This hearty vegan roasted cauliflower salad with cannellini beans, chewy kamut, and toasted pine nuts is great warm or cold.
I bought a Christmas tree on the weekend. A tiny, squat, and somewhat ridiculous looking tree. I personally would have gone for something tall and lush, even though we’re going away in just 10 days, but my husband has an affinity for rickety little Charlie Brown style Christmas trees, and so it was.
We decorated the tree and then ate our dinner balanced on little stools in front of us on the sofa – Sunday soup and garlic toast as is our routine at this time of year – and we watched A Charlie Brown Christmas, then Rudolph, then Elf.
It was nice to take a breather, to have a simple night. This time of year, with so much chaos and festivity, calls for moments of simplicity to be snuck whenever they can.
Sometimes simplicity can be found in a salad, if we can call this that. Roasted cauliflower, cannellini beans, chewy kamut, and toasted pine nuts form the base of this salad, which can be eaten warm or cold. A lemony tahini sauce takes it from simple to sublime, balanced with a sprinkling of salty capers.
It’s the kind of thing I could eat every day, but especially these days with so much richness and indulgence on the happen. The combination of grains and beans means there’s a complete protein in this vegan meal, so it can stand on it’s own or function equally well as a side. I think this roasted cauliflower salad would make a great potluck offering, the perfect addition to a holiday table, and I know for a fact that it makes great packed lunches – tuck an extra wedge of lemon alongside to freshen it up at lunch.
Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable, in the same family as broccoli, kale, and cabbage, with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory health benefits. Cauliflower is an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate. It is a great source of vitamin B5, potassium, dietary fiber, and a good source of protein, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamins B1-3, and iron.
- 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- 1 cup cooked kamut, farro, spelt, or barley (from ½ cup uncooked)
- 1 400g can cannellini beans rinsed and drained
- ½ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped
- 3 Tbsp capers
- ⅓ cup tahini paste
- 3 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp grated lemon zest
- ¼ cup water
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat your oven to 180°C / 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Toss the cauliflower florets with 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil and spread in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper.
- Roast the cauliflower, stirring when halfway through, until the florets are golden brown and slightly crisp on the outside, about 30 minutes.
- If you don't have pre-cooked kamut (or other chewy whole grain) on hand, this is a good time to cook it. Bring a medium pot of water to the boil, salt it well, and add the uncooked kamut. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 25-30 minutes until the grains are tender but still chewy. Drain, rinse in cold water, and set aside. Cook some extra to keep in the freezer so you'll have some handy for next time!
- While the cauliflower is roasting, toast the pine nuts in a small frying pan over medium heat, stirring frequently until nutty smelling and golden - about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl combine the roasted cauliflower, kamut, cannellini beans, toasted pine nuts, capers, and parsley.
- To make the dressing, in a small bowl whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, and lemon zest. Slowly whisk in ¼ cup water (or more if you like a looser dressing) and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- To serve, divide the salad into bowls and drizzle with tahini dressing. Sprinkle with extra capers and parsley.
-Packed lunches can be pre-dressed, but a wedge of lemon tucked along side is nice to freshen it up.
-If you're cooking kamut or another whole grain for this dish, cook two or three times as much as you need and freeze the leftovers in 1 cup portions for future meals.
-Adapted from Bon Appetit via Inquiring Chef