Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Lemon Garlic Dressing

 

Roasted Cauliflower Salad with ArugulaTrue story: Back in my Didn’t Know Better days, I used to whip up cauliflower tempura in my tiny studio kitchen on a near-weekly basis. It was always a huge mess – cornstarch dusting every inch of formica and vinyl, Wesson oil splattered all over the white Hotpoint stove. It was indulgent, and totally worth it. I especially loved the browned bits of cauliflower that would sometimes show up, having slipped out of their batter blanket and been allowed to sizzle directly in the oil. If only I had known about roasting cauliflower! I could’ve had that same caramelized delicacy with much less mess and many fewer calories.

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Cauliflower “candy”

Roasted cauliflower is the star of my new favorite salad, which I adapted from a recipe in Fine Cooking. It’s full of contrasting-yet-harmonious flavors and textures, and is dressed with my super-versatile lemon garlic vinaigrette. I use this same dressing for Caesar salad, and even as a marinade for chicken and shrimp. But back to the main event: Even if you don’t make this salad (though you should!), you owe it to yourself to try the roasted cauliflower. Now we all know better. (And yes, the same can be said about perms, blue eye shadow and shoulder pads.)

Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Lemon Garlic Dressing                     Print Recipe

Serves 4 as a main course or 6-8 as a side

(Feel free to adjust the quantities to any proportion you like! More arugula, full can of chickpeas, etc.)

  • 1 large head cauliflower, cored and sliced into ½” pieces
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 cup canned chickpeas (rinsed and drained)
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta
  • 1/3 cup dried currants
  • 5 oz. (1 bag, or approx. 5 cups) baby arugula
  • Lemon Garlic Dressing, to taste (recipe follows)

Heat oven to 450ºF. Core cauliflower and slice into ½” pieces. (This exposes more of the cauliflower to the hot pan.)

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Wedge out the core with a large chef’s knife.

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Sliced pieces will get more caramelized, and are easier to flip for browning on both sides. Don’t discard the little loose florets, though. Those get nice and crispy!

Toss pieces and loose florets on a baking sheet with olive oil and kosher salt. Roast for 15 minutes, then flip cauliflower and cook another 5-10 minutes until caramelized on both sides. Cool slightly before adding to salad.

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The cauliflower will be cooked through after 15 minutes, but flip for a few minutes more cooking if you want both sides browned.

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Meanwhile, make dressing and set aside.

Toast the almond slivers in a dry skillet until lightly browned; add to a large serving bowl along with the chickpeas, currants and feta. Add cooled cauliflower, arugula, and Lemon Garlic Dressing to taste. Toss and serve.

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The currants add an important sweet note; look for them next to the raisins. You can use pine nuts instead of almonds, or crumbled goat cheese or parmesan instead of the feta.

arugula

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Add dressing a little at a time, to taste. This recipe will make enough for at least 2 of these salads.

Lemon Garlic Dressing

Makes about 1 cup

  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice (from about 1 lemon)
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced/pressed
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (about 15 cranks)
  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil

Add all ingredients except olive oil to a blender, immersion blender beaker or jar; blend or stir to combine. Slowly blend or whisk in olive oil until combined. Refrigerate any unused dressing; bring to room temperature and shake/whisk before using.

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Recipe adapted from Fine Cooking, Issue 137 (Sandra Wu)

6 thoughts on “Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Lemon Garlic Dressing

    • It is yummy! But not really sweet; the molasses in the brown sugar actually helps emulsify/stabilize the dressing. (Learned from Cook’s Illustrated.) You could also omit the brown sugar if you want (or if you live in France where it’s not widely available!)

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