An easy, flavor-packed Moroccan-inspired roasted cauliflower salad recipe, with harissa and roasted chickpeas. Vegetarian (with vegan option).
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-betweeners together, all in the name of vegetable deliciousness.
The dish features sheet-pan roasted cauliflower and chickpeas, all mixed up with bold seasonings, fresh herbs, feta cheese and lemon.
Serve it like a warm salad, or make a heartier meal by spooning it over couscous or other healthy grain that you like.
Harissa 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.
In the oven, cauliflower gets all crisp and toasty 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.
The author, Barbara Kafka, lists the many ways cauliflower can be prepared:
And last but not least, microwaved.
Then she writes: “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 leave Ms. Kafka to her opinion while we 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, my personal taste includes a pretty intense attraction to the spicy Tunisian chili paste harissa.
I could — and do — 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.
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
Roasted Harissa Cauliflower Salad with 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
- 1/4 cup each Italian parsley and cilantro leaves
- ½ a lemon, 2 tablespoons
- 1/3 cup (50 g) crumbled feta cheese
- Heat the oven to 425 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, 10-12 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.
- This is terrific as is, but fantastic with Lemon Tahin Sauce and a side of warm flatbread.
- The salad will keep well for 3-5 days in the refrigerator, and reheats well.