This roast cauliflower salad has fragrant fennel seeds which reminded me of sipping iced ouzo by the ocean, a winter salad that will take you to paradise.
While boiling cauliflower makes it bland and boring, roasting it in the oven deepens its flavour and caramelizes its natural sugars making it moorishly nutty and golden.
A great low carb salad that is suitable for paleo, keto, vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free eaters.
fennel seed substitutions
Fennel seeds come from fennel bulbs and when they are fresh they have a yellowish-green colour and used whole. Dried fennel seeds can also be used whole or ground to a powder to use as they are as a great addition to a variety of spice blends such as Chinese 5 spice powder.
Fennel seeds are readily available in the spice section of your supermarket. If you would like to substitute them you can try anise seeds which have a similar liquorice-like flavour, just use half the amount as they are stronger. Other alternatives would be cumin, caraway seeds and dill can also be substituted.
Can I use different greenS?
- Baby spinach is a great green to use in this salad because it is subtle enough to not overpower the cauliflower and spices.
- You could also try baby rocket, or try finely chopped kale or thinly shredded silverbeet
- For something different try it with Dukkah instead of mixed seeds and fennel seeds.
Heat oven to 220°C 425°F, line a baking tray.
Cut off the surrounding leaves from your cauliflower, then cut off individual florets from the central stem and cut again if necessary. You should end up with florets of comparable size so that they all cook at the same pace. Place in a colander and wash under cold running water.
Toss your cauliflower with the oil and spices and arrange on your baking tray, making sure that your florets are evenly spaced and not touching. Place in the middle section of your oven.
Roast until tender and golden brown, approximately 20 minutes. Check and turn your cauliflower halfway through the cooking process so that it is browned evenly all over. Allow your cauliflower to cool for 10 minutes.
Place your mixed seeds on a tray and roast until golden, taking the tray out and shaking it intermittently so they brown all over (approximately 10- 15 minutes).
2PREPARE DRESSING & SPINACH
While your cauliflower and seeds are roasting, wash your baby spinach and remove any damaged or wilted leaves, either pat dry or spin in a salad spinner to remove excess water.
Place the dressing ingredients in a glass jar, season and shake until emulsified.
3ASSEMBLE THE SALAD
Once your cauliflower has cooled, place in a large mixing bowl, add your baby, spinach, seeds and dressing, season with sea salt and cracked black pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings according to your taste.
Arrange in a salad bowl, sprinkle some additional seeds on top to garnish. Serve and enjoy!
MAKE AHEAD Tips
- You can make this roast cauliflower salad ahead of time by roasting and then refrigerating the cauliflower for up to two days. Before guests arrive, bring to room temperature and then toss the salad together.
- Make the dressing up to a day ahead.
- Wash your spinach leaves and dry completely and store in a plastic bag in your fridge.
HOW TO FOOD PREP FOR LUNCHES
- This salad can easily be food prepped for your lunches, just roast your cauliflower and allow it to cool completely before adding the spinach and seeds.
- Keep the dressing in a separate container to add to your salad just before eating.
Try some more brassica salad recipes
(Times are an estimate and will depend on your skill level)
- Salad Spinner
- 400 grams cauliflower (approximately 1 small cauliflower head)
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp fennel seeds
- ½ tsp nutmeg (freshly grated)
- Sea salt & cracked black pepper
- 90 grams baby spinach leaves (3 packs tightly packed leaves)
- ¼ cup mixed seeds (I used a mix of pepitas, sunflower and linseeds)
- 3 tbsps olive oil (extra virgin)
- 3 tbsps lemon juice (approximately 1 medium lemon)
To roast your cauliflower…
- Preheat your oven to 260°C (500°F). Line a baking tray with baking paper.
- Cut off the stems and leaves of your cauliflower and discard. Then break your cauliflower into medium sized florets. Wash thoroughly under cold running water, drain in a colander and pat dry with a towel.
- Place your cauliflower, olive oil, fennel seeds and nutmeg on your baking tray then toss well until the cauliflower is well coated with the oil and spices. Place in the middle section of your oven and roast until golden but still slightly firm (approximately 20 minutes) and allow to cool for 10 minutes when done.
- Place your mixed seeds on a tray and roast until golden, taking the tray out and shaking it intermittently so they brown all over (approximately 10- 15 minutes).
To make your salad…
- Wash your baby spinach leaves under cold running water then spin dry in a salad spinner. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
- Place all your dressing ingredients in a glass jar and shake until emulsified.
- Add your cooled cauliflower, toasted seeds to your mixing bowl with the baby spinach, season with salt and pepper, toss well until combined. Taste and adjust seasonings according to your taste.
- Arrange in a salad bowl or salad platter and serve.