Cauliflower is an under-appreciated and often overlooked superfood. Perhaps having a readily available year-round supply has made us oblivious to its charms. Even Mark Twain was fond of saying, “A cauliflower is nothing but a cabbage with a college education.” It is true cauliflower is part of the cabbage family, whose name is derived from the Italian Caoli Fiori meaning “cabbage flower”. However, unlike cabbage, I feel cauliflower has a myriad of interesting applications.
Many cooks, in an attempt to cut down on carbohydrates, use cauliflower as a rice substitute. The “ricing” of cauliflower has become so popular that you can find ready-made riced cauliflower in just about any grocery store. Cauliflower has also become a popular substitute for flour to use in pizza crusts, a product celebrated by those in the gluten-free community. Keto diets also sing the praises of cauliflower as a vegetable chock full of vitamin C, vitamin K, folate and dietary fiber.
And yours truly? I buy cauliflower weekly, and because I use it so often have had to expand my horizons so as to avoid an outright cauliflower revolution in my house. I adapted the following recipe, Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Salad with Lemon Tahini, from Budget Bytes. I love the fact this recipe uses cauliflower as the main ingredient in a salad, combining it with slightly-spicy roasted chickpeas that is mixed with a tangy tahini dressing. While best on the first day, this salad will keep for 3 days, but I would suggest adding fresh parsley and cilantro every time you serve it. Have fun with this one, serving it as a side dish to lamb or chicken, or as a lighter main dish on a hot summer night. Buon apetito! xoM
Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing
To Roast the Cauliflower
- 2 heads of cauliflower, washed and chopped into florets
- 1/2 red onion, cut into thin strips
- 2 tbsp grapeseed or avocado oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- parsley and cilantro, chopped
To Roast the Chickpeas
- 15 oz. can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 tbsp grapeseed or avocado oil
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- salt and pepper to taste
To Make Lemon Tahini Dressing
- 1/3 cup tahini
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, toss the cauliflower and red onion with grapeseed oil and salt and pepper. Place on a large baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes, or until the cauliflower is browned on the edges. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
- In a bowl, toss the chickpeas with grapeseed oil, smoked paprika, coriander, garlic powder, cayenne, salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and roast along with the cauliflower/red onion mix for about 15 minutes, or until they sizzle and become slightly crispy.
- While the cauliflower and chickpeas are roasting, prepare the Lemon Tahini Dressing. In a blender or food processor, add the tahini, water, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, cayenne and salt. Blend until smooth and refrigerate until serving. The dressing will keep for 3-4 days.
- Assemble the salad by tossing the roasted cauliflower, red onion, and chickpeas in a bowl with the dressing. Add chopped parsley and cilantro. May be served warm or cold.