roast cauliflower, chickpea, Dijon and parsley salad
This roast cauliflower chickpea salad recipe perfectly illustrates the importance of balance in flavour and texture and will teach you new techniques for making vegetables the star of the show.
Why roasting cauliflower is a game changer
Roasted cauliflower is such a handy addition to meals. It has just the right amount of stodge to replace piles of rice and bread with curries, stews or roasts. Roasting dumbs down the more cabbagy undertones, forces out the moisture and allows the sweeter, toasty notes to sing. This makes it much more appealing to children or people who don’t usually like greens. And health wise, cauliflower has more vitamin c than broccoli and ticks the same boxes as leafy greens without being so…green.
Adding the dressing to the still hot vegetables means they suck in the flavour and taste even more delicious. Scroll down to get some different ideas for dressing flavours to help you serve this with all types of meals. Then you can eat this hot or at room temperature, making it great for picnics.
Why I love roasted chickpeas
Roasted chickpeas (garbanzo beans) are a bit of an obsession for me, and I posted this recipe for them a while ago. Either make them as part of another dish like this or toss them with oil and smoked paprika and roast them for 30-40 minutes at 400F for an amazing addition to any salad (they’d be great with the tabbouleh) or as a pre-dinner snack with drinks. They are also delicious on pitta with some of my red pepper houmus.
Cook once, eat twice
We have this as a side dish at least once every two weeks. Sometimes on its own, sometimes with the addition of carrots. Most often as a side for roast chicken or salmon. My boys love it. Leftovers are great for lunch the next day – my favourite way to chomp leftovers is to squish them onto toast with houmus and a few lemon-dressed greens.
Cauliflower and chickpea salad ingredients
(serves 4 as a side, 2 as a main):
Active prep time: 5-10 minutes. Cooking time: 30-40 minutes
a 400g (14oz) can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained well
1 head of cauliflower
4 tablespoons olive oil (3 for dressing 1 to cook with)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
a tablespoon white wine vinegar
30g (1 oz) flat leaf (Italian) parsley, basil or rocket (arugula)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Notes and other ideas:
- Serve at room temperature or warm
- Leftovers can be refreshed by being popped in the oven for 5 minutes
- Add broccoli to the cauliflower for the last 10 minutes of cooking to get a little more greenery in your dinner
- Replace the white wine vinegar with lime juice, leave out the Dijon and toss a little ground cumin or garam marsala through the cauliflower and chickpeas before roasting for an Indian version of this dish
- Add chilli flakes to the cauliflower before it roasts
- Add small chunks of carrot to roast alongside the cauliflower
- Use a little harissa in the dressing for more of a kick, use the end of a jar of harissa, add the vinegar and oil to it then shake to get all the last bits of harissa flavour
- Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan) 400°F (375°F convection).
- Remove the hard stem of the cauliflower. I do this by turning the cauliflower so the root is uppermost. Then use a sharp knife to cut a hexagon shape, around 2 inches deep around the root, angle your knife at 45 degrees as you cut and you will be able to pull the hexagon shape out, and with it the root. Break the head into florets, keep them big, around the size of a child’s fist – any smaller and they’ll burn. Watch my video below for how to do this. Keep the leaves, we’ll be using them too.
- Toss the cauliflower florets and leaves with the drained chickpeas and 1 tablespoon of the oil plus a big pinch of salt.
- Place on a large cookie sheet/baking tin ensuring it is well spread and not too crowded, and roast for around 30-40 minutes, tossing once in the middle of cooking, I find a spatula works best.
- While the cauliflower is cooking, make the dressing in a large bowl (big enough to hold the cauliflower and chickpeas later) or in an empty jam jar if you’re just going to drizzle it straight onto the tray. Whisk/shake together the remaining olive oil, vinegar, Dijon, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the acid and salt then add the chopped herbs or rocket (arugula).
- When the cauliflower is cooked it will be soft and golden brown with darker brown edges. The chickpeas will be crunchy and will rustle when you shake the pan. Remove from the oven and toss through the dressing. Taste again as the dressing will be diluted by the vegetables- add more vinegar, salt and pepper if needed. Serve warm.
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