This raw cauliflower recipe has it all going on….crunchy, salty, chewy, sweet….tasty, nutritious, and easy to make. You’ll take this healthy cauliflower salad to every BBQ, Potluck, Picnic…and make it for meal prep every single week. It’s that good!
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Oh, it’s been a hot minute since I was OBSESSED with a salad. I’ve been crushing hard on this raw cauliflower salad. Why? Charisma baby….yeah, I just described a salad with a personality word! LOL.
Food has the power to make us feel good….both while we are eating it, and afterwards too. Kinda like being with a friend that is alluring and confident….but still makes you feel good about yourself too. This cauliflower salad has that “it” factor that makes me keep coming back for more…plus no food coma….yeah, the feel good lasts and lasts.
It’s no secret that I adore cauliflower. It’s nutritious and totally adaptable. I roast it for a low carb hummus, cauliflower steaks or whole roasted cauliflower. It is perfect to substitute for grains as a simple cauliflower rice, grain-free tabbouleh, or low-carb onion rolls. Other favorite healthy cauliflower recipes include Cauliflower leek soup, cauliflower red lentil soup, roasted cauliflower salad and cauliflower kugel.
I’ll never give up on my favorite cauliflower recipes, but I’m going to take a moment….or 2…with this Raw Cauliflower Salad Recipe …the feel good factor is addictive!
Why you will love this cauliflower salad
- Super easy to make….I bet you can do it in 10 minutes.
- It’s crunchy….and stays that way even after it’s been dressed.
- Perfect for meal prep….it’s a great make ahead salad.
- That lime….so tangy in all the right ways.
- Versatile….you can substitute what you have for the supporting veggies.
- High in fiber….will help to keep you regular and your gut flora diverse.
- Delish and satisfying….unreal for a vegan salad.
- Fresh. Super fresh tasting.
- Ingredients are easy to find and available year round.
- A healthy salad…with no compromise….you’ll want to eat it because it’s so good.
- EVERYONE can enjoy it. Compliant for Whole30, Paleo, Vegan, Gluten and Grain-free.
How to buy and store cauliflower
- Look for fresh cauliflower in your local farmers market or at the grocery store.
- Look for cauliflower with densely packed florets without blemishes, wet spots or browning.
- Give the leaves a look. They should be fresh and bright. If they’re already wilting, it’s a sign the cauliflower isn’t fresh.
- A head of cauliflower is dense, and should feel heavy for its size.
- Cauliflower comes in different shades of creamy white, yellow and purple.
- It can be stored in the fridge in an unsealed plastic bag for a couple of weeks.
Ingredients for Raw Cauliflower Salad and Substitutions
- CAULIFLOWER: I used orange cauliflower in these photos. Orange and purple cauliflower are higher in antioxidants than the regular white cauliflower. However, if you need to save prep time, buy already riced cauliflower in white. Seriously though, it took me about 3 minutes to cut by hand. No cauliflower? Substitute broccoli….just be sure it’s VERY firm.
- CABBAGE: If you use purple cauliflower, then choose green cabbage. This ingredient is part of the crunch, so if you don’t use cabbage, pick another crunchy veggie like carrots…which also come in purple..YAY.
- GREEN PEAS: Frozen is the way to go here. They’re flash frozen when the peas are at their peak ripeness, so they don’t lose any of their nutrition. If you’re looking for a substitution, go with shelled edamame beans or chickpeas. Oh, but don’t forget the half bag you have in your freezer that you bought to make pasta salad.
- CELERY: Adds to the crunch…so choose your sub accordingly. Bok Choy works well. I also like raw fennel here.
- SCALLIONS: Sometimes you can find purple spring onions…so much fun! If they’re much thicker than scallions, chop after the thin slice. Thinly sliced shallots or purple onions would also work. You could even substitute fresh chives.
- FRESH PARSLEY: Fresh herbs really add to the flavor of this salad. Good subs would be cilantro, dill, basil, oregano….or any combo.
- PISTACHIOS: You can use any chopped nut in this recipe. Almonds, walnuts, pecans or hazelnuts would all be delish. If you can’t have nuts, use pepitas or sunflower seeds. Hemp seeds will also add some protein and healthy fats, but won’t provide the same crunch.
- DATES: I absolutely LOVE the sweetness and chewy texture the dates add. Consider raisins, golden raisins, unsweetened cranberries or another unsulfered and unsweetened dried fruit.
- LIME VINAIGRETTE: Oh…this is the crown jewel….with just the right tang. No lime? Substitute lemon or orange.
How to make this cauliflower salad
First you’ll need to prep the cauliflower. I used a sharp knife and cut it into super thin slices that mostly fell apart and also left a few very small and thin florets. You could also use the shredding disc of a food processor or the side of a box grater.
Put the cauliflower into a large bowl and sprinkle with salt and pepper. While you get the remaining ingredients ready, the salt will begin to soften the cauliflower making it very palatable to eat, even raw.
