You Heart What You Eat: Roasted Cauli-Power |

You Heart What You Eat: Roasted Cauli-Power

Cauliflower became a grilled side dish one day when Tera Johnson Swartz made the mistake of having dessert in the oven and all four burners out of commission. And now, it's one of her favorite side dishes.
Courtesy Photo

— Some folks only grill in the warmer seasons, but at our house, we’re all about minimal clean-up and maximum flavor, so we grill in about any weather condition.

Cauliflower became a grilled side dish one day when I made the mistake of having dessert in the oven and all four burners out of commission. Panicking in the same tone I remember my mother using, I said, “We need a vegetable!” I determined the grill would have to do.

It’s a good thing that happened, though, because since then, it’s been my favorite side dish to bring to dinner parties or serve to friends.

My kiddos are not big vegetable fans, so I knew I had to improvise with some sort of flavor enhancer, since I can’t bear to use dip sauces with each and every side or main dish. Though cheese would have certainly been my mother’s Midwestern recommendation, I often substitute entirely or partially complement parmesan with nutritional yeast.

And what exactly is nutritional yeast, you may ask? Well, it’s part of the fungi family, such as mushrooms, and while it doesn’t grow like baking yeast or have any leavening ability, it is grown on molasses and then harvested, washed and dried with heat to kill or “deactivate” it. With the technicalities of what it is set aside, what it can do and the health benefits are pretty remarkable.

It has a vegetarian source of vitamin B-12, often found in meats and poultry, in only two tablespoons, and it is higher in protein than one cup of whole milk, a large egg or one ounce of beef. It’s also high in fiber, 3 grams per tiny serving, gluten-free and a great source of folic acid.

Incidentally, nutritional yeast has become a frequent favorite in my cooking world, so you’ll see it a lot in recipes. The cauli-power dish should get you hooked pretty quickly. Give this quick-fix a try, and I’m pretty sure you’ll go buy it in bulk next time you’re at the store.

Roasted Cauli-Power

1 head of cauliflower (cut off green leaf and stem parts)

  • Olive oil
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic salt and pepper

  • 1 teaspoon diced chives

Turn on your grill to about medium- to medium-high flame. In the meantime, in a small bowl combine nutritional yeast, garlic, chives and enough oil to make a paste-like substance.

Tear a piece of aluminum foil large enough to completely cover the cauliflower head and place the cauliflower in the center while massaging the paste liberally in the all crevices, bumps and even stems.

Sprinkle salt and pepper on the top and wrap up snuggly with the aluminum foil. Place the wrapped cauliflower on the center of your grill, stem down and close the lid.

Periodically turn the package to different sides every 10 to 12 minutes until the package feels soft to the touch (30 to 40 minutes).

Remove from grill, unwrap and sprinkle lightly with fresh parmesan (if you like) and slice into steak-like slivers. Serve and enjoy!

You Heart What You Eat is a weekly blog offering a twist of healthy alternative tips and recipes for some of our most coveted comfort foods. From decadent desserts to main dish favorites, you’ll surely look forward to our next edition. Questions or suggestions you’d like included in one of our future blogs should be directed to Tera Johnson-Swartz via email at

Tera Johnson-Swartz is a mommy first but also enjoys working one of her many, many side gigs whether it be freelance writing, music, massage therapy, independent childbirth, lactation or health educating. She is eternally grateful she is able to follow her passion each and every day and loves her supporting husband and their two young children  and couldn’t imagine living a better life outside the city limits of Steamboat Springs.

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