Easy Cilantro Lime Roasted Cauliflower with Cheese is a delicious way to brighten up this vegetable! We’re marinating cauliflower in bold Mexican flavors of citrus, garlic, cilantro, and cumin, then smothering it in melted cheese and creamy avocado!

For more ways to use the flavor combination of cilantro and lime, try cilantro lime cauliflower rice, cilantro lime chicken, and chili lime chicken.

Cauliflower in baking dish with cilantro avocado and cheese with fresh lime.

I have posted numerous cauliflower recipes including roasted cauliflower with Parmesan cheese and cauliflower pizza crust (cauliflower breadsticks, too!), so you’d never guess I used to hate it, right? Well, I don’t know what I was thinking, it is not only a versatile and super tasty vegetable, it’s budget-friendly!

Baked cauliflower and lime recipe is spectacular! I love it as a light lunch or for healthy dinner sides, but it’s also cheesy and full of protein and good fat which makes it a delicious vegetarian main.

It’s made with cauliflower florets marinated in lime juice, cumin, garlic, salt, and pepper and then sprinkled with cheese and baked until warm, bubbly, and golden. Then, we dice avocado and serve it on top for a creamy finish.

This is crazy delicious, whether you’re a cauliflower lover or not, cilantro lime roasted cauliflower is going to become your new favorite way to enjoy it!

Cilantro lime cauliflower with avocado in casserole dish; half eaten with spoon.

Recipe Ingredients

  • Cauliflower florets
  • Lime juice
  • Crushed garlic cloves
  • Fresh cilantro, divided
  • Cumin
  • Salt & pepper
  • Freshly grated cheese
  • Diced avocado, optional

Ingredient Notes

  • Cheese: When I do eat cheese, I prefer full fat dairy. I do try and limit my overall consumption, but sometimes it elevates a dish! I used 1 cup of Colby Jack cheese but use what you have. Cheddar, Tex Mex, or Mozzarella are great, too.
  • Fresh lime juice: Always from the lime itself, never a bottle! It tastes much better.
  • Fresh cilantro: I love cilantro, but we know by now that there is a genetic component to people who find it tastes like soap! If that’s you, use parsley or chives instead.
  • Avocado: It’s optional but it adds a cool, creamy addition just like with spaghetti squash breakfast. Pick an avocado that’s as ripe as you want it then check out my tips on how to cut an avocado.
Two heads of cauliflower.

How to Make Cilantro Lime Roasted Cauliflower

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. You need high heat to roast veggies! Chop the cauliflower into bite sized pieces. Super small or regular florets, it’s up to you. Cut the head in half, cut out the core, then chop the rest up!

2. In a large mixing bowl, toss the cauliflower with the garlic, cumin, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper. Let it stand for 5 – 10 minutes.

Let’s try this! Make more than you need and let the cauliflower marinate in this brine overnight. Save some and eat it right out of the bowl. No cooking is required. Yum!

Squeezing lime into bowl of cauliflower and spices. Spreading into casserole dish.

3. Transfer cauliflower into a glass or ceramic oven-proof baking dish. Both 8 x 11 or 9 x 13 inches will work. Heck, use a pie dish if you must, just level the cauliflower in a single layer.

See those bits of cauliflower, garlic, and cilantro left on the walls of the mixing bowl? Save them and sprinkle them on top of the cilantro lime cauliflower along with the cheese. So much extra flavor!

Mixing bowl with bits of cilantro and cauliflower on edges. Measuring cup filled with cheese.

4. After the cauliflower is cooked for about 15 minutes. It should still be nice and crunchy. Take it out, top it with the cilantro and garlic bits and pieces. Sprinkle cheese on top and melt the entire dish under the broiler.

Don’t overcook it! Keep an eye out because there is nothing worse than dry mushy veggies. And yes, believe it or not, this can happen at the same time!

5. Take the dish out of the oven, top everything with diced avocados and fresh cilantro. Voila. A delicious vegetable side dish with all your favorite Latin flavors – lime, cilantro, cumin, and garlic.

Pair it with this Mexican bean salad or Tex Mex chicken and zucchini the next time you’re having southwest themed night!

Serving Recommendations

Let’s talk real life for a second. In an ongoing effort to stay healthy and active, I drink my fair share of green smoothie but come on, I can’t give up all life’s pleasures!

My kids adore cheesy food, especially if it hides the veggies like this delicious baked mac and cheese with cauliflower or cheesy cauliflower rice. So, it would be too hard to give it up!

We often enjoy this dish with grilled chicken chimichurri and quinoa. It would taste great with shrimp tostadas, too. So delish!

Closeup of cilantro lime cauliflower on wooden spoon.

Tips for Best Results

  • Marinate for as little as 5 minutes to as long as overnight. The garlic and citrus will impart amazing flavor, so good you’ll want to eat it by the bowl full.
  • Even sized pieces are important for even cooking. Otherwise, you’ll end up with some overcooked, and some undercooked pieces.
  • Smaller pieces will cook faster, so keep watch for that.
  • More intense flavors. When garlic and cilantro bake, they lose the intensity of their flavors. You want to taste that fresh garlic and cilantro here, so adding the extra reserved from the sides of the bowl is a must!

