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Low Carb Baked Cauliflower with Saffron & Olives 

Low Carb Baked Cauliflower with Saffron & Olives 
Home » Low Carb Lifestyle » Low carb side dishes » Low Carb Baked Cauliflower with Saffron & Olives 

Cauliflower is a mainstay of many low carb diets. There are many different ways to prepare it however, and this simple baked cauliflower dish becomes special with the robust additions of saffron and Mediterranean green olives. It is easy enough for weeknight dinners and elegant enough for the Thanksgiving table.

Baked cauliflower with saffron and olives in copper baking dish.
Baked cauliflower with saffron and olives

Jump to: RECIPE | About Saffron | About Mediterranean Olives

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About Saffron

Did you know it takes about 70,000 crocus flowers and over 210,000 stigmas (threads inside the flowers) to produce one pound of saffron spice?

Saffron spice adds distinctive golden color and sweet, floral and earthy flavor to this delicious recipe. In a pinch, you can substitute turmeric for the saffron, but I highly recommend having saffron in your spice cabinet.

All About Mediterranean Green Olives

Pitted Green Olives: Which variety of this stone fruit (yes, olives are stone fruits!) should you use for this baked cauliflower dish? Any type of Mediterranean green olive will add a zesty flavor plus a pop of color that makes this recipe sing.

Here are a few popular ones to choose from:

  • Castelvetrano green olives are a popular Sicilian variety with a meaty yet crunchy texture and a bright green color, with both a sweet and salty flavor. I love these to snack on, and they work really well in this recipe.
  • Cerignola variety, from the Apulia province of Italy, is large, plum and mildly buttery in flavor.
  • Picholine olives, originally from south of France and now grown world wide, are crispy crunchy with a nutty and tart flavor.
  • Manzanilla variety, with a mild smoky and almost almond flavor, are medium-large and grown in Spain.

Infographic from

Probably the most popular way to use cauliflower for low carb side dishes is this mashed cauliflower recipe. The mashed cauliflower dish can easily take the place of mashed potatoes on the holiday table to please those on a low carb diet.

The best thing about both of these low carb cauliflower side dishes however is the taste! Cauliflower can be bland and tasteless. Not so with the baked cauliflower and saffron olive recipe! Not so with faux mashed potatoes using cauliflower!

Baked Cauliflower with Saffron and Green Ollives

Baked cauliflower with saffron and olives in copper baking dish.
A low carb dish that infuses cauliflower with the colorful saffron and the tangy olives.
5 from 2 votes
Servings 4
Calories 72



  • 2 teaspoons saffron
  • cup boiling water
  • 1 head cauliflower broken into individual florets
  • 1 red onion sliced
  • ½ cup green olives pitted and cut in half lengthways
  • 4 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 4 tablespoons chopped parsley


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Release the oils and fragrance of the saffron by placing it in a small bowl, pouring the boiling water over it, and allowing it to sit for about 5 minutes
    2 teaspoons saffron, 1/3 cup boiling water
  • In a large bowl add the cauliflower, onion, olives, olive oil, bay leaves, and salt and pepper.  Pour the infused saffron water over the mix in the bowl and mix together well with your hands, coating the cauliflower with the oil and spices.
    1 head cauliflower, 1 red onion, 1/2 cup green olives, 4 tablespoon olive oil, 2 bay leaves, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Spoon the mixture into an 9 x 11 inch baking pan and cover with foil. Bake for a total of 40 to 45 minutes, stirring the mixture after 20 minutes and placing the foil back on to cover for another 20 minutes. Cauliflower should be fork tender, but not mushy.
  • Remove the cauliflower from the oven, uncover, and allow to cool for about 5 minutes.  Stir in the parsley and adjust the salt and pepper if you would like more.
    Serve warm.
    4 tablespoons chopped parsley


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Calories: 72kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 3gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.3gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gSodium: 599mgPotassium: 480mgFiber: 4gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 71IUVitamin C: 71mgCalcium: 48mgIron: 1mg
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