresh onions – why would anyone use onion powder? I know some people who use garlic powder or bottles of mushy ginger. I just don’t get it!

    • In low carb recipes they do it because of carbs and sugar. I can only hope that’s why they’re using it here. I just can’t bring myself to use it.

  5. I made this for my family tonight & got a massive thumbs up & requests to make it again. I didn’t have onion powder, so cooked up onion and celery before adding sauce etc. Then added diced mushrooms with the olives. It was devine. Thank you so much

  6. LOVE cauliflower AND tomato sauce! Sounds great! Wondering if I could do this in the crock pot? Maybe 3-4 hours on low? Thoughts? Thanks!

  7. Made this tonight & it was great! I’m giving 4 stars instead of 5 because this would have been much too light of a meal without the meat I added (1 lb of browned chorizo sausage links to cook in the tomato sauce). I’m not paleo, so I substituted 1 small onion for the onion powder and added a few cloves of garlic, sliced. This was really nice served with a scoop of couscous and a squeeze of lemon. The smoked paprika is very nice. Was very easy to make with a decent payoff, will make this again.

    Rating: 4

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