Cauliflower with Saffron-Pickled Raisins

Roast Cauliflower with Saffron-Pickled Raisins

I’ve pickled plenty of stuff on this blog: mangoes, mustard seeds, even a few little birds. So it easy to see how pickled raisins would be my kind of thing. Sweet. Savory. Unexpected. Which sounds like a metaphor for a happy life. Well, at least to me it does. 

So when I saw a Chef Hillary Sterling recipe for Kugel with Saffron-Pickled Raisins in Food & Wine this month I put the recipe on my to-do list. However, the inspiration recipe was part of a Passover menu. I’m going to be in Mexico for Easter and most of Passover this year so I have no holiday cooking plans. Still, those pickled raisins – sweet, savory, and unexpected – kept popping into my thoughts.

Raisins can do that to a man, can’t they?

So with no real plan on how to use them, I went ahead and pickled some golden raisins in much the same manner as Chef Sterling. I was that excited to taste them. Of course, I knew they’d be sweet and sour. But I wasn’t prepared for the bold way those golden raisins were plumped and recharged by the cider vinegar. I knew I had to use their bright bite of acidity in a recipe and quick. So I tossed them with the cauliflower I was roasting anyway, and indeed my life is happier for it. GREG

Cauliflower with Saffron-Pickled Raisins

Roast Cauliflower with Saffron-Pickled Golden Raisins 

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Roast Cauliflower with Saffron-Pickled Golden Raisins


  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • 1 pinch saffron threads
  • 1 large cauliflower (cut into 2‑inch florets )
  • 2–3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper (as needed for seasoning)
  • 2 tablespoon toasted pinenuts


Make the pickled golden raisins: Place vinegar, raisins, and a pinch of saffron (about 15 threads) in a small non-reactive saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiled remove from heat; let cool to room temperature.

Roast the cauliflower: Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400°. 

Place the cauliflower florets in a medium bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and the balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and toss well. Spread the cauliflower on a large, parchment-covered rimmed baking sheet. Roast for about 30 minutes, tossing the florets halfway through to ensure even cooking until browned in spots and tender. Transfer to a serving bowl.

Spoon 2 or 3 tablespoons of the golden raisin pickling liquid over the cauliflower, then drain the raisins, discarding the remaining liquid and place the raisins and the toasted pinenuts in the bowl with the cauliflower. Season with salt and pepper; toss to combine. Serve immediately.