Cauliflower Salad – roasted cauliflower, chickpeas, pumpkin seeds, and leafy lettuce drenched in a crave-worthy, creamy cashew dressing – will have you coming back for seconds! Serve it as a light lunch or dinner, or as a side dish for a bigger meal. This easy recipe is vegan and gluten-free.
Roasted Cauliflower Salad
I have a confession to make. I sometimes create salads for the sole purpose of being a vessel for a dressing. My Wedge Salad was made mainly because I wanted something to pour buttermilk-style dressing over, and I created a Tahini and Tofu Kale Salad because I wanted to put tahini dressing on my meal. Don’t get me wrong – I do love my salads, but a salad is just a pile of blah vegetables if it doesn't have a good dressing. I created this Roasted Cauliflower Dressing because I was craving a creamy cashew dressing.
This roasted cauliflower salad is great for spring and fall, when it's not too hot to turn on the oven. In those seasons, I often find myself with a hankering for a salad that has a little oomph to it. Roasting vegetables brings out their sweetness and adds another depth of flavor. It also creates a bit of warmth on chilly days.
How to Make Roasted Cauliflower Salad
This recipe is so easy to make!
- First you heat your oven to 425° and line to baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Next you toss the cauliflower florets in oil, salt, and pepper and spread them out on one of the baking sheets.
- Then you toss the chickpeas in the remaining oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder and spread them out on the other baking sheet.
- Now you roast both for 35 to 45 minutes, until the cauliflower is golden brown and the chickpeas are crisp.
- While the cauliflower and chickpeas are roasting, you mix together the dressing ingredients in a blender or food processor until it's smooth and creamy.
- After the cauliflower and chickpeas have roasted, you should allow them to cool a little.
- You assemble the salad by placing the lettuce in a bowl and topping it with the pumpkin seeds and roasted cauliflower and chickpeas. Then you drizzle on the dress and toss to combine everything.
- Top your salad with the chopped parsley.
- Serve your salad cold or at room temperature.
How to Customize your Cauliflower Salad
This salad is easy to make your own!
- You can use any type of lettuce, or leafy green. Try arugula, baby spinach, or baby kale.
- If you don't like cauliflower, you can roast broccoli or Brussels sprouts instead.
- Any type of nut or seed can be substituted for pumpkin seeds.
- You can add more vegetables, such as carrots or cabbage, to bulk up your salad, if you like.
Creamy Cashew Salad Dressing
The dressing is so good that you might want to make a double batch of it to pour over other dishes. It’s great drizzled over just about any kind of roasted vegetable, poured onto baked potatoes, spread on sandwiches and wraps, or even dolloped on a Sunday morning tofu scramble. It’s so good I caught one of my cats trying to sample it!
Cashews are truly magical. Raw cashews can be mixed together with water and used to replace dairy in everything from desserts to cheese. I often wonder who discovered this amazing trick. Because I use them so often, I buy them in bulk. I store them in the freezer so that the natural oils they don’t contain won’t cause them to go rancid.
While creamy cashew recipes can be made with any type of cashews, the raw type is idea. Raw cashews are soft, and they have a mild flavor. Roasted cashews aren’t as soft, and they will give your recipe a roasted, almost burnt flavor. It's best to soak them in water for about 2 hours, to soften them and make them easier to blend. I have a Blendtec high speed blender, but I still soak mine.
Vegan Worcestershire Sauce
Worcestershire sauce is also added to the dressing for a touch of umami. Most brands contain anchovies, so they aren’t vegan. I like Annie’s Naturals, which is vegan.
Mellow White Miso
Miso paste is usually made from fermented soybeans, but I have seen chickpea miso, too. It comes in several varieties. Typically, the darker it is, the stronger and saltier the flavor. Two of the most common types are red miso and mellow white miso. I like using the mellow white kind for recipes like this salad dressing, because it adds flavor without overpowering the dish.
Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Creamy Cashew Dressing
For the Salad
- 1 large head cauliflower cut into bite-sized florets (about 5 cups)
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas drained and rinsed (or 1½ cups cooked chickpeas)
- 1 tablespoon neutral-flavored vegetable oil
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 large head leafy lettuce coarsely chopped (about 6 cups)
- 1 cup chopped fresh parsley loosely packed
- ¼ cup toasted pumpkin seeds
- Preheat the oven to 425° and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, toss the cauliflower florets with half of the oil and ¼ teaspoon each of the sea salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Spread the florets out on one of the baking sheets. Toss the chickpeas together with the rest of the oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Spread them out on the remaining baking sheet.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender and has browned and the chickpeas are crisp. Allow to cool slightly.
- While the cauliflower and chickpeas are roasting, mix together the dressing ingredients in a high-speed blender or food processer until smooth and creamy. If the mixture is too thick, add a little more water, a teaspoon at a time.
- Place the lettuce in a large bowl and top with cauliflower, chickpeas, and pumpkin seeds. Drizzle on the dressing and toss everything together. Top with the chopped parsley. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
More cauliflower recipes you might enjoy include:
More salad recipes you might enjoy include:
- Tahini and Tofu Kale Salad
- Asian Inspired Mandarin Orange Salad
- Classic Caesar Salad
- Roasted Ratatouille Salad