The dressing is super easy to make with simple ingredients. Over a small bowl with olive oil, use a microplane grater for both the lime zest and the garlic. If your lime isn’t very juicy, you may need 2 to equal 1/4 cup. Thinly slice the shallot. Either whisk all ingredients together or use a small jar with a lid to vigorously shake until well mixed. The shallot will mellow and develop a tangy sweetness from the lime juice while you’re making the rest of the salad.
Ok. You’re just about done! Load up all the ingredients into the bowl where the cauliflower was marinating in the salt and pepper. Pour on the dressing and toss until well mixed. You’re going to want a little bit of everything in every single bite.
Debra’s Pro Tips
- Make at least a couple hours in advance so the flavors can intensify and the cauliflower can soften.
- If you’re making in advance, add the nuts just before serving.
- Prep all ingredients a few days in advance and store in the fridge.
- Roll your lime around on the counter with a firm touch to get the juice ready to squeeze. If your lime isn’t too juicy, you’ll want to use 2!
- Add some white pepper or a pinch of cayenne to the dressing if you like some heat.
- Need to save time? There’s no shame in pulling out a bag of frozen cauli-rice.
- Make this your signature dish to bring to every pot-luck, BBQ, picnic, or party.
MEAL PREP AND STORAGE
- SERVE: Cold or at room temperature. Serve as a side salad or a main dish.
- PREP AHEAD: This salad gets better as it sits. Prep components ahead or entire salad can be made and stored in the fridge until ready to serve.
- STORE: Store in tightly sealed container in the fridge for up to a week.
- FREEZE: Although you can substitute frozen cauliflower rice for whole cut up cauliflower in this recipe, the completed salad doesn’t freeze well.
More Vegan Meal Prep Recipes:
- Tuscan Kale Chopped Salad
- Cauliflower Soup with Red Lentils
- Crunchy Baked Granola Bars
- Southwest Quinoa Salad
- Vegan Shepherd’s Pie
- 5-minute vegan tuna salad
- Morning glory Vegan Muffins
- Quinoa Breakfast Bake
- Vegan Pasta Salad
- Stuffed Peppers
- Vanilla Chia Pudding
Cauliflower Salad FAQs
Absolutely! Raw cauliflower keep most of the antioxidants and nutrients too. Cutting it into small pieces will make it easier to digest.
Yes. It’s high in fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. It’s also nutrient dense…meaning low in calories while high in nutrition. It’s good for memory, strong bones and can help relieve constipation.
Yes! Raw cauliflower is highly nutritious. Some people have a hard time digesting raw cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, and wind up with bloating and gas. If this happens to you, give your body time to adjust to raw foods by eating small amounts at first.
- 1 medium head of cauliflower
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 cups chopped purple cabbage
- 1 bunch scallions, white and green parts sliced thin
- 2 large stalks celery, diced
- 1/3 cup chopped pistachios
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley*
- 1 1/2 cups frozen green peas*
- 3 medjool dates, pits removed and diced
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 lime, zested and juiced*
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 small shallot, thinly sliced
- Prep the cauliflower. Use a sharp knife to cut cauliflower in half. Trim off leaves and wash well. Pat dry and then "shave" cauliflower by making super thin slices. You can also use the shredding disc of your food processor for this task. Place shaved cauliflower in a large bowl, sprinkle with salt and pepper and set aside.
- Make the dressing: Add olive oil to small bowl. Thinly slice shallot and chop any large pieces, then add to the bowl. Use a microplane grater to zest the lime over the bowl and then juice of the lime over the bowl. Zest the garlic clove into the bowl. Use a whisk to mix well. Alternately, place all ingredients in glass jar with tight fitting lid and shake vigorously. Set dressing aside so shallots will soften while you get the rest of the salad ready.
- To the bowl with the cauliflower, add roughly chopped cabbage, sliced scallions, diced celery, chopped pistachios, chopped fresh parsley, peas and diced dates.
- Toss salad together, add dressing and mix well. Serve at room temperature or refrigerate and serve cold.
CAULIFLOWER: Orange, white or purple...any color cauliflower works well. If you want to save time, go ahead and use already riced cauliflower. You'll need about 4 cups or 16 ounces.
PARSLEY: Use at least 1/2 cup fresh chopped herbs. Pasley, dill, cilantro, oregano, mint are all good choices and a combination of whatever you have/like is also fine. Err on the side of more, rather than less.
PEAS: Use frozen, not canned. You can substitute shelled edamame or any other legume. IF making for passover, just skip the peas.
DRESSING: If your lime doesn't bring out at least 1/4 cup juice, use the juice of 2 limes for a tasty, tangy salad.
MAKE AHEAD: Store salad---minus the pistachios and dressing separately, toss and add in pistachios before serving.
SALAD will stay good in the fridge for up to a week, but once dressed, it will taste best within the first 3 days. Flavors will merge and intensify after a few hours and not wilt. It's OK to leave out at room temperature for a few hours.
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Amount Per Serving Calories 234Total Fat 13gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 11gCholesterol 0mgSodium 249mgCarbohydrates 22gFiber 8gSugar 12gProtein 7g
The nutrition calculations were done using online tools. To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in any given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients you used. You are ultimately responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information is accurate, complete and useful.