October 30, 2008

Roasted cauliflower salad

The photo does not do this justice, but this delicious recipe is from our middle son, Aaron. He's a fabulous cook but it's a little hard to pin him down on quantities as he moves very fast and doesn't measure. As I ran after him with a pen and notebook, the conversation went something like this.

me, "How many walnuts did you just put in there?"
Aaron, "I don't know."
me, "Would you say maybe a half cup?"
Aaron, "I don't know."
me, "a whole cup?"
Aaron, "Maybe. I don't know. They made a single layer in the pan."
me, "Well. Let's say a half cup."

And so on. Aaron is the sort of cook who has a mortar and pestle at home so he can grind his own herbs and spices so they will be FRESH. He requests cooking equipment for his birthday. He cooks by instinct, and everything he makes tastes amazing. This excellent dish is no exception. It was delicious and easy to make. Try it. You won't be sorry. I did my best to translate the recipe but I'm sure there's plenty of wiggle room in there for personal creativity.

We used a purple cauliflower because that's what we had from our CSA, but Aaron normally uses a white one. Aaron also made a chick pea salad, and we had bread that I had made earlier from a no-knead dough that I keep in the fridge. (will post some day...)

Roasted cauliflower salad
  • one large head of white or purple cauliflower, cut into chunks
  • olive oil for coating cauliflower
  • about three ounces arugula
  • one medium red onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup walnut halves, toasted (maybe one cup—personal decision)
Dressing (or use your favorite vinaigrette)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • one tablespoon agavé syrup (or other sweetener)
  • two cloves garlic, finely minced
  • two tablespoons fresh minced herbs of choice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Place the cauliflower in a large cast iron (or other) pan. Toss with a tablespoon or two of olive oil to coat. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste, if desired.
  2. Roast in 450˚ oven for 20 minutes. Stir, then roast for 25 minutes more or until the cauliflower has softened and turned brown around the edges. When cauliflower is almost done, add garlic and roast a few minutes more, to remove the raw taste. Or, use raw in the finished salad if you prefer.
  3. While cauliflower is roasting, toast the walnuts in a heavy pan until fragrant and toasty.
  4. Whisk the dressing ingredients together. (with a fork or whisk)
  5. Put arugula, onion, and walnuts into a serving bowl. Add the cauliflower and mix together to wilt the greens slightly. Add the dressing and toss all together.
This dinner served four generously. It tasted REALLY great. Thumbs up for roasted cauliflower.


  1. I wish I could cook like Aaron and everything would turn out amazing. I eat roasted cauliflower like popcorn, but I like this fancy purple version. It's very pretty, and the whole plate looks lovely. Does your son come cook for you often? I love when my son wants to cook with me.

  2. I wish my son cooked for me often but he lives in Seattle and we live in Wisconsin.


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