Think you don’t like cauliflower? Think again! This Sumac Roasted Cauliflower Salad takes cauliflower to a whole new level. Paired with Medjool dates, pomegranate and mint and parsley this beautiful salad is an explosion of flavours and textures.
Cauliflower is a wonderful blank canvas. As anyone familiar with cauliflower cream sauces and cauliflower pizzas knows.
Like many people I grew up with steamed or boiled cauliflower and developed an intense dislike for it. It always seemed watery without any real flavour. And it smelled horrible while it was cooking too!
But roasted cauliflower is a wonderful thing. Roasting brings out its natural sweetness as it caramelises. Roasted cauliflower becomes nutty, buttery and it is a world apart from its boring steamed and mushy counterpart.
If you don’t like cauliflower, but haven’t tried it roasted I urge you to try it! You won’t regret it!
As cauliflower increases in flavour complexity from roasting it also becomes a wonderful partner to other flavours. Think garlic, lemon and herbs. Here I’ve used Sumac, a ground Middle Eastern berry, that is tart and sharp in flavour, not dissimilar to lemon. In fact, it was used by the ancient Romans until they discovered lemons!
Partnering with the sumac roasted cauliflower is a salad of chickpeas, red onion, Medjool dates, mint and parsley. The dressing is made from lemon that is roasted with the cauliflower, to bring out it’s natural sweetness, olive oil, garlic, cumin and a touch of tahini.
The finishing touch is toasted pistachios and ruby jewelled pomegranate seeds for a gorgeous salad that wouldn’t be amiss as part of a typical Australian Christmas feast!
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Sumac Roasted Cauliflower Salad
Serves 2 to 3 as a light lunch or up to 6 as a side salad.
- 600 g cauliflower cut into small pieces (1 1/3 pounds)
- 1 lemon halved
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1 1/2 tsp ground sumac
- 1 small garlic clove minced
- 3-4 tbs extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp tahini
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas
- 1/4 red onion finely diced
- 5 Medjool dates finely chopped
- 2 cups parsley leaves picked
- 1 1/2 cups mint leaves
- 1/3 cup pistachios toasted and roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
Preheat the oven to 180 celsius (350 Fahrenheit) and place the cauliflower in a bowl along with the olive oil and sumac. Toss to coat and season with salt. Place on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and roast along with the halved lemon for 30 to 40 minutes or until the edges start to turn golden. Leave to cool.
While the lemon is still hot juice it. Discarding and seeds. Some of the pulp will come out, keep this as we'll use it in the dressing. Add the garlic (the heat from the lemon will help cook it and remove some of its pungent heat) and add the cumin and tahini. Mix well to combine. When it has cooled add the extra virgin olive oil and mix well and season with salt and pepper.
Place the chickpeas in a bowl along with the red onion and Medjool dates. Roughly chop half the mint and parsley leaves and add to the bowl. Leaving the rest of the leaves intact. Add the cooled cauliflower and dressing and toss to combine. Season to taste
When you're ready to serve add the remaining mint and parsley leaves and toss before placing in a serving bowl. Scatter the top with the pomegranate seeds and pistachios and serve immediately.