Delicious paprika roasted cauliflower served over peppery arugula with a simple shallot vinaigrette for an amazing cauliflower salad. It’s vegan, gluten-free, paleo and whole30 compliant…pass it off as a veggie side or a salad….whatever hole in your menu you need to fill.
Get out of your salad rut with this amazing cauliflower salad. I’m here to show you the way to a super easy, enormously tasty, highly nutritious and anything but boring salad.
This is by far our favorite way to enjoy cauliflower. Most of the time, the roasted cauliflower is stolen directly off the tray when it comes out of the oven! Once to you taste a bite, you’ll know just how addictive and delicious this is.
It’s my “go to” when we have guests (remember that?) equally for the beautiful presentation and because it’s so tasty…and a fun way to get in some veggies for those who aren’t regular veggie fans.
Seriously, is there anything cauliflower can’t do? In addition to this cauliflower salad, I use it for 2 different tabbouleh recipes, in leek soup instead of potatoes, in low-carb rolls and mashed potatoes. I roast it whole and roast it for hummus without beans and in every flavor combo imaginable for cauli-rice. It’s so nutritious and I love how adaptable it is to whatever flavor profile or texture I need it to represent.
Why you will love this recipe
- It’s beautiful. Yes, I know….but we eat with our eyes first, so presentation is important.
- You can add some plant-based protein in the form of nuts or beans and call it dinner.
- Get out of your salad rut! This is super simple to make….but also creative and interesting. Definitely not a boring salad.
- Need a gluten-free side dish?
- So flavorful…I bet you can’t take just one bite!
- Meal prep friendly
- Shallot vinaigrette….for the easy salad dressing win!
Simple ingredients for tasty Roasted Cauliflower.
I like to roast my cauliflower with paprika. Not only does it supply an abundance of flavor, but it also gives the roasted cauliflower a gorgeous orange color. If you don’t have paprika, can’t eat it, or don’t like it, no worries. You can make this with olive oil and just salt and pepper. It’s really that simple.
How to Cut Cauliflower into Florets
- Cut cauliflower in half from the top center, down.
- Work with one half at a time. Cut the bottom, including any leaves, away from the florets.
- Separate into larger pieces.
- Cut between stems to create smaller pieces. Then, repeat on other half.
How to Roast Cauliflower
- Place cauliflower florets on a large rimmed baking tray in a SINGLE LAYER. This is super important. If the cauliflower is overcrowded, it will steam rather than get crisp. Use two trays if needed.
- Drizzle olive oil over cauliflower, mix well to evenly distribute oil so the spices will stick everywhere.
- Sprinkle spices (paprika, salt and white pepper) over cauliflower and mix until evenly distributed.
- Roast in 450 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, until crisp.
4-steps to a Finely Diced Shallot
Shallots are a superstar when making dressing. They’re not as strong as onions, but still offer some great flavor. When combined with vinegar, they get a bit sweet too. Follow these 4 steps for a quick small dice.
- Cut shallot in half, through the stem.
- Remove any papery skin that is still on the shallot. Lay half the shallot down on the flat, cut side. Starting from the bottom, make three cuts TOWARD the root end, parallel to the cutting board.
- Turn the shallot half so the root end is facing away from you. Make thin cuts from the root end (BUT DON’T CUT ALL THE WAY THROUGH THE ROOT) to the other point.
- Turn the shallot so the root end is at your left (unless you’re left handed, then reverse) and cut from the opposite end, towards the root, in thin strips. Repeat with remaining half.
Easy Vinaigrette for Cauliflower Salad
This shallot infused vinaigrette brings out the savory peppery flavors in the arugula beautifully. It’s so easy to make, it will become your “go to” for everything from roasted veggies to quick and easy salads…and everything in between
- Whisk together apple cider vinegar and mustard.
- Add in salt and pepper and mix well.
- Whisk in the finely chopped shallots.
- Pour in half the oil and whisk well. Add remaining oil and whisk until emulsified. Alternately, place all ingredients in a jar with tight fitting lid and shake vigorously until emulsified.
