home cooked dinners by the season

Caramelized Cauliflower and Arugula Salad

Caramelized Cauliflower and Arugula Salad

Cauliflower replaced kale as the darling of trendy vegetables awhile ago, but it’s still going strong at my house. What’s not to love about a healthy vegetable that is easy to cook and can be seasoned in countless ways? Admittedly though, roasting is the only way I cook cauliflower, most likely because as a kid it was served to me steamed or boiled with the texture and flavor beaten out it. Precisely why the trend of roasting vegetables shed an entire new light on it.  And I for one am thankful for that.

As the cook, roasted cauliflower is like a dependable, easy going friend. Once cut into “florets” (as the little tree tops are called) it can be lightly tossed in olive oil, seasoned and left to sit on a roasting pan until you’re ready to pop it in the oven. Whether it’s cooked just until soft, a little crunchy or slightly overdone it is still very likable. Best of all, it can sit around waiting for you and not suffer as much as many vegetables would. This is precisely why I like using roasted cauliflower in a salad.

Peppery flavored arugula, crunchy cooked farro, roasted almonds and sweet tiny black dried currants team up with roasted caramelized cauliflower in this salad that can stand on its own as a main dish or be served as a side. You might be tempted to leave out the currants thinking “ah what do they really add being so tiny and all” – but don’t! They add just the right amount of sweet to all the savory ingredients.

And the lemony vinaigrette made with fresh lemon juice and zest and a touch of honey is worth the few minutes it takes to whisk it together and should not be missed as what ties all the ingredients together. I wrote this recipe using the option of goat cheese, sheep’s milk feta or Manchego cheese because of the many people in my life who are avoiding cow dairy products. I have also made this salad many times and not added cheese.

Caramelized Cauliflower and Arugula Salad
Serves: 4 servings
  • Lemon vinaigrette (below)
  • 1 medium size head cauliflower (about 5-6 cups florets)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 5 ounces arugula (or 12 cups lightly packed)
  • 1 cup cooked farro (see notes)
  • ½ cup toasted sliced almonds or chopped whole almonds
  • ½ cup currants
  • 1 cup crumbled goat cheese, feta or grated Manchego cheese
  1. Lemon vinaigrette: whisk together: 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest, 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, ½ cup olive oil and kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Remove the leaves and core from the cauliflower and cut into 1 to 1-1/2 inch florets. Toss with olive oil then spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Roast until cauliflower is lightly browned and soft but still a little crisp, turning once, about 25 to 30 minutes. Allow cooling to room temperature.
  3. In a large bowl, toss arugula with lemon vinaigrette. Add farro, almonds, currants, cheese and cooled roasted cauliflower and toss again.
Precooked farro is available in many grocery stores.

To cook farro yourself, rinse ½ cup farro in a fine meshed strainer then combine with 1-1/2 cups water and a pinch of salt in a saucepan; bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook until tender but still with a little crunch, about 25 to 30 minutes. Drain well and spread out on a basking sheet to cool to room temperature. Farro can be cooked ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator several days.



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24 thoughts on “Caramelized Cauliflower and Arugula Salad”

  • Linda,
    This recipe sounds amazing! I hope you’ll give me permission to add it to my recipe set for a class that I teach at the YMCA.
    It’ll be a great addition for the summer menu.


    • It’s great to hear from you JoAnne and I’m glad the recipe will make it on your class list. Yes feel free to use it and if you’d give your students my blog URL that would’ve great. Thank you!

  • Linda, this was excellent! I used chevre and couldn’t have been happier. It is definitely a keeper. Xxoo

  • I just made this delicious salad last night for a large group and there wasn’t a crumb left in the bowl. Everyone had seconds and absolutely loved it!

  • This turned out great!. One of the things I’ve come to appreciate about working from home is I can actually make things and allow them to cool as directed! I just did this bit by bit all afternoon as I was taking breaks from sitting at the computer. I used pearled barley because it’s what I had, and I added a couple of roasted beets because they were staring at me from the veggie bin saying, Use Us!! I also doubled the dressing so I would have it around for the rest of the week. This is definitely going into regular rotation.

    • Thank you for your comments! This has been a very popular recipe and I am glad to hear it will be in your regular rotation. I love that you made extra dressing to use the rest of the week.

    • Thanks for letting me know your substitutions. I am all for subbing ingredients if they work and if it means you will make the recipe. 🙂

  • I have made this about 8 times since discovering the recipe a few months ago. I’ve substituted pearled barley when I didn’t have farro around, and used almonds, pumpkin seeds, and pine nuts too, depending on how the pantry is holding up. It’s been a hit at many an event! Since we are vegan, I’ve also subbed both Miyoko’s classic chive and garlic herb nut cheeses, and it’s been great with both. The dressing is so good, and there’s plenty of it, so we use it on other salads throughout the week. Thanks for a new winner in my repertoire!

    • Anne-Marie:
      Thank you for taking the time to comment – I very much appreciate it. This salad has become a favorite for so many readers and I am glad! Healthy and tasty are my goals with recipes – and of course as easy as possible.

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