Our Mediterranean-inspired cauliflower salad is a tasty, creamy, and wholesome recipe made with simple ingredients.

Imagine slightly charred roasted cauliflower paired with nutty chickpeas, spiced with cumin, tossed with a creamy tahini dressing, and plenty of fresh lemon juice.

Creamy, earthy, nutty, and flavorful, this cauliflower salad is a Mediterranean-inspired recipe that will leave you nourished and satisfied.

Cauliflower salad with pomegranate seeds

The salad is easy to prepare, and you can make it in the time it takes to roast the cauliflower.

Our tip? Add a can of chickpeas on the same baking tray and season with a teaspoon of cumin.

The nuttiness of roasted chickpeas and the tender-crisp cauliflower paired with the cumin aroma make this cauliflower salad recipe irresistible!

Uh, don’t forget to toss everything with a creamy tahini sauce and plenty of fresh lemon juice. They are the perfect flavor-match with roasted cauliflower.

Cauliflower salad on a white plate

Ingredients & Substitutions

Cauliflower salad ingredients

Cauliflower

Pick a large fresh cauliflower head.

Frozen cauliflower can be used, but it is not the best for this recipe because it gets too soft for our taste.

You’ll need extra virgin olive oil, salt, cumin, paprika, black pepper, and garlic to roast the cauliflower.

Chickpeas

You can use drained and rinsed canned chickpeas or dry chickpeas that you cook at home.

We roast the chickpeas with the cauliflower to make them a little crisp and extra tasty.

For dry chickpeas, soak them for 8 to 12 hours in plenty of water with a teaspoon of salt.

Then, change the water and boil them for about 1 to 2 hours or until tender.

Substitute cannellini beans or lentils for chickpeas; they should not be roasted though.

Parsley

We use fresh flat-leaf parsley, which is the variety people use in Mediterranean countries.

You can also use fresh dill, chives, coriander, or mint leaves.

Fresh lemon juice

Lots of it! Adjust based on your taste, of course.

Tahini Sauce

You’ll need tahini, freshly squeezed lemon juice, crushed garlic, salt, and water.

Note: The quality of your tahini will make all the difference here. Try to get one made with 100% hulled sesame seeds. It should be runny, not thick like a paste, and have a light color. Ideally, tahini should come from a country like Lebanon or Palestine. We find that those are the best!

Garnish & Add-Ins

To garnish, pick one or two ingredients from:

  • Pomegranate seeds
  • Toasted shaved almonds
  • Toasted pinenuts
  • Crushed walnuts
  • Pomegranate molasses.
  • Pickled red onions.

These are some of our favorite add-ins:

  • Diced cherry tomatoes
  • Diced red bell peppers
  • Chopped olives.
  • Chopped spinach.
cauliflower salad with cherry tomatoes and spinach

How to make cauliflower salad

Preheat the oven to 400°F or 200°C.

Cut the cauliflower into florets with a paring knife and add them to a baking sheet.

Add drained and rinsed canned chickpeas and crushed garlic, then season with extra virgin olive oil, ground cumin, paprika, salt, and black pepper.

Toss, arrange on a single layer, and bake for 20 to 30 minutes until the cauliflower is tender-crisp and slightly charred.

Cauliflower and chickpeas on a baking tray

While the cauliflower roasts make the tahini sauce.

Add tahini, freshly squeezed lemon juice, a peeled and crushed garlic clove, water, and salt to a small bowl.

Whisk until the ingredients turn creamy.

Tahini sauce with a spoon

Add the roasted cauliflower and chickpeas to a large mixing bowl.

Add the tahini sauce, the juice of at least 1 squeezed lemon (add more to taste), and chopped parsley.

Toss well, then garnish with pomegranate seeds and a sprinkle of parsley.

Cauliflower salad on a white plate with lemon

Variations

Cauliflower and tomato salad

creamy cauliflower and tomato salad

Mix in halved cherry or plum tomatoes, sprinkle with toasted pinenuts and enjoy this delicious recipe.

Cauliflower lentil salad

lentil and cauliflower salad

Cauliflower lentil salad is another Mediterranean-inspired salad we make with roasted cauliflower and lentils.

In this recipe, we use a fresh and bright dressing we make with ground cumin, freshly squeezed lemon, minced garlic, and olive oil.

Check out our cauliflower lentil salad recipe.

Serving Suggestions

You can serve this Mediterranean cauliflower salad as a starter, main dish, or side dish. You can also make it ahead and bring it to potlucks and picnics.

Roasted cauliflower salad is best served at room temperature, so if you store it in the fridge, take it out 15 to 30 minutes before eating.

Our favorite way of serving it is as an appetizer with other delicious Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern recipes. Try making a large platter with some of our:

Storage

Make ahead: You can make this recipe 3 days in advance; however, on the second day, the dressing might have dried up, so we recommend adding more lemon juice before serving it.

Refrigerator: Store cauliflower salad leftover in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Freezer: We do not recommend freezing this recipe.

Questions

Is cauliflower on the Mediterranean diet?

Yes. Cauliflower is consumed widely in most Mediterranean countries.

How to cut cauliflower for salad?

It’s best to cut cauliflower into bite-size florets to use in salads.

Where does cauliflower come from?

Cauliflower comes from the Mediterranean region; some suggest from Cyprus, an Island in the Mediterranean.

The name cauliflower comes from the Italian word “cavolfiore,” which means cabbage flower from “cavolo” or cabbage and “fiore” flower.

