Nigel Slater's Fried Cauliflower Recipe

Fried cauliflower with salsa verde

The Spruce

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 5 mins
Total: 20 mins
Servings: 4 servings

For the longest time, cauliflower has been an underrated vegetable, and was usually over-boiled, resulting in a tasteless mush. Those days are long gone now. Cauliflower has seen something of a revival in recent years and has become the darling of many a celebrity chef. The use of cauliflower as a low-carb food and a great alternative to potato or rice has risen this cruciferous vegetable to superfood status.

Here the cauliflower is fried, perked up with paprika, and served with a tasty salsa verde. Fried cauliflower makes a great starter dish, a small appetizer to a more substantial meal, and with the salsa verde, a perfect vegetarian main course. ​

This very delicious recipe comes from one of Britain's foremost food writers, Nigel Slater. Nigel has taken one of Britain's favorite vegetables and turned it into something extra special.


  • For the Cauliflower:
  • 1 medium cauliflower
  • For the Salsa Verde:
  • 1/2 cup parsley leaves
  • 6 bushy sprigs mint
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons capers (rinsed)
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Ground black pepper (to taste)
  • For Frying Cauliflower:
  • Oil (for frying)
  • 3 tablespoons gram flour
  • Salt (to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika

Steps to Make It

Note: While there are multiple steps to this recipe, this fried cauliflower dish is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for frying.

Prepare the Cauliflower

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Head of cauliflower with green leaves
    The Spruce
  2. Chop away any green leaves.

    Head of cauliflower with leaves removed
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  3. Break the cauliflower into florets, but not too small. Imagine each should be a good couple of bites each.

    Cauliflower florets on a cutting board
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  4. Drop the florets into boiling salted water for a couple of minutes, and no more. The florets should be firm and not overcooked. 

    Boiling the cauliflower
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  5. Drain thoroughly and dry with kitchen paper.

Make the Salsa Verde

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for making salsa verde
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  2. To make the sauce, start by chopping the herbs quite finely but not so small that they look like tea leaves.

    Finely chopped parsley on a cutting board
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  3. Stir in the garlic, mustard, and capers.

    Stirring the garlic, mustard, and capers in a bowl
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  4. Pour the olive oil into the herbs very slowly, beating continuously with a fork.

    Salt and pepper to add to the salsa verde
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  5. Stir in the lemon juice and season with sea salt and black pepper. Be generous with the seasoning, tasting as you go. The sauce should be bright tasting and piquant.

Fry the Cauliflower

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for frying the cauliflower
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  2. Get the oil hot in a deep pan.

    The oil is placed in a deep pan
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  3. Toss the cauliflower with the gram flour, a little salt, and the paprika.

    Gram flour, salt, and paprika are added to the cauliflower
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  4. When the cauliflower is coated, fry in the hot oil until crisp, about 3 or 4 minutes.

    Frying the cauliflower in oil
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  5. Drain on kitchen paper.

    Fried cauliflower drying on paper towels
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  6. Serve with sauce.

    Fried cauliflower served with salsa verde
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  7. Enjoy.


  • This recipe makes enough for two as a main dish or enough for four as a side. Keep this in mind when preparing.
  • If you need more for a larger crowd, scale up.

Recipe Variations

  • This recipe is about as perfect as it can be and will soon become a family favorite, and it's easy to change it up with a variety of herbs and spices.
  • Switch out the herbs to taste; though, it's always a good idea to keep some basil in there. Flat-leaf parsley makes a good sauce.
  • Add a little curry powder instead of the paprika or other spices, as you prefer.