Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Harissa Chickpeas
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Fall in love with cauliflower and make this flavor-packed Moroccan-inspired roasted cauliflower salad. It’s loaded with spices, harissa paste, roasted chickpeas greens and feta cheese.
The dish features sheet-pan roasted cauliflower and chickpeas, all mixed up with bold seasonings, fresh herbs, feta cheese and lemon.
Serve this dish as a hearty warm salad, or make it more of a meal by spooning it over couscous or other healthy whole grain that you like.
Do you play on team cauliflower? Or, maybe you absolutely love cauliflower, but some of the close, personal people in your life draw a firm boundary line around it?
In either case, I offer this recipe to bring the lovers, haters and the in-betweens together, all in the name of vegetable deliciousness.
Ingredients to make roasted cauliflower salad:
About the ingredients
- Cauliflower: One large head, separated into florets.
- Chickpeas: Canned or home-cooked.
- Onion: Red or sweet yellow.
- Harissa paste
- Cumin seed
- Feta cheese
- Fresh lemon
- Fresh cilantro and parsley
Harissa roasted cauliflower and chickpeas for the win!
I’ve been making and sharing this recipe for years, and it’s never stopped being totally crave-able. If you’re a fan, you already know that plain roasted cauliflower is fantastic.
And cauliflower plus chickpeas are so good roasted together.
Cauliflower and it’s cousin Romanesco gets all crisp and toasty when roasted in the oven, on its crumpled edges, while chickpeas turn into irresistible nutty-tasting nuggets.
They’re two somewhat neutral-tasting, down-to-earth vegetables that really benefit from bold seasonings that bring out their best features.
Surprisingly, I discovered that not everyone agrees that roasting cauliflower is a great technique.
One day, I was browsing through a huge and wonderful cookbook (Vegetable Love), and I came across the section on cooking methods for cauliflower.
The author lists the many ways cauliflower can be prepared:
- And last but not least, microwaved.
Then she said: “Cauliflower...is not good roasted”. Are you freaking kidding me?! I couldn’t disagree more. Because, come on!
Cauliflower is delicious roasted. In fact, it might be my favorite way to eat it. In the meantime, let’s skip down the path of roasting brassicas.
How to roast cauliflower:
It’s not a complicated process (and you can apply the same technique to broccoli).
- First, heat your oven to 425 degrees for at least 20 minutes before roasting. This ensures the oven is fully to temperature.
- Next, spread cauliflower florets out on a rimmed baking sheet, lined with a sheet of parchment for easy clean-up (that part is optional).
- Drizzle the cauliflower with oil, season well with salt and roast until the edges turn golden brown and crisp, usually about 25 minutes.
Along with crisp, toasty cruciferous vegetables, the spicy Tunisian chili paste harissa is an incredible condiment you need in your life.
I could put harissa on everything at any time of day, from eggs to leftovers I eat for lunch, as if it were the global version of ketchup.
To make this roasted cauliflower salad, you can use a good quality prepared harissa paste (look for brands packed in glass jars rather than tubes).
Or, try my recipe for easy homemade harissa recipe and go to town!
What is harissa?
Harissa is a chili paste condiment from North Africa, very common in Tunisian and Moroccan cooking. It’s usually made with a combination of dried red chili peppers, garlic, olive oil and spices like caraway and coriander.
You can find harissa in many well-stocked supermarkets — I recommend one made by Moulin Mahjoub or Mina.
But if you really want to find harissa nirvana, it’s easy to make yourself. It has just the right amount of smoky, sweet-heat and savory deliciousness without being spicy-hot.
More easy cauliflower recipes:
- Roasted Cauliflower Salad
- Cauliflower Mascarpone Gratin
- Curry Cauliflower Flatbread
- Kimchi Fried Cauliflower Rice
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Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Harissa Chickpeas
- 1 (907 g) head cauliflower (about 2 pounds), separated into bite-sized florets (8 cups)
- ¼ cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
- 1 15-ounce (425 g) can chickpeas, drained
- 1 small sweet onion, like Maui or red onion; finely sliced
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 2 or 3 tablespoons harissa paste
- ¼ cup each Italian parsley and cilantro leaves
- ½ a lemon, 2 tablespoons
- ⅓ cup (50 g) crumbled feta cheese
- Heat the oven to 425 (220 C) degrees.
- Spread the cauliflower out on a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons of the oil, ½ teaspoon salt and the cumin seeds. Roast 25 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender and golden. Add the chickpeas and roast an additional 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon oil in medium (8-10-inch) sauté pan. Add the onions and a pinch of salt. Cover the pan and cook over medium-low heat until the onions are very soft, 8-10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and harissa along with 2-3 tablespoons water and stir until blended and saucy. Pour over the cauliflower on the sheet pan.
- Tear the parsley and cilantro into rough pieces and toss them over the chickpeas. Squeeze the lemon over, add the feta and gently mix together.
- Transfer to a serving bowl and serve.
Karen’s Notes and Tips
- If you’d rather make this a vegan dish, simply omit the cheese.
- Use your favorite brand of harissa, or make this easy homemade harissa recipe.
- This is terrific as is, but fantastic with Lemon Tahini Sauce and a side of warm flatbread.
- The salad will keep well for 3-5 days in the refrigerator, and reheats well.
Hey, I’m Karen
Creator of Familystyle Food
I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about creating elevated dinners with everyday ingredients. Find simplified recipes made from scratch and enjoy incredibly tasty food! Read more about me here.
I’ve tried it yesterday. What a great combination of flavours! It is perfect!
Tried this last night to great success – it was delicious! I also added the outer cauliflower leaves to roast at the last minute and used fried halloumi as didn’t have any feta. The lemon tahini sauce recommended to go with it was the perfect creamy but zingy accompaniment 🙂 – thanks for the recipes!