Easy Cauliflower Salad
You can serve this salad in a large bowl, or use a platter for a beautiful presentation.
- Place arugula in a large bowl. Drizzle with 2 Tablespoons of dressing and mix well. Use more if desired, but the goal is just to barely coat the arugula so it’s not dry.
- Arrange dressed arugula on serving platter.
- Use the same bowl to dress cauliflower. 1-2 Tablespoons of dressing should be sufficient.
- Pile roasted cauliflower in the center of platter with the arugula.
Debra’s Pro Tips
- Make double the cauliflower if you want to have enough for the salad. If your family is anything like mine, they’ll be grabbing it straight from the baking tray.
- Make a double batch of the roasted cauliflower to serve as a side dish…as is.
- Double the dressing recipe and store in the fridge for other salads this week.
- MAKE IT A MEAL: add in some chickpeas when roasting the cauliflower or some nuts (or both) for some plant-based protein and call this dinner.
- Look for full size, loose arugula, it’s more peppery than the baby arugula you find in bags or boxes. The best place to find fresh arugula is at a farmers market, when in season.
- Make sure the cauliflower fits in a single layer on your baking tray, if you want it to crisp up. Also, lay it on the tray cut side down for a crisp bottom.
- MEAL PREP: Make the dressing ahead and store in the fridge. It will stay good for 2 weeks. Roast the cauliflower several hours ahead and leave at room temp. OR, roast the cauliflower a day or two before. Bring to room temp or gently reheat before putting salad together.
Is Cauliflower Salad good for you?
YES! Cauliflower is super nutritious and so is arugula!
- CAULIFLOWER: Cauliflower is a nutrient dense member of the cruciferous vegetable family. ! It’s high in fiber, rich in antioxidants and low in carbs and calories. Cauliflower also contains Vitamin C, E and manganese.
- ARUGULA: Arugula is actually a cruciferous vegetable and has similar health benefits to other veggies in that family, which includes broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage and kale. Plus, arugula is high in calcium and vitamin K—key nutrients for bone health.
- CRUCIFEROUS VEGGIES: Known as health protective foods. They’re anti-inflammatory and can help reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.
More delicious cauliflower recipes:
- Cauliflower Steaks with Chimichurri
- Cauliflower Leek Soup
- Basic Cauliflower Rice
- Cauliflower Onion Rolls
- Cauliflower Hummus
- Cauli-rice with asparagus
- Mediterranean Cauli-rice
- Mexican Cauliflower Rice
- Cauli-rice stuffed mushrooms
- Cauliflower Red Lentil Soup
- Whole Roasted Cauliflower
Roasted Cauliflower over Arugula
- 1 head cauliflower
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 ½ teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
- ½ teaspoon white pepper*
- 2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard*
- ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon white pepper
- 1 shallot minced
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 4 cups arugula*
- Preheat oven to 450
- Cut cauliflower into florets and place in a single layer on large rimmed baking sheet. Use 2 trays, if needed, so the cauliflower fits in one layer.
- Drizzle cauliflower with olive oil and mix well, so oil is evenly distributed. Mix paprika with salt and pepper, sprinkle spice mixture over the cauliflower, and mix thoroughly. It’s easier (and messier) to do this with your hands, but you could also use a large pair of tongs. Place cut sides down, where you can. The underside will crisp up when roasted.
- Roast for 15-20 minutes, until crisp on the edges and tender inside.
- Meanwhile, make dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar and mustard. Then add in spices and whisk. Cut shallot into small dice and whisk into mixture. Last, add in the oil and continue to whisk, until fully incorporated. Alternately, place all ingredients into a small jar with right fitting lid and shake vigorously until mixture is emulsified.
- Place arugula in bowl and toss with 2 Tablespoons dressing. Arrange on a serving platter. No need to wash the bowl. Next add the roasted cauliflower to the bowl and toss with 1-2 Tablespoons dressing. Add cauliflower to the platter with arugula.