I love the way apricots & briny olives play off each other in this bright cauliflower salad. It keeps well, so it's a great salad to pack for lunch.
Well, I’ll be honest – these 4:30 Chicago winter sunsets take some getting used to, so I made this roasted cauliflower salad full of bright colors and flavors to make up for it. 🙂 At least that’s what I tell myself as I seriously consider getting one of those vitamin D lamps. Have any of you ever tried one?
Anyway, back to the cauliflower salad! I was going to save this recipe to post in January. You know, once everyone wants to get healthy and eat vegetables again… but then I realized – you’re all here because you love vegetables, holidays or not!! This hearty cauliflower salad doubles as a holiday side dish (I’m bringing it to Christmas dinner) and as an every day veggie meal (I love it for lunch).
Cauliflower Salad Recipe Components
There are a few components to this recipe, all of which can be made in advance unless you want your cauliflower florets piping hot, in which case, you can roast that at the last minute. Personally, I think this salad is delicious at room temp, and I’ve also eaten it cold out of the fridge (like I said above – it’s one of my favorite recipes to pack for lunch. Find more here!). Here’s what’s in it:
Seasoned French green lentils: Be sure to use French green lentils here. They have a more al dente texture than brown lentils, which, to me, get too mushy for salads. And because I find plain lentils to be very bland, I season them with lemon, olive oil, Dijon mustard, and a good bit of sea salt and pepper. The recipe below makes quite a bit more lentils than you’ll need for this salad, but I like to make a big batch – they’re handy to keep in the fridge for salads during the week. Also, it’s hard to cook a teeny tiny pot of lentils.
Bright, briny things: Pickled red onion and olives (or capers) give a bright pop of flavor that contrasts with the nutty roasted cauliflower.
Creamy tahini salad dressing: Mix together tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, and sea salt… done.
Something crunchy: Pine nuts, sliced almonds, or if you’re nut free: pepitas.
Something sweet: Diced, dried apricots or dates round out the nutty/earthy flavors of the cauliflower and lentils. Their sweetness also balances the tartness of the bright, briny things.
Something green: Peppery arugula, because it is a salad after all.
I hope this one brightens your day! xo
If you love this cauliflower salad recipe…
Roasted Cauliflower Salad
- Florets from 1 small head of cauliflower
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- 2 cups arugula
- 1/2 cup cooked Lemon-Herb French Green Lentils
- Lemon wedges, for squeezing and serving
- 1/2 cup Tahini Sauce
- ¼ cup Pickled Onions
- ¼ cup pine nuts, sliced almonds, or pepitas
- 4 dried apricots or dates, diced
- ¼ cup chopped olives or 1 tablespoon capers
- Microgreens, optional
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Roast the cauliflower. Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the cauliflower with drizzles of olive oil and pinches of salt and pepper and roast for 20 to 25 minutes, or until browned around the edges.
- In a medium bowl, toss the arugula and roasted cauliflower with a drizzle with olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, and a pinch of salt. Spread onto a platter and drizzle ⅓ of the tahini sauce on top. Sprinkle on the lentils, the pickled onions, pine nuts, apricots, and olives. Drizzle with the remaining tahini dressing (or as much as you like) and top with microgreens, if using. Season to taste and serve.