Cauliflower with crispy edges and a bright, savory Italian inspired flavor profile! This cauliflower stir fry is easy to make in your home kitchen and makes the perfect side dish. Dust with Parmesan and flat-leaf parsley for a plate that looks as good as it tastes! It’s ready in 16 minutes from start to finish.
An Italian Influenced Cauliflower Stir Fry
When I think of stir fry cauliflower, my mind immediately goes to Asian stir fries – loaded with soy sauce, chili and sesame oil. However, for this recipe, I wanted to step outside the usual and create something with the bright and savory taste of the Mediterranean.
This Italian inspired cauliflower recipe has pan fried florets that are tender-crisp, in a vivid, tangy garlic sauce – dusted with Parmesan and finished with chopped parsley. It’s delicious!
Cauliflower Stir Fry Ingredients
Scroll all the way down for the full recipe.
- Cauliflower: For this recipe, you’ll want to slice your cauliflower into bite sized florets.
- Olive Oil: Use the good stuff. First press extra virgin olive oil is what you’ll want. Trust me, you’ll taste the difference.
- Garlic: Two cloves, finely minced, will have you sitting pretty. You’ll cook the garlic in the olive oil at the start of the recipe, which in turn perfumes the entire dish.
- Lemon Juice: This is the brightness factor that elevates the flavor – and provides a nice contrast to the more savory ingredients in this Mediterranean stir fry. Two tablespoons is all you’ll need.
- Kosher Salt: Chefs around the world rely on kosher salt in their restaurant kitchens and at home. The large, coarse salt grains enhance the flavor of foods without making them taste merely salty like with iodized table salt. Also, when you use a pinch of salt in a recipe, those larger crystals mean there is less actual salt added than with an equal sized pinch of the smaller grains. Therefore it’s harder to oversalt a dish with kosher salt. Grab kosher salt here on Amazon.
- Parsley: Use flat leaf parsley. I find the flavor more robust, fresh and verdant than Italian parsley’s curly leaves often used as a toss-away garnish at restaurants.
- Parmesan Cheese: A dusting of Parmesan is the finishing touch that delivers umami and depth to this easy vegetable recipe. If you’re making a vegan cauliflower stir fry, omit the Parmesan. Vegans might opt for a light dusting of nutritional yeast for a similar flavor.
How to Make Cauliflower Stir Fry
- Gather all of your kitchen tools and ingredients.
- Place your chopped cauliflower into a microwave safe container and cover with a lid. Microwave on high for 90 seconds. This step gives the florets a head start, ensuring they’ll cook properly in the skillet.
- Get a large pan, wok or skillet going over medium heat. Add your olive oil and garlic and cook for around 1 minute – until the garlic is fragrant.
- Next, add your cauliflower and stir fry until it starts to brown and take on a roasted golden color. This Maillard reaction should take around 5 – 7 minutes.
- Then turn the heat off and add your kosher salt, lemon juice and parsley to the pan. Toss the cauliflower pieces until they are evenly coated.
- Finally, transfer to a plate, sprinkle fresh Parmesan on top and serve hot.
Stir Fried Cauliflower Flavor
So what does it taste like?
The cauliflower is tender while still yielding a slight crunch. There’s a lovely roasted quality at the exterior of the florets which is heightened by the savory and umami Parmesan cheese.
The brighter elements of the lemon juice and garden fresh parsley provide the most wonderful contrasting notes, rounding out this easy Italian inspired veggie recipe with a real depth of flavor.
How to Store Your Cauliflower Stir Fry Leftovers
Leftovers can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can microwave any leftovers until hot and add a fresh dusting of Parmesan.
Re-heated cauliflower won’t have the crispy edges it had when it was fresh out of the pan, so this stir fry recipe is best enjoyed the day it is first prepared.
Other Cauliflower Uses
Another frequent use is to make a fiber rich cauliflower rice. Pulse chopped cauliflower in your food processor until it is about the size of rice grains – and use it to make grain-free fried rice or a delicious rice bowl.
It can also be used as an ingredient in veggie fritters and tots – and in place of chicken wings with Buffalo hot sauce. Or use cauliflower instead of potatoes to make a silky garlic-mashed cauliflower for the holidays.
Other Delicious and Easy Vegetable Recipes
Whether you’re specifically looking for easy vegetarian recipes – or just need a nutritious side dish for dinner, veggies come in some pretty exciting shapes and forms.
Here are a few reader favorites:
- Chinese Eggplant With Ginger Garlic Sauce and Scallions
- Asian Broccoli Salad
- Stir Fried Bean Sprouts With Tofu and Garlic Chives
- Smashed Red Potatoes With Garlic and Chives
- Dry Fried Green Beans With Garlic Sauce
Did you like this cauliflower stir fry recipe? Are there changes you made that you would like to share? Share your tips and recommendations in the comments section below!Print
Cauliflower Stir Fry
A cauliflower stir fry with a bright and savory Italian flavor profile.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 6 minutes
- Total Time: 16 minutes
- Yield: 2 to 4 sides 1x
- Category: Side
- Method: Pan frying
- Cuisine: Italian
- Diet: Gluten Free
- 1 pound cauliflower, sliced into bite size pieces
- 1 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- Place the chopped cauliflower in a microwave safe dish and cover with a lid. Microwave on high for 1 ½ minutes.
- In a large pan over medium heat, add the oil and garlic and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the cauliflower and stir fry for 5 to 7 minutes, until the cauliflower is slightly caramelized (golden color).
- Turn the heat off, add the salt, lemon juice, and parsley, and toss the cauliflower until all the pieces are evenly coated.
- Transfer to a plate, sprinkle parmesan cheese on top and serve.
Store the leftovers in an airtight storage container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
- Serving Size: 4 ounces
- Calories: 99
- Sugar: 2.4g
- Sodium: 197.7mg
- Fat: 7g
- Saturated Fat: 1.8g
- Unsaturated Fat: 0.6g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 6.9g
- Fiber: 2.4g
- Protein: 4.2g
- Cholesterol: 3.6mg
Keywords: appetizer, vegetable entree