Greek Braised Cauliflower with Tomato – Kounoupidi Kapama

Greek braised cauliflower and potatoes

This is the classic way Greeks cook cauliflower which we pronounce it kounoupithi. Surprisingly this is a comfort food for many of us. Yes, imagine that, cauliflower a comfort food. But we associate  it with winter, it is a dish traditionally made in the cool months as this is when cauliflower is available. The “tomato” that is used is actually tomato paste. This is because, as tomatoes are not in season in the winter, many “winter” traditional recipes use tomato paste which was a way to preserve tomatoes.

This is basically a lathero, in other words vegetables cooked in olive oil and some form of tomato. It may be called kounoupithi yiahni or kounoupithi kokkinisto or kounoupithi kapama. One thing that is important to note is that as with all lathera, you cook the vegetables until they are only left with their olive oil, it should not be watery.

This recipe is my mom’s, she adds a few spices which really make a difference in this dish. Many traditional recipes use onions, this one does not. My mom also adds potatoes. This is a common practice, because since this is a main course, the homecooks would add potatoes to add some more substance to the meal and stretch it so that it could feed more people.

Greek braised cauliflower

It really is a humble dish that was consumed regularly during the winter months along with feta cheese and bread. But, when I think about its nutritional value, it offers so much. First of all those cancer fighting antioxidants and fiber in the cauliflower, the lycopene from the tomato and the olive oil providing the good fats and its own antioxidants. And since it is consumed as a main course, you really are able to fulfill a large amount of your daily vegetable needs with this dish. Imagine one large cauliflower head is enough for about 2-3 people.

And this is the beauty of these cooked dishes, the fact that you can actually eat a half cauliflower head in one meal, as opposed to trying to eating 2-3 tiny raw cauliflower florets dipped in ranch dressing…

Traditional Greek Braised Cauliflower Recipe

Greek braised cauliflower
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Soft, tender cauliflower stewed in olive oil and tomato sauce and flavored with spices.
Course: Entree, Side Dish
Cuisine: Greek, Mediterranean, Vegan
Keyword: Cauliflower, Greek
Servings: 3
Author: Elena Paravantes
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  • 1 medium cauliflower head washed and separated in medium sized florets
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 potato cut into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 allspice berries
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 3 clove buds
  • salt/pepper


  • In a large pot, or deep pan heat the olive oil, add the cauliflower, potatoes, and spices, pepper and sauté, browning the cauliflower a bit.
  • Add the tomato paste and 1 teaspoon salt, swirl it around heating it as well.
  • Add some hot water until cauliflower is about half way covered (you can always add more later if needed). Stir gently.
  • Lower heat, assemble cauliflower so that that stems face down. Cover pot and let it simmer for about 30-50 minutes (check that the cauliflower is very soft, but not falling apart, also the sauce should not be watery).
  • Serve warm or at room temperature, spoon some sauce on top and some feta cheese.
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? Leave a comment or share on instagram and mention @greekdiet
Photo by Elena Paravantes

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Recipe Rating


  1. I’ve made lathera before many times, but never with cauliflower. This is delicious5 stars

  2. Laraine Beck says:

    This recipe is the bomb! It incorporates so many healthy veggies. So good my husband licked the plate clean. Definitely adding this one to my recipe list.5 stars

  3. This recipe is incredible.

  4. Dorothy Kruger says:

    I love this recipe of yours and make it often. It is delicious, except I use ground allspice as I cannot find allspice berries.5 stars

  5. Browneyedfili says:

    I had to come back here and review this wonderful recipe. It was amazingly delicious! I do not have whole spices (just budget-wise I cannot afford them) so I used ground, but it still turned out so good. I definitely have become more of an olive oil fan since trying your recipes, because it truly does add so much to the dish and when you say “don’t skimp on the olive oil” I totally agree. In a weird way, the olive oil almost makes the dish like ‘creamy’. I know that’s not the right word haha, but that’s what I think of…just like comforting and gives me the mouthfeel of like cream. Anyways, I was not sure about this combination of spices but it did not disappoint. I put some feta on top and did not miss the meat. My husband was surprised by how much he loved it as well. I had made the Greek lentil soup last week and that was not his favorite, but I think it’s because of all the onion. He is not an onion fan. Thank you for the great recipes. I’ve been using your recipes since getting off Keto.5 stars

    1. Thank you so much for your thoughtful review. Happy you enjoyed it. Yes, the olive oil makes all the difference, it can truly transform a dish.

  6. Για σας! I love these recipes, so tasty. I got one of the modern multi-cookers (pressure cooker with too many functions!), a bit like an Instant Pot, for Christmas, and wondered if you had any advice about adapting lathera recipes for that mode of cooking? It’s really making a difference to my weeknight cooking

    1. Denise Greene says:

      Hi, Frankie, I realize this comment is over two years old, and you’re probably quite adept at using your multi-cooker. I use my 6-qt Instant Pot Ultra for many of Elena’s recipes, and the latheras are no exception. Does your cooker have adjustable temperatures? That’s the key to success for many of the recipes. I use the sauté function for this recipe for the first part, then cook the rest using my no-pressure Ultra settings, adjusting temps as needed.5 stars

  7. I use smoked paprika (1 gram or 1/2 tsp, it’s potent) and 1-2 bay leaves and 3 splashes of hot sauce.

  8. Rebecca Cooper says:

    Any alternatives for the all spice (which I don’t have) and cloves (which I don’t like)?

  9. I just made this from your beginners cookbook and had to stop myself from eating the entire pot! I only had ground allspice and cinnamon so I put in about 1/2 tsp of each. It worked well but I’ll be getting the whole spices for next time to see the difference. Tossed some crumbled feta on top and some whole grain sourdough bread and it was perfect for dinner! Can’t wait for tomorrow to finish off the rest! Thank you!5 stars