Sauteed Cauliflower with Garlic and Tomatoes

Sauteed cauliflower is an easy side dish recipe that will soon be your favorite way to make cauliflower.

sauteed cauliflower on  a plate

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Cauliflower is a versatile vegetable! There are so many different ways to prepare it. You can turn it into cauliflower rice or buffalo bites, but this sauteed cauliflower recipe lets this delicious vegetable shine and be what it’s meant to be – cauliflower.

Why you will love this recipe

  • It’s a simple recipe, made with only four ingredients.
  • Sauteed cauliflower is versatile, see suggestions for variations below.
Sauteed cauliflower ingredients including tomatoes, olive oil, garlic

Here is what you will need

This is a brief summary of the ingredients needed to make this cauliflower recipe and a convenient shopping list from my Instacart affiliate link. For a printable recipe card with exact measurements and detailed instructions, scroll down to the recipe card section.

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  • Small Whole Head of Cauliflower
  • Olive Oil
  • Fresh Garlic
  • Cherry Tomatoes


    How to make sauteed cauliflower

    Prepare the ingredients: remove the outer leaves of the cauliflower and cut the head into slices, remove the stems and break the cauliflower apart into smaller pieces. Rinse the cauliflower pieces under cold water and pat them dry.

    Rinse the cherry tomatoes and slice them in half, chop the garlic, and heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.

    Sauteed cauliflower process 1 in skillet

    STEP 1. Sear the cauliflower. Once the skillet is hot, add the cauliflower pieces and sear them for a few minutes until the underside begins to turn golden brown and flip them over.

    STEP 2. Add the garlic. Continue to cook the cauliflower until both sides are golden brown in color. Reduce to medium heat and add the garlic and toss it in the skillet.

    process 2 for cauliflower flipped over and brown.

    sauteed cauliflower process step 3 cauliflower cooked with tomatoes

    STEP 3. Add the tomatoes to the skillet and toss them around until they begin to soften.

    Short-cut tip! Save some time and pre-cut cauliflower florets, in your produce section and slice them in half.

    sauteed cauliflower in a skillet cooked

    Ingredient Notes & Substitutions

    The full list of ingredients to make this sauteed cauliflower recipe is above. Below are notes about some of the ingredients along with ideas for substitutes.

    Cauliflower – I recommend using fresh cauliflower in this recipe. It is available in the grocery store year-round and is easy to find.

    The texture of the cauliflower in this recipe will have a bite, which will not work with frozen cauliflower.

    Garlic – I like to use fresh garlic in this recipe. If it’s not available you can use 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder.

    Cherry tomatoes – add some brightness to this recipe. If cherry tomatoes aren’t available, they can be substituted with grape tomatoes or one medium-sized chopped tomato. You can also leave the tomatoes out.


    This recipe is so versatile! You can change up the flavor by adding any combination of ingredients, here are some suggestions:

    Add more vegetables – add sliced mushrooms, bell peppers, or sun-dried tomatoes to the cauliflower at the end of the cooking process.

    Make it spicy– sprinkle the cauliflower with a teaspoon or two of red pepper flakes just before serving

    Add cheese – Add a few tablespoons of freshly shredded parmesan cheese.

    Add breadcrumbs – Toss in a handful of toasted breadcrumbs just before serving.

    Lemon and herb sauteed cauliflower– Add a few teaspoons of fresh lemon juice and a few sprigs of fresh herbs such as chopped dill, parsley, oregano or cilantro just before serving.

    Olives – add 1/4 to a half cup of sliced olives to the cauliflower just before serving.

    sauteed cauliflower in a skillet with tomatoes

    Serving suggestions

    Serve this delicious side dish with chicken savoy, grilled chicken, pork chops or shrimp. You can also enjoy this as a light vegetarian entree.

    Serve sauteed cauliflower as an entree for two topped with grilled chicken breast, white beans, or whole wheat pasta.

    How to store leftovers

    Store leftover sauteed cauliflower in the refrigerator for up to three days in an airtight container.

    Leftover sauteed cauliflower can be reheated in the oven, microwave, or enjoyed cold.


    • Slice the cauliflower so that the ends are flat, which will help to brown the edges.
    • Make sure the cauliflower is completely dry before adding it to the hot skillet, this will also help to brown the edges of the cauliflower and keep it from becoming mushy.
    • Spread the cauliflower out in the skillet leaving room between pieces so that the cauliflower doesn’t steam.

    Recipe Questions

    Do I need to cover the skillet when cooking the cauliflower?

    No, do not cover the skillet! The texture of the cauliflower in this recipe will be crisp-tender. Covering the skillet will make the cauliflower turn soft and mushy.

    Is it necessary to boil the cauliflower before sauteeing it?

    No, you don’t need to boil the cauliflower before sauteeing it unless you prefer a softer textured cauliflower. If you prefer a softer texture, you can add the cut cauliflower to boiling water for two to three minutes, remove, drain and rinse in cold water then dry it completely.

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    sauteed cauliflower on a plate

    Sauteed cauliflower

    Sauteed cauliflower is a delicious and easy side dish to make
    Prep Time: 15 minutes
    Cook Time: 15 minutes
    Total Time: 30 minutes

    Click on serving size to scale this recipe

    Course: Side Dish Recipes
    Cuisine: American
    Keyword: sauteed cauliflower. sauteed cauliflower recipe
    Servings: 4
    Calories: 56kcal
    Author: Anne
    Scale this Recipe 4


    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1 Small to head of cauliflower sliced into chunks
    • 2 cloves chopped garlic
    • 1 cup cherry tomatoes sliced in half


    • Prepare the ingredients: Slice the cauliflower into slices about a 1/4 inch thick, and break the slices into evenly sized pieces. Chop the garlic and slice the cherry tomatoes in half.
    • Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Once the skillet is hot add the cauliflower pieces and sear them for a few minutes until the underside begins to turn golden brown.
    • Flip the slices over and continue to cook the cauliflower until both sides are golden brown in color. Reduce the heat to medium heat and add the garlic; toss it in the skillet.
    • Add the tomatoes and toss them around for a minute until they begin to soften.



    Store leftover sauteed cauliflower in the refrigerator for up to three days in the refrigerator. Enjoy leftovers cold in a salad or reheat it on top of the stove.
    Add a few tablespoons of shredded parmesan cheese
    Add lemon juice and a few sprigs of fresh herbs
    Toss in 1/4 cup of olives
    Top with a handful of toasted bread crumbs


    Serving: 1 | Calories: 56kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 15mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g

    Nutrition information provided is an estimate and can vary based on cooking methods and ingredients used

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