The Lowdown on Cauliflower Taste Tests

Over the past two months, I’ve tested roasted cauliflower out at three different elementary schools starting on Food Day.  The first school was documented in a previous blog post:

I’m pleased to say that the tests went very well at every school and there were even some students who tried it that never want to try anything new. One staff member at Hayes Elementary said, referencing a hard-to-please eater, “I have to try everything I can just to get this student to eat their lunch every day, and they’ve come back up to the table for cauliflower four times! This is amazing!”

Out of 1045 testers (students and staff), there were 756 “likes!!!” We had 112 “maybes” and 177 “no, thank yous,” but many of those were due to the cauliflower being a bit too spicy for the students tastes. I tried to get feedback from everyone about the spice level and adjusted accordingly. Some students really like spicy, while others do not.

I plan to develop the recipe for the roasted cauliflower into a format more appropriate for a district of Davenport’s size so that it can be used on the lunch line. I really enjoyed preparing the cauliflower and look forward to going through the menu creation process, as well as test more foods in the future. We’re planning an asparagus experiment in the Spring.

For those people interested in the recipe, I adapted it from the Good and Cheap cookbook:

Roasted cauliflower (serves 4)

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, unpeeled (can also use jarred minced garlic or 3 tablespoons garlic powder)
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted (can also use canola, vegetable, or olive oil)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (use less for a less spicy dish)
  • Salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 400*F. Cut up cauliflower and mix the butter (oil), whole garlic cloves, paprika, cayenne pepper, and salt/pepper together in a large bowl. Spread out the cauliflower mixture evenly onto a cookie sheet pan. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on how crispy you like the florets. Stir every few minutes for even browning. Squeeze the roasted garlic throughout and trash the skins.

Recipe adapted from Good and Cheap cookbook on page 58.   $3.40 total at $0.85 per serving.