Sauteed Cauliflower

5 from 4 votes

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Sauteed cauliflower marries beautifully with pine nuts and parmesan cheese in this easy-to-make vegetable dish. Serve as a side, or eat on its own for a light yet filling meal!

pan with ready to serve sauteed cauliflower

We all know how important it is to eat our greens, but it’s easy to get sick of the same old boring steamed spinach and carrots recipes. That’s why I decided to come up with a better way to stay nourished. It involves adding Parmesan cheese, toasted pine nuts, and a little bit of Panko for crunch to one of my favorite varieties of cabbage. Yes, you read that right – cauliflower is in the cabbage family!

I digress. I’ve been known to experiment with this veggie in the past, like in my recent recipe of grilled cauliflower steaks or adding to a good stir fry. Oh, and if you want a homemade chimichurri recipe, you can find mine here.

I love to sauté vegetables, and this recipe is no different. It comes together in about 30-minutes for an easy weeknight side or main dish.

ingredients for sauteed cauliflower


  • Cauliflower – The star (and base) of this meal. You’ll need to cut it into florets before you start cooking.
  • Pine nuts – I love pine nuts, and I love them even more toasted. The toasting process really brings out their nutty flavor. 
  • Panko breadcrumbs – To add some crunch to this sauteed cauliflower recipe! 
  • Parmesan cheese – Cheese combines so wonderfully with pine nuts. Plus, Parmesan enhances the naturally nutty flavor found in my preferred cruciferous vegetable.
  • Olive oil and butter  – You’ll use both olive oil and butter for cooking in this recipe. Opt for extra virgin olive oil for a lighter taste.
  • Cilantro chimichurri – Optional, but I recommend that you try serving your sauteed cauliflower with a drizzle of homemade chimichurri sauce. It’s delicious and fresh and adds a nice contrast to the other ingredients!


  1. Toast: Part 1. Toast the pine nuts in a large skillet over medium heat until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Be sure to stir often to prevent burning! Season with salt and set them aside in a bowl.
  2. Toast: Part 2. Heat the olive oil in the same skillet and add your Panko breadcrumbs. Stir over medium heat and toast until the breadcrumbs turn golden brown. Add them to the bowl with the pine nuts.
  3. Pan-Roast. Melt the butter in the pan and add the florets. Brown on medium heat for about 10-minutes, making sure to toss often. Season with salt to your preference.
  4. Simmer. Add water to the pan, cover, and cook for 5 minutes on the lowest heat – this steams the florets quickly. Then, remove the lid and simmer until all of the water has evaporated.
  5. Garnish & Serve. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese and toasted ingredients over the skillet. Drizzle everything with chimichurri sauce (optional – feel free to skip if you don’t like cilantro) and serve immediately.
sauteed cauliflower in a skillet.

Is it Necessary to Boil Cauliflower Before Cooking?

This non-starchy vegetable can be prepared in several different ways. Popular methods include boiling, sauteing, steaming, and stir-frying – some even cook theirs in the microwave. All of these methods have their merits, it really just depends on the recipe you’re working from. Be warned: things can get mushy quickly if you cook for too long.

For this sauteed cauliflower recipe, you don’t need to boil before you pan-roast.

How Long Does Cauliflower Last in the Fridge?

A fresh, uncut head will last for 4 to 7 days in the refrigerator, while washed and trimmed florets will last about 4 days.

Once cooked, leftovers stored in an airtight container should keep for 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator.

Can You Freeze Cauliflower?

You can avoid food waste by freezing your vegetables. This is a great option if your local supermarket or farmer has a great deal and you want to stock up. You can freeze raw vegetables, but the flavor, texture, and even nutritional value will deteriorate over time.

To stop this from happening, always blanch your veggies before you freeze. To do so, boil for about 2-minutes before submerging them in an ice bath immediately. Drain, dry, and place in the freezer (in an airtight container or bag) where they will keep for up to 6 months.

What is the Black Stuff on Cauliflower?

If you notice that black or brown spots begin to appear on your produce there’s no need for alarm. This discoloration is caused by oxidation. Oxidation is a process that occurs when food is exposed to light and air.

The longer you keep vegetables before cooking them, the more spots will appear. You can prevent this by preparing this sauteed cauliflower recipe sooner rather than later.

ready to eat cauliflower in pan
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pan with ready to serve sauteed cauliflower

Sauteed Cauliflower

5 from 4 votes
My sauteed cauliflower is cheesy, nutty, and deliciously crunchy. Try this veggie packed recipe – it’s a great way to get your five-a-day!
Servings: 6 servings
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes




  • Toast pine nuts in large skillet over medium heat until golden brown, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and set aside in bowl.
  • Heat oil in large skillet and add Panko breadcrumbs. Stir over medium heat and toast until golden brown. Add to bowl with pine nuts.
  • Melt butter in pan and add cauliflower. Brown on medium heat for about 10 minutes, tossing often. Season with salt.
  • Add 1/4 cup of water to pan and cover for 5 minutes on simmer. Remove lid and cook until all water is evaporated.
  • Sprinkle Parmesan cheese, toasted Panko breadcrumbs and pine nuts on top. Drizzle the chimichurri sauce (optional) all over and serve immediately.


Calories: 175kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 13mg | Sodium: 182mg | Potassium: 605mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 150IU | Vitamin C: 92mg | Calcium: 99mg | Iron: 1mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
My sauteed cauliflower is cheesy, nutty, and deliciously crunchy.


Whether in the kitchen or on the grill, you’ll find me cooking American favorites with a love for BBQ, Mexican and Tex Mex. I’m passionate about making tasty food because life’s too short to be bland!

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  1. 5 stars
    I am not a great cook, but I love trying! so I want to join your blog, and maybe learn somrthing new and exciting. How do I do that?

    1. So sorry for the late reply as I have been away on a much needed vacation outside the USA. Needless to say, about your comment…Thanks so much Barb, I just added you to the newsletter!

  2. 5 stars
    I didn’t have pine nuts or make the chimichurri, but otherwise followed the recipe. Both my husband and I found it delicious. The recipe was easy to make, and I was relieved I didn’t need the oven for this cauliflower dish.