Healthy Recipe: Spiced Cauliflower

Celebrity Chef Brian Malarkey shares recipe for healthy, flavorful dish

You don’t have to lose out on flavor while trying to eat healthy. Celebrity Chef Brian Malarkey jazzes up inflammation-busting cauliflower with a fragrant blend of antioxidant-rich spice-rack staples, fresh fruit and a smooth, Mediterranean-style hummus. 

The resulting dish is one that brims with savory umami flavor and subtle sweetness. It’s not hard to see why it’s a top seller at Malarkey’s iconic Little Italy outpost, Herb & Wood in San Diego. 

“Any time I’m cooking, I like to think about flavors — tart, sweet, heat, all those different things — and also textures and shapes,” says Malarkey. “There’s so much going on in this dish. Every bite takes you to a whole other realm.” 

Chef Malarkey’s spiced cauliflower is the first recipe in a new series highlighting healthy recipes from top local chefs, made possible by a partnership between Scripps Health and San Diego Magazine

Ingredients for spiced cauliflower (makes two servings):

  • 6 ounces roasted cauliflower (see recipe below)
  • 2 ounces spice blend (see recipe below)
  • ¼ cup pickled golden raisins (see recipe below)
  • 2 ounces cauliflower hummus (see recipe below)
  • 1 apple, halved and sliced (see how to plate)
  • Mint, dill, lemon zest and/or sesame seeds for garnish (optional) (see how to plate)

Roasted cauliflower  


  • 1 head white, green or orange cauliflower (can substitute Romanesco broccoli) 
  • 1 head purple cauliflower 
  • 2 ounces spice blend 
  • ¼ cup olive oil 
  • Salt, to taste 

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut or break cauliflower into bite sized florets and toss in olive oil and salt. Roast cauliflower on sheet tray for 20 minutes. Finish with spice blend and lemon juice. 

Spice blend* (makes more than required for recipe): 


  • 1 tablespoon allspice 
  • 1 ½ teaspoon black pepper 
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon 
  • 1 ½ teaspoon cloves 
  • 1 tablespoon coriander 
  • 1 ½ teaspoon cumin 
  • 1 ½ teaspoon nutmeg 

*Can substitute Chinese five spice powder 

Cauliflower hummus


  • 1 head white cauliflower
  • 4 ounces tahini
  • 4 raw garlic cloves 
  • 1-ounce chickpeas 
  • 1 lemon, juiced 
  • Salt, to taste 

Directions: Bring water to a boil and season with salt. Add cauliflower and cook until tender — be sure to not overcook. Reserve cauliflower water. Use a food processor to blend ingredients together, adding cauliflower water as needed. Pass through chinois to fine strain (optional). Store in fridge. 

Pickled golden raisins


  • ¼ cup golden raisins
  • ¼ cup sugar- and sodium-free rice vinegar  

Directions: Add raisins to hot skillet. Stir in rice vinegar and bring to a boil. Boil for 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat. 

To plate

Spread 2 ounces of hummus on center of plate. Add roasted cauliflower to the center of plate over hummus. Slice apple and mix with roasted cauliflower. Sprinkle with pickled raisins. Garnish with mint, dill, lemon zest or sesame seeds (optional). 

Celebrity chef Brian Malarkey shares this healthy, flavorful recipe: cauliflower with spices, fresh fruit and Mediterranean-style hummus.

Spiced cauliflower nutrition facts: 

  • 1 serving
  • Calories: 179.2
  • Fat: 8.3 g
  • Saturated fat: 1.7 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 g
  • Sodium: 75.8 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 23.8 g
  • Fiber: 8.7 g
  • Protein: 5.3 g
The cover of the September 2022 issue of San Diego Health Magazine.

This content appeared in San Diego Health, a publication in partnership between Scripps and San Diego Magazine that celebrates the healthy spirit of San Diego.

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