Our cauliflower salad will take you by surprise with its exciting textures and flavors. Cauliflower and chickpeas are baked until caramelized, then topped with shredded cheese and crushed pistachio.
All the ingredients are assembled on a bed of fresh arugula and tossed with Dijon mustard dressing. It’s a transformation from humble ingredients into an incredible salad.
Is Cauliflower Salad Healthy?
This salad recipe is healthy, as it’s packed with an abundance of vitamins, protein, minerals, and fiber.
Cauliflower is a low-calorie superfood. Containing only 25 calories per cup, it provides you with up to 46.4 mg of vitamin C and 2.5 g of fiber. Besides, chickpeas and pistachio nuts also add a great amount of plant-based protein to your diet.
Our chefs also make sure to keep the amount of sodium and saturated fat within healthy limits, at 278.7 mg and 2.4 g, respectively. Moreover, our salad only yields 210 calories per serving, making it a healthy and nutritious meal option.
Ingredients for This Salad
As simple as its name, our salad does not require complicated ingredients. You can get a basket full of fresh veggies and spices at your nearest grocery store, or for a bargain, visit your local farmer’s market.
- Cauliflower: Cauliflower with its white color and crunchy texture acts as the perfect canvas for greens and nuts. To give it a sweet taste and smoky scent, season it well and bake it until caramelized.
- Arugula: Arugula, also known as rocket, belongs to the brassica family. The spicy kick and slightly bitter aftertaste give our salad more character. If you are familiar with this tasty leaf you may fancy mature arugula with its pronounced flavor. Newbies, however, can opt for younger arugula with a milder taste.
- Chickpeas: Chickpeas add more filling to our salad. With an earthy taste and nutty undertones, they help tone down the heat from the pepper flakes and the zestiness of the citrus dressing.
- Pistachio nuts: Crushed pistachio nuts give more crunch to our salad. Plus, nuts are customizable: If pistachios aren’t your favorite, you can substitute them with almond, hazelnut, or cashew.
- Dressing: We love a classic Dijon mustard dressing and here it emphasizes the tangy, zesty aspect of our cauliflower salad. A sprinkle of lemon zest and pepper flakes will spice up your palate with a tongue-tingling sensation.
How to Prepare Cauliflower for Salad
There are two sides to the crags and cracks that cover the surface of this vegetable. While the crevices allow spices and seasonings to cling better, they also make it more difficult to remove dirt and bacteria. With our step-by-step guide, you will have florets of cauliflower ready on your counter in no time.
- Separate the large leaves from the base of your cauliflower. Discard the leaves.
- Stabilize your cauliflower on a cutting board. With a sharpened knife, carefully cut around the center stem of the cauliflower and remove it.
- Break your cauliflower into large florets. Cut off any hard stems.
- Continue to cut those florets into smaller pieces as required in your recipe.
- Transfer the cauliflower pieces to a colander and rinse them under running water. Gently scrub off any dirt or pests with your hands.
- Drain the water. Pat your florets dry with a clean cloth or paper towel.
Can You Use Raw Cauliflower for Salad?
Yes, technically, you can.
However, cauliflower is more difficult to infuse with flavor and digest in its raw form. No one wants a hard and bland plate of salad, so our chefs call for an extra baking step to soften the texture and enhance the flavor.
What to Serve Cauliflower Salad With?
With hearty ingredients including cauliflower, chickpeas, and arugula, this salad makes a great breakfast or lunch on its own. The combination of fibrous ingredients guarantees an energy-packed meal.
However, as an accompaniment, the smokiness of this cauliflower salad works well with grilled meat, pasta, soups, and stews.
How to Store Leftovers
You can enjoy this salad right after it has been tossed for the ultimate texture and flavor. Like other salads with an acidic dressing, you shouldn’t leave it in the open air for more than 4 hours, or it will turn watery and mushy.
To store leftovers, divide them into portions, place them in airtight containers, and store them in the fridge for up to 4 days.
How to Make Cauliflower Salad
- In a large mixing bowl, add 18 oz cauliflower, 6 oz canned chickpeas, 1 tbsp minced parsley, and 2 tbsp olive oil. Mix well with a spoon.
- Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line the sheet pan with parchment paper. Spread the seasoned cauliflower and chickpeas onto the sheet pan. Roast them for 15 minutes. Remove the cooked cauliflower and chickpeas from the oven. Set them aside to cool.
- Make the dressing by combining 1 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp traditional Dijon mustard, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tbsp minced parsley, 1/4 tsp Dijon mustard seeds, 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, 1/4 tsp lemon zest, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper. Whisk vigorously until well combined.
- Assemble the salad ingredients in order: 1 oz arugula, 18 oz roasted cauliflower, 6 oz roasted chickpeas, and 0.25 oz shredded parmesan cheese.
- Drizzle the dressing all over. Toss well. Enjoy.