There is a salad on our table almost every single night of the week. Usually it’s lettuce. More often than not, just a bowl of slivered romaine with a tart vinaigrette. Super simple.
But when I go out I am always drawn to more intricate vegetable salads, and I am a pushover for those that have a combination of cooked and raw vegetables. And if some of those vegetables are roasted—those caramelized edges, that deep, sweet flavor….and oh, the textures!
Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Salad with Tahini Dressing: This salad will make you feel happy making it, happy serving it, and even happier eating it.Tweet This
The original inspiration for this was a cup of leftover roasted cauliflower, tucked into the fridge. (The fact that there was leftover roasted cauliflower was actually kind of amazing—usually every last floret is inhaled). I resisted simply eating it cold out of its container, and decided to just toss it with some lettuce and dress it all up, and boy was it good. So then I got inspired to take this concept to a whole other level.
The next time I roasted a whole lot of cauliflower, and partway through the roasting added some chickpeas to the pan, which got just the right amount of slightly firmer and chewier.
The lemon tahini dressing easily partners with the chickpeas—collectively they are basically the ingredients in traditional hummus. The dressing is quite thick, almost mayonnaise-like in texture. At first you’ll basically dollop it on, but then when you toss the vegetables and lettuce with the dressing it will coat everything with creaminess.
And because we just love lettuce, a whole pile of thinly sliced romaine hearts provides the crunch against the tenderness of the roasted vegetables. A shower of thinly sliced red onion is the kicker, plus some herby brightness from cilantro or parsley. Choice between the two, or use a combo for yet another layer of flavor.
On an average Tuesday night this will probably not be our side salad. But it will probably show up the next time I’m making a big meal with a Mediterranean or a Middle Eastern bent, as the show-off salad that threatens to upstage the main dish. And I will secretly hope it doesn’t all get eaten, so I can know that a container is nestled into the back of the fridge, ready for my lunch the next day.
This Cauliflower Salad would be great with:
- Dry Brined Holiday Turkey
- Grilled Lemony Chicken and Baby Artichokes
- Simple Lemon-Garlic Roasted Turkey Breast
- Standing Rib Roast
- Garlicky Roast Chicken with Shallots and Potatoes
Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Salad with Tahini Dressing
- 1 head cauliflower about 1 1/2 pounds, cut into small florets
- 4 tablespoons olive oil divided
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin divided
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 15.5 ounce can chickpeas rinsed and drained
- ⅓ cup tahini sesame paste
- 2 tablespoons water
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 4 cups slivered romaine hearts
- ½ red onion slivered
- ½ cup fresh flat leaf parsley or cilantro leaves
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Place the cauliflower on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle over 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, sprinkle with the paprika, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, and cayenne, and season with salt and pepper. Use a spoon or your hands to toss everything until the cauliflower is well coated with the seasoned oil. Roast for 20 minutes until the cauliflower is starting to soften, then add the chickpeas to the pan, use a spoon to stir so that they are evenly distributed and coated with the seasoned oil, and roast for another 15 minutes. Let cool to slightly warm, or room temperature.
- Meanwhile, make the dressing. Place the tahini, water, remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, remaining 1/2 teaspoon cumin, and salt and pepper in a food processor or a blender, and process until thick and smooth. You can also combine all of the ingredients in a container or bowl and shake or stir to blend well.
- Place the slivered romaine hearts in a shallow bowl, and top with the cauliflower and chickpea mixture. Spoon the thick dressing over the top, and toss to coat the vegetables with the dressing. Top with the onions and parsley leaves.
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