Warm Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Salad is Italian-inspired and makes a hearty vegetarian main course salad. It's also the perfect side dish for grilled meat, poultry or seafood.
Photographing this salad about drove me crazy (and yes, it's a short drive).
Food photography is like that. There are days everything falls into place--the lighting is perfect, you have the right props and the styling works without having to readjust the subject. And some days not.
The fact that I'm a perfectionist does not help matters.
After three attempts over three afternoons, it came down to either me or the salad winning this fight. If at first you don't succeed, try four times! I was determined to share this salad with you because I'm crazy about this salad!
Cauliflower roasted with nothing more than olive oil, salt and freshly cracked black pepper by itself is to die for. Combining that beautiful, slightly caramelized roasted cauliflower with the other flavorful ingredients is downright sublime!
Along with the cauliflower, this salad has roasted red bell pepper, olives, capers, sundried tomatoes, garlic, fresh parsley, fresh oregano and red wine vinegar. Chickpeas add texture and for a hearty vegetarian main course salad, add protein.
I had intended for this salad to be served cold or room temperature, however, when the cauliflower came out of the oven, I could not wait for it to cool. I combined it with the other ingredients that were ready and waiting and....wow!
Tips for keeping a well-stock pantry:
I love to keep a well-stocked pantry with ingredients such as those used here:
- Roasted red bell peppers in olive oil and garlic and roasted red bell peppers in water
- Sundried tomatoes (both packaged dry and in olive oil)
- Various varieties of olives
- Chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) and other canned beans
- Vinegar of numerous varieties
- Various forms of canned tomatoes
- Pasta, rice, grains, lentils, etc.
- Good-quality, low-sodium canned broth
- Various ethnic ingredients
When you keep a well-stocked pantry, you can create great meals on the fly. Just add fresh ingredients like vegetables and herbs and you're ready to roll!
Check out my Massaged Kale Antipasto Salad for another great salad made with ingredients you may already have.
So that the cauliflower does not cool off too quickly prior to serving, make sure all your ingredients are room temperature. If you really want to be frugal, reserve the oil from the roasted red peppers to use in the dressing. I went with a fruity and robust extra virgin olive oil.
Be sure to check out these other great cauliflower salads:
Warm Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Salad
- 1 large head cauliflower - separated into florets
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil - plus ¼ cup or as needed
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper - to taste
- ½ small red onion - cut vertically into slivers
- 3 cloves garlic - minced
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
- 1 can (15-ounce) chickpeas - drained and rinsed
- 1 jar (12-ounce) roasted red bell peppers in olive oil and garlic - drained and thinly sliced
- 5 sundried tomatoes in oil - coarsely chopped
- ½ cup pitted and halved Kalamata olives
- 3 tablespoons capers - drained
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar - or to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Toss cauliflower with 2 tablespoons olive oil and season to taste with salt and black pepper. Place on a baking sheet and roast for approximately 25 minutes, stirring once or twice. The cauliflower should be nicely browned in places and just tender.
- Meanwhile, combine the other ingredients except for the olive oil in a large bowl.
- When the cauliflower is finished, fold it into the other ingredient, drizzle with remaining olive oil as needed and serve immediately.
These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you're using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.
This salad is Fantastic. Cauliflower is bland and needs a little help, and this salad brightens it right up. So flavorful and easy to put together. My family devoured it last night. Thank you. Love your recipes!!
Hi, Linda and thanks so very much! Glad you and your family enjoyed! Agree about cauliflower but I think the blandness actually makes it a blank culinary canvas that can be flavored almost any way. Thanks again and it means A LOT to me that you love my recipes!
I made this for dinner, definitely a company-worthy side dish. Lovely flavours, simple to make. Made the dressing, chickpeas and onions early so once the cauliflower was roasted I just put in the bowl and took to the table. Delicious!
Hi, this looks amazing. If I'm serving it warm, I would assume you would recommend heating the chickpeas other ingredients before mixing in the roasted cauliflower. Any suggestions?
Hi, Bonnie, Thanks so much for your great question. Have everything at room temperature. When the cauliflower comes out of the oven, it will warm everything up. I realize the ingredients can cool the cauliflower down, but you don't want it super piping hot--just nice and warm. Thanks again and hope you enjoy!
Ginny Pearson says
This is a delicious and healthy salad. It would be a great addition to any meal.
Hi, Ginny! Thank you so much and so glad you enjoyed! Please stay in touch!
This is very clean and delicious! I have made this many times already and it's one of my favorite go-to lunches! Thanks a bunch!
Thanks so much, Maggie! Glad you love this salad as much as I do and please stay in touch!
Karen @ Seasonal Cravings says
I just recently tried warm chickpeas and they are so good! Something about warming them and adding some spice brings out all new flavors. Can't wait to give this recipe a spin.
Nicoletta @sugarlovespices says
I love this kind of meals. I'm with you, if your pantry is well stocked, just add fresh vegetables and herbs and you can create a tasty well balanced dish. A good quality cold pressed extra virgin olive oil is a must in salads (and not only, but I might be partial 😉 ). Beautiful pictures, Carol!
Thalia @ butter and brioche says
i am so making this salad tomorrow for lunch. i adore roasted cauliflower - and chickpeas too, but surprisingly haven't tried them together. thanks for the idea!
Hi, Thalia, Good to hear from you again! So far the reviews are good! I was tagged on Instagram by someone who made it and she called it "Amazing!" Hope you feel the same way!