Switch up the seasoning! Cauliflower is quite mild and can take on the flavors of so many herbs and spices. Chipotle and lime, or chili and lime both make delicious pairings. Try either one!

Close up of cauliflower with cilantro cheese and avocado.

Recipe FAQs

Can I make this recipe ahead of time?

The entire dish is best served right away, but there are a few parts you can prepare ahead of time. Wash and chop the cauliflower. Keep the florets in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 2 days before using them.

You can also combine the marinade and keep it in the glass jar. Then combine the two just before baking. Or combine the two and let it sit overnight to marinate. Then bake!

How do I store roasted cauliflower leftovers?

Keep any leftovers of cilantro lime roasted cauliflower in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Keep in mind, it will be soggy and probably not as cheesy. You can sprinkle a little extra cheese on top before reheating it. Or, enjoy it cold like a salad. Sounds weird, but it’s good!

Can I freeze this cauliflower recipe?


You bet you can! For up to 6 months. Of course, it’ll be soggy once thawed, but a quick reheat in the oven or air fryer will help them crisp up a bit.

Can I make this without cheese?

You can make cilantro lime roasted cauliflower paleo friendly and dairy free without the cheese. If you still want a creamy finish without melted cheese, drizzle a bit of this avocado cilantro dressing overtop instead!

Cauliflower with fresh cilantro and avocado served on white plate.

More Cauliflower Recipes to Try

Cilantro lime cauliflower in a baking dish topped with avocado.

Easy Cilantro Lime Roasted Cauliflower with Cheese

Easy Cilantro Lime Roasted Cauliflower with Cheese is a delicious way to brighten up this vegetable! We're marinating cauliflower in bold Mexican flavors of citrus, garlic, cilantro, and cumin, then smothering it in melted cheese and creamy avocado!
4.88 from 8 votes
Servings 5 servings
Calories 162
Prep Time 12 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 27 minutes

Ingredients 
 

  • 1 large cauliflower head chopped into bite size pieces
  • 1 lime juice of
  • 4 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1/2 cup cilantro finely chopped + more for garnish
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup Tex Mex/Colby Jack/Mozzarella cheese shredded
  • 1/2 avocado diced (optional)

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, add cauliflower, lime juice, garlic, cilantro, cumin, salt and pepper. Mix to combine and let stand for 5 – 10 minutes. You can also let it marinate overnight and proceed to Step 2 the next day.
  • Transfer cauliflower into baking dish (I used 8 x 11"), reserving the garlic and cilantro on the sides of the bowl. Bake for 15 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and top with reserved garlic and cilantro, and cheese. Broil until cheese is melted. Top with additional fresh cilantro and avocado. Serve hot immediately.

Notes

  • Store: Refrigerate covered for up to 1 day.
  • Marinate for as little as 5 minutes to as long as overnight. The garlic and citrus will impart amazing flavor, so good you’ll want to eat it by the bowl full.
  • Even sized pieces are important for even cooking. Otherwise, you’ll end up with some overcooked, and some undercooked pieces.

Nutrition

Calories: 162kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 24mg | Sodium: 295mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 3g
Course: Casserole
Cuisine: American
Author: Olena Osipov
Did you make this recipe?Mention @ifoodreal or tag #ifoodreal!

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About Olena

Welcome! I grew up in Ukraine watching my grandma cook with simple ingredients. I have spent the last 11 years making it my mission to help you cook quick and easy meals for your family!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This was wonderful! I admit I was leary…it seemed like it would need a sauce or something. We made it as a main vegetarian dish, and added Quorn “chicken” nuggets. Husband, teen and I loved it! We were all not sure about trying it, but so glad to have done so. Preteen liked it but not as a main, more of a side. It’s a win! Thank you.

  2. 5 stars
    This was DELICIOUS, I am so happy I stumbled across this recipe. The combination of flavors was awesome, the only thing I did differently was add more cheese. I had to stop myself from eating the entire thing, lol.

  3. 5 stars
    I tried this recipe, didn’t have much cumin or avocado on hand, and still came out so yummy. Couldn’t stop eating it. Thanks!

    1. No worries.:) Glad she shared it with you. I hate making typos too. I notice I become more careless because of excessive texting and because I don’t write as often as I used to. Sometimes I feel I made a mistake, especially with punctuation, but honestly don’t know where or how to fix it. I used to be much better at university and while working at the office but like with any language you forget it if not using often. I wish grammar was my biggest issue in life LOL. Enjoy your cauliflower! It is very good for you vegetable. Raw – even better!

  4. 5 stars
    My daughter shared this recipe with me and I just make it about an hour ago. I’ve never been a fan of cooked cauliflower, the this dish is delicious! The crunchy cauliflower with the combination of lime, cilantro, cumin, and avocado flavors is awesome!

  5. 5 stars
    This is delicious! The only thing I did differently was put black beans in it to make it as a main dish because my family is vegetarian.

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