Is cooked cauliflower still nutritious?

It depends on how you cook the cauliflower. To preserve most of its nutrients, it’s best to microwave, roast, air-fry, or steam the cauliflower.

The gentlest is microwaving, preserving almost all antioxidants.

Boiling and pressure cooking will result in some loss of nutrients as vitamins and minerals leach into the cooking water (although it is better to eat boiled cauliflower than no cauliflower as only about 14% of nutrients will be lost).

Is this recipe gluten-free and dairy-free?

Yes. Our roasted cauliflower salad is gluten-free, dairy-free (no sour cream, cheddar cheese, or other cheese), and without eggs.

Our trick to add flavor and a creamy texture is to use a delicious finger-licking tahini dressing, roasted chickpeas, and other wholesome ingredients.

More Salad Recipes

If you love salads, you might also like some of our other easy salad recipes:

For many more salad ideas, check out our salads category page.

Cauliflower salad on a white plate

Cauliflower Salad

By: Nico Pallotta
5 from 10 votes
Our Mediterranean-inspired cauliflower salad is a tasty, creamy, and wholesome recipe made with simple ingredients.
Imagine slightly charred roasted cauliflower paired with nutty chickpeas, spiced with cumin, tossed with a creamy tahini dressing, and plenty of fresh lemon juice.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4 – 6 people
Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Side dish
Cuisine: Mediterranean

Ingredients

  • 1 large cauliflower about 2½ pounds or 1.2 kg
  • 1 can (15-ounce) chickpeas or 1½ cups cooked chickpeas
  • 3 cloves garlic crushed
  • tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin ground
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 twists black pepper
  • 1 handful parsley chopped
  • 4 tablespoons pomegranate seeds or toasted pine nuts
  • 1 lemon the juice

FOR TAHINI SAUCE

  • cup tahini runny consistency and light in color
  • cup water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic crushed
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F or 200°C.
    Cut 1 large cauliflower into florets and add to baking sheet.
    Add 1 can (15-ounce) chickpeas and 3 cloves garlic (crushed), then season with 1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon salt, and 2 twists black pepper.
    Toss, arrange on a single layer, and bake for 25 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender-crisp and slightly charred.
    Cauliflower and chickpeas on a baking tray
  • In the meantime, make tahini sauce whisking together ⅓ cup tahini, ⅓ cup water, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 clove garlic (crushed) and ¼ teaspoon salt.
    Tahini sauce recipe just after mixing the sauce
  • To a large mixing bowl, add roasted cauliflower and chickpeas, tahini sauce, the juice of at least 1 lemon, and 1 handful parsley (chopped).
    Toss well, then garnish with 4 tablespoons pomegranate seeds.
    Cauliflower salad on a white plate with lemon

Video

Creamy Cauliflower Salad (30-min meal)

Notes

Nutrition information is an estimate for a large portion of cauliflower salad out of four.
STORAGE
Make ahead: You can make this recipe 3 days in advance; however, on the second day, the dressing might have dried up, so we recommend adding more lemon juice before serving it.
Refrigerator: Store cauliflower salad leftover in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Freezer: We do not recommend freezing this recipe.
ALSO ON THIS PAGE

Nutrition

Calories: 365kcal, Carbohydrates: 43g, Protein: 15g, Fat: 19g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g, Monounsaturated Fat: 8g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Potassium: 1281mg, Dietary Fiber: 13g, Sugar: 12g, Vitamin A: 375IU, Vitamin B6: 1mg, Vitamin C: 167mg, Vitamin E: 2mg, Vitamin K: 72µg, Calcium: 147mg, Folate: 302µg, Iron: 5mg, Manganese: 1mg, Magnesium: 101mg, Zinc: 3mg
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If you liked this cauliflower salad, you might also enjoy:


Nico and Louise in the kitchen

Hi! We are Nico & Louise

Welcome to The Plant-Based School, a food blog with easy, tasty, and wholesome recipes.

Our aim is to help you and your family eat more veggies through delicious recipes with simple ingredients.

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Recipe Rating




8 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I’m not usually a cauliflower girlie, but I ended up making this twice this week. For the last 15 minutes of roasting the veg, I add some cherry tomatoes. It’s a wonderful addition! I love how versatile the cauliflower is and how it soaks up so much flavor. This is definitely a new favorite, and I can’t wait to try more recipes from this site.

    1. Fantastic, Naomi, I’m very happy you enjoyed the salad.

      Great idea with roasted cherry tomatoes, that is a variation we need to try ourselves 🎉 Thank you for your comment, and for taking the time to leave a rating here.

      Kindest,

      Louise

    1. That’s great, Maggie!
      Good idea with cayenne pepper for a little extra kick, thanks so much for your comment.
      Kindest,
      Louise

  2. 5 stars
    I made it yesterday – the best salad ever!
    Thank you guys’ for making my life easier.
    love your recipes.

    1. Yay, I’m super happy to hear!! So wonderful that you liked it, thanks for coming back to leave a message 🙂
      Kindest,
      Louise

  3. 5 stars
    I love everything you’ve used in this recipe! Sounds so delicious and hearty. Nice job. I will be making this! It would be wonderful on pasta as well I think.

    1. Wonderful, Joan! I’m so happy you feel like making the salad 🙂 It would be great with pasta – and it’s also quite amazing with toasted bread or a serving of rice. Happy cooking! Kindest, Louise