Warm Roasted Cauliflower Salad

Warm Roasted Cauliflower Salad is a gourmet take on a traditional vegetable side. The days of steaming cauliflower are over and have been replaced by roasting. I know everyone is probably up to their ears in cauliflower recipes, from cauliflower rice to cauliflower mash to cauliflower Alfredo sauce. Lucky for you, I’m not trying to disguise cauliflower as anything but its own true self in this recipe, which is delicious!

Ingredients needed to make Warm Roasted Cauliflower Salad

It goes without saying that you’ll need a pretty large head of cauliflower, or two small ones, to make this recipe. In addition, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • Olive oil
  • Jarred pesto (I prefer using store-bought here because we’re incorporating it into a dressing… if we we’re having pesto pasta, I’d obviously recommend homemade)
  • White wine vinegar
  • Honey
  • Pitted green olives
  • Dried cranberries
  • Slivered almonds
  • Salt and pepper

Tools used to make Warm Roasted Cauliflower Salad

I always start this portion of the recipe by recommending you invest in a good set of knives. If you aren’t ready to take the plunge into a full knife block, at least get yourself a chef’s knife that has some weight to it. Here is the knife block set I’ve had for two years (and they still look and feel brand new), or an option for just the chef’s knife. In addition, you’ll need a cutting board, large rimmed sheet pan, and a mason jar with a tight-fitting lid (or a mixing bowl and whisk).

How to make Warm Roasted Cauliflower Salad

I love this recipe because you can “set it and forget it” for the most part. The only real cooking involved is roasting the cauliflower, which takes about 20-25 minutes. During that time you can easily gather all the other ingredients you need, quickly toast the almonds in a skillet, shake up the dressing, while still having time to prepare the rest of your meal. When the cauliflower is finished roasting, you’ll layer on the olives, cranberries, and toasted almonds, then drizzle the dressing over the top. Give it a final season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper and you’re ready to enjoy!

Looking for other delicious vegetable sides?

Try these other vegetarian sides from The Ardent Cook.

Cheesy Corn and Poblano Casserole

Blistered Green Beans with Garlic and Ginger

Herbed Carrot Salad

Grilled Zucchini with Feta Cheese and Zesty Oregano Chimi

Recipe Ingredients

1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets

2 tbsp olive oil

¼ cup jarred pesto 

2 ½ tbsp white wine vinegar

1 tsp honey

¼ cup pitted green olives, halved

¼ cup dried cranberries

¼ cup slivered almonds

Salt and pepper, to taste

Recipe Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place cauliflower on a large rimmed baking tray and drizzle with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the cauliflower is soft and has browned slightly. 
  2. Combine the pesto, white wine vinegar, and honey in a large mixing bowl or mason jar with a tight-fitting lid. Whisk (or shake, if using a mason jar) vigorously until the dressing is combined. 
  3. Toast almonds in a dry skillet over medium heat. Stir them frequently and watch closely until browned and fragrant. 
  4. Transfer cauliflower to a serving dish. Top with the olives, cranberries, and almonds. Drizzle with dressing and serve immediately, while the cauliflower is still warm. If you don’t use all of the dressing, store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks.

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Curried Kale Salad with Crispy Chickpeas

Happy Memorial Day Weekend! While this MDW is looking much different than years prior, we can still celebrate the beautiful weather with delicious food and family (from a distance, of course).

This Curried Kale Salad with Crispy Chickpeas is the perfect addition to your weekend barbecue menu. The kale is hearty and can be made ahead, as it doesn’t go soggy like most other greens. Other bonus? The creamy dressing is completely vegan (thank you tahini), so it won’t be an issue if left out in the sun for a bit too long. If you don’t have tahini, any neutral nut butter will work in its place. I would recommend natural and unsweetened almond or cashew butter. If you do substitute the tahini, make sure whatever you’re using in its place is as runny as possible (i.e., from a newly opened jar with a good amount of oil content). If you use a nut butter that is too firm, your dressing will be difficult to whisk together. If this happens, try adding 1-2 TBSP hot water to loosen everything up!

The most difficult part of this salad is letting the chickpeas crisp in the oven without growing impatient. They do take a solid 25-30 minutes to get totally crisp, but they’re so worth it. The nice part about waiting for the chickpeas to roast is that you give the kale a chance to sit and tenderize in some of the creamy curry dressing, so it becomes silkier and less chewy!

You can top this salad with anything that sounds delicious to you, although I highly recommend the feta, scallions, and dried cranberries in addition to those chickpeas. Other great options would be olives, nuts, or additional veggies.

Regarding the dressing… it’s addictive. In addition to a salad dressing, you can use it as a dip for crudités, a sauce for grilled proteins, or in place of the mayonnaise in chicken or tuna salad.

I hope you keep this salad in mind when you’re planning that MDW menu. Get creative with the toppings and enjoy this low-stress, healthy side that doesn’t skimp on flavor. If you make this salad, don’t forget to share your photos and tag me @theardentcook on Instagram!

Ingredients

2 bunches kale, de-stemmed and leaves finely sliced

¼ cup tahini (see recipe notes above)

Juice of 3 lemons

2 tablespoons soy sauce 

2 tablespoons curry powder

1 tsp coconut sugar

½ tsp salt, plus more to taste

¼ tsp black pepper

Raisins or dried cranberries, for topping

Thinly sliced green onion, for topping

Feta, for topping

Crispy roasted chickpeas, for topping (see recipe below) 

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Rinse and thoroughly dry a can of chickpeas. Toss with olive oil, and a pinch each of salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes.
  3. Spread the chickpeas out into a single layer on a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet. Bake until crispy, about 25-30 minutes.
  4. While the chickpeas bake, prepare the salad. Wash, dry, and remove the stems from 2 bunches of kale. I love to use a mix of lacinato (dinosaur) and curly kale.
  5. Using a very sharp knife, gather the leaves and thinly slice the kale into strips. The thinner you slice, the more tender the salad will taste overall. Add to a large salad bowl.
  6. Prepare the dressing. In a separate bowl, combine tahini, lemon juice, soy sauce, curry powder, coconut sugar, salt, and pepper and whisk until emulsified. Pour 1/2 of the dressing onto the kale and massage it into the leaves with your hands. Cover and let rest at room temperature while the chickpeas finish crisping.
  7. Assemble the salad. Thinly slice scallions and scatter on top of the salad, along with the crispy chickpeas, dried cranberries, and crumbled feta. Drizzle on the remaining dressing, or serve on the side. Enjoy!
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