I l-o-v-e the cauli leaves! So glad you enjoyed the recipe.
OMG second time this week I am making this! So good it’s now my favorite recipe! First time I didn’t had harissa paste so I made a paste from scratch… The cumin seeds bring such deep to this plate, if you don’t have any it’s worth the trip to the grocery store!
Despite not having cilantro, parsley, or feta, I made this today and it’s delicious. Another hit! Thanks, Karen.
Fantastic! So happy you enjoyed it Cori 🙂
I have been making this recipe for a couple of years now….. SO SO GOOD. I tend to add more cauliflower than stated. Just keep in mind that harissa strength is not standard – I have used a middle easter brand that 1Tbs is enough or a one which is more saucy where I need more like 1/3 cup.
SO glad to hear that! Its one of my all-time faves, too. You’re right about different brands of harissa – they can vary, and it’s worth finding one that suits your heat level. Or, even better make your own! Here’s my recipe: https://familystylefood.com/how-to-make-homemade-harissa-recipe/
Yum, this sounds so good, looks delicious and definitely very healthy! Never tried harissa before but I love everything spicy!!
ur talent is unbelievable
Sounds delicious. I’ve never had harissa with many recipes that don’t include chicken – but I think this sounds so good! Can’t wait to make this recipe at home. Thanks for sharing!
This delicious veggie recipe tastes like a salad I would order at the finest restaurant! I am astounded at the flavor to effort ratio! Thanks for sharing!
This is so delicious!!!! added a little bit of fresh mint with cilantro and parsley! Thank-you love it…new favorite 🙂
I would love to try the recipes, some of the ingredients I do not know, I would love to tap on the gradient and see if there’s an alternate one or a substitute.
Looks delicious! I tend to get lazy and just roast my cauliflower with garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. I like that you have incorporated other flavors!
“I do not care for roasted cauliflower.” I was thinking of that line from Vegetable Love as I clicked through from The Kitchn, because, like you, I disagree with that statement! I’ll definitely be giving this a try this week!
That is classic Barbara Kafka; gotta love her strong opinions. Enjoy, Kate! This recipe is one that I make over and over again.
I tried this and it was amazing; so simple to make as well. My new favorite add-on, Harissa sauce! Heavenly to say the least. Thanks for sharing.
As a vegetarian, I absolutely love these sorts of spicy vegetable recipes. Thank you so much for sharing this, I’ve just pinned it.
I made this tonight and loved it! I used about 1.5 T harissa paste and it was just right for us (we like things moderately spicy). I was definitely, definitely be making this one again.
I just made this lovely dish for dinner and is was beyond delicious! Thank you so much for the amazing recipe.
Josefine – how wonderful! So glad you liked ;))
Hi! This is seriously one of the most delicious veggie dishes I have ever tried! I have made it twice this week :). Only change I made was using ground cumin instead. Thanks so much for sharing!
Recently I discovered that if I roast my cauliflower, it tends to have bitter taste. Quick search on the internet tells me that cauliflower, when heated released pungent sulfur & contains phenylthiocarbamide (aka PTC) that makes it bitter. Some people are genetically sensitive to PTC, some aren’t. After trying several methods of preparing cauliflower, reducing the cooking time is crucial. So when I want a “roasted” curried cauliflower, what worked best for me is soaking the cauliflower in salted water then steam it while roasting the onion, garlic, curry mixture in the oven. Then toss together. Lucky those who aren’t sensitive to PTC.
I made a variation of your recipe seeing it on pinterest this am. It was very good!
Amy – thanks for stopping by. I’m glad to know you enjoyed!
This sounds like great ingredients for Hummus.
Just served this for diner, it was fabulous! My boyfriend and I liked it a lot 🙂 Thanks for sharing!
Anne-julie – So glad to know that you enjoyed the cauliflower!
A friend posted this recipe on Facebook, and so glad she did. It led me to your blog and your great recipes! Thank you for sharing this…I will be making it immediately!
Thank you Shawn – I hope you’ll love the cauliflower!
I love roasted cauliflower, what a scrumptious way to prepare it!
Thanks Laura! This is one of my very favorites, for sure.
I didn’t have any harissa, so I served the roasted cauliflower and chickpeas over brown rice with hot mango chutney and toasted cashews. Delicious! Thanks for the great recipe idea Karen.
Mary, I’m so pleased to know you tried out the recipe – if I had hot mango chutney I’m sure I could form some kind of addiction to that too, along with the harissa. Sounds like it was a great mix! Cheers to you, neighbor 🙂
I put this over couscous, and it was spectacular!
I made my own harissa and served this dish to my daughter and her family. EVERYONE loved it, even the Littles!!! Thank you so much :o)
Deb – how amazing are you?! Do you have a favorite method for making harissa? I’m so pleased your family enjoyed this, esp. the Littles 🙂
Thank you so much for visiting my site and allowing me to find my way here. Your recipes are so reminiscent of my own culinary desires… I made these roasted cauliflower steaks once and they definitely proved your theory about roasting cauliflowers.
Thank you Phi. My sentiments exactly about your work! I also have a recipe somewhere for roasting a whole head of cauliflower – could be a beast, but want to try it.
I agree with you both; roasting is one of the very best ways to cook cauliflower and this looks like a total winner!
You are so totally the blogging queen these days – I’m loving every single idea! I remember reading that note from Barbara Kafka a few years ago and wondering, Whhhhaaaat? Roasted Cauliflower was the very first recipe on A Veggie Venture!
Thanks, Alanna. Funny you saw that in the book, too. Now I’m going back to read your very first post – wow!