Sicilian Cauliflower Salad, also known as “reinforcement salad” is super easy and made with simple pantry ingredients you may already have on hand.
The thing that I love most about Italian food and cooking is that hardly anything ever goes to waste. The Italians find creative ways to make everything stretch! This “reinforcement salad” exemplifies that no-waste philosophy!
What is Sicilian Cauliflower Salad (or Insalata Rinforzata):
Sicilian Cauliflower Salad (or Insalata Rinforzata) is often served at Christmastime in southern Italy and Sicily. I think it’s perfect at any time of the year and especially now because you can make it with things you may already have in your pantry. Best of all, it holds beautifully!
In the “old days,” it was customary to make this salad as an antipasto and then as the holiday season went on, additional vegetables or condiments would be added.
This version is inspired by Mary Ann Esposito of Ciao Italia on PBS who says that if any is leftover you can add things from your refrigerator like carrots or asparagus to give it new taste nuances.
No matter what you call it, I call it delicious!
How to make Sicilian Cauliflower Salad:
- Start with a large head of fresh cauliflower.
- Cut it into bite-sized florets.
- Blanch the florets in salted boiling water for 1 minute then cool in an ice bath.
- Add the other ingredients:
- Diced red onion
- Diced roasted red bell pepper
- Halved kalamata olives
- Diced sun-dried tomatoes
- Chopped fresh parsley
- Make a simple vinaigrette of olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice and garlic.
- Pour it over the salad, stir and voila!
So good and the perfect salad to make now! You could also add:
- Canned tuna
- Pepperoncini or cherry peppers
More cauliflower salads you’re sure to love!
- Cauliflower Antipasto Salad
- Cauliflower Artichoke Tabbouleh
- Warm Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Salad
Helpful tools and equipment (Affiliate Links):
- Salt, for cooking the cauliflower
- 1 large head of cauliflower, cut into small florets (7-8 cups)
- 1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped (approximately 3/4 cup)
- 1 jar (12-ounce) roasted red peppers in olive oil and garlic, drained and chopped
- 1/2 cup halved Kalamata olives
- 5 sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, drained and chopped (approximately 1/4 cup)
- 1/4 cup capers in brine, drained
- 1 can (15-ounce) chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
- 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar or to taste
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Prepare an ice bath.
- Working in batches, drop the cauliflower florets into the boiling water and cook 1 minute. Transfer to the ice bath. Repeat with remaining cauliflower florets. Drain well.
- Transfer cauliflower to a large mixing bowl.
- Add the next 8 ingredients (red onion to parsley). Stir to combine.
- Whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice and garlic in a small bowl. Pour over salad and mix well.
- Adjust seasoning with salt, black pepper and additional red wine vinegar if desired.
- Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 279Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 21gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 333mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 5gSugar: 5gProtein: 4g
The nutritional information above is computer-generated and only an estimate. Please do your own research with the products you're using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.