Transforming humble broccoli and cauliflower into a spicy, savoury salad with a punchy gochujang salad dressing and pops of raw apple cucumber and wombok for a refreshing balance.
Why You’ll Love Broccoli Cauliflower Salad
One of our favourite cuisines is Korean food. We adore crunchy Korean fried chicken, stir-fried bulgogi beef, and, of course, a hot bowl of spicy and yet comforting at the same time, kimchi tofu stew. Served with a steaming bowl of rice, the flavours always hit the spot.
What our kids love the most is Korean barbeque. A feast of different cuts of meat and seafood cooked over hot coals in a hibachi, matched with an array of pickles, vegetables and fresh lettuce leaves to wrap it all up.
The main focus of Korean barbeque is meat. Of course, there are always plenty of side dishes and pickles to go with, but the show’s star is meat.
So when it came to creating a new salad, I wanted to add a refreshing vegetable element to Korean barbeque that is not necessarily a pickled side dish.
The result was a flavourful roasted broccoli cauliflower salad with a punchy gochujang salad dressing. The charred broccoli and cauliflower match the meats of Korean barbeque, whilst the raw apple cucumber and wombok help cut through the greasy flavours of the grill.
Together with a spicy and savoury gochujang salad dressing, this broccoli cauliflower salad not only complements Korean barbeque but holds up on its own very well.
What is Gochujang?
Essential in Korean cooking, gochujang is a red chilli paste that contains glutinous rice, fermented soybean paste, salt and sugar.
A thick, sticky condiment that delivers not only a spicy kick but a deep, pungent, savoury flavour.
How Spicy is Gochujang?
Gojuchang comes in mild and hot versions. Check the packaging or ask the storekeeper. However, if you are ever unsure, taste it and add a little at a time until you get the required spice level.
Just a tip from personal experience, less is more. I have found gochujang gets spicier over time. I have sometimes added too much because I couldn’t taste the spiciness at the start while the dish is still cooking. The dish then becomes overpowered by the spice, and it is very hard to strip back.
How to Use Gochujang?
You can pretty much use it in anything! Yes, gochujang is the basis for many classic Korean dishes like hot pot stews, bulgogi sauce, ssamjang dipping sauce and Korean fried chicken.
Outside of Korean style cooking, gochujang can be used in marinades for meat dishes like ribs, barbeque chicken, or even to spice up the hamburger mix.
You can also create a spicy glaze for roasted vegetables, fried tofu, noodles or stir-fried beans. Wherever you need to dial up the flavours, give gochujang a try.
Is Gochujang Vegan?
Yes! Gochujang is vegan friendly but always double-check the packaging. Perfect way to spice up the veggies, beans and tofu dishes.
Flavour/Texture: You want spice? You got spice! The gochujang salad dressing is not only spicy but full of flavour. Mixing with doenjang, the result is savoury and addictive.
The roasted broccoli and cauliflower carry the gochujang salad dressing so well. Plus, with the raw apple cucumber and wombok, the salad is uplifting and fresh.
Plus, to finish with a generous sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds adds layers of nutty goodness.
Ease: I would definitely put this broccoli cauliflower salad recipe in the easy category. The only cooking involved is roasting broccoli and cauliflower florets.
Time: A quick spicy side salad completed in less than 30 minutes.
Ingredients you will need to make Spicy Roasted Broccoli Cauliflower Salad:
Broccoli: When it comes to choosing broccoli, select one that is green, with tight florets and a firm stalk. Once you see yellowing florets and the cut end browning, then the broccoli is not fresh.
Cauliflower: Similar to broccoli, a fresh cauliflower will have a tight head, pale white in colour and very few blemishes. Reject any cauliflower heads that start to show softness and dark spots.
Apple cucumber: A round, paler version of the usual cucumber that you see; apple cucumbers are a crunchy and refreshing fruit that can be eaten cooked or raw.
No need to peel, you can slice up and add apple cucumber to any summer salad, or you can eat just like an apple. Yup, just like a fruit. I find apple cucumbers to have a firmer and crisp texture with a sweeter taste than cucumbers.
Wombok: The sweeter and milder flavour makes raw wombok (AKA Chinese cabbage, napa cabbage, Peking cabbage) delicious in salads.
The leaves are more porous than green round cabbage and are great for carrying other flavours in the recipe. That’s why wombok and gochujang is a classic Korean combination used in many different dishes together.
Sesame seeds: Toasting sesame seeds brings out another level of umami flavour. I love the nutty taste and adds depth and warmth to the salad.
Spring onion: This is not only for garnish but to add a peppery dimension to the salad and gochujang dressing. If you are not a big fan of spring onions, you can reduce them to 1 sprig.
Gochujang paste: You can purchase gochujang in most large supermarkets or your local Asian grocery store. Different brands do produce varying heat levels.
I find gochujang like miso paste. It is a versatile ingredient and can be stored in a refrigerator for some time. We always have a large tub on hand. This way you can also try to make our Gochujang Chicken Salad with Noodles and Tofu.
Doenjang: For this recipe, I used doenjang, a Korean fermented soybean paste. Like Japanese miso paste, doenjang is also made from fermented soybeans, but it is not fermented with rice or other grains.
Doenjang has a dark brown colour and is coarser texture, like chunky peanut butter. I find the taste of this version of fermented soybean paste to be more intense and sharper. Whilst Japanese miso is milder and slightly sweeter in flavour compared to doenjang.
Again another Korean pantry staple, doenjang is used as the base of many different dishes.
Sesame oil: complementing the toasted sesame seeds in the salad, sesame oil adds a nutty fragrance to the overall balance of the dressing.
Variations and Substitutions
Gochujang substitution: There isn’t really a substitution for gochujang, but you can make your own simple version by mixing miso paste and Korean red chilli pepper powder.
However, I would suggest just grabbing a tub as a fridge staple! So many yummy dishes you can make from gochujang.
Doenjang substitution: Japanese miso paste would be fine to use as a substitution for doenjang, Korean fermented soybean paste, in the gochujang dressing.
If you are using white miso paste, you may want to add an extra ½ teaspoon. Best to taste and adjust to your palate.
Apple cucumber replacement: If you cannot locate apple cucumber, 1 Lebanese cucumber sliced would be sufficient for this broccoli cauliflower salad recipe.
Vegan option: Replace honey with maple syrup or rice malt syrup to create a vegan salad.
Gluten free option: Switch soy sauce for tamari and check your labels on your gochujang and doenjang tubs for gluten free options. Traditionally gochujang and doenjang is gluten free but always good to double-check.
Step by step instructions for how to make Spicy Roasted Broccoli Cauliflower Salad:
How To Roast Broccoli And Cauliflower
Preheat oven to 200°C or 400°F.
Trim broccoli head and cut into small florets to yield 2 cups. Repeat with cauliflower.
In a large mixing bowl, place broccoli and cauliflower florets and coat with olive oil and season with salt.
Line oven tray with baking paper and spread florets on top. Do not overcrowd the tray. Use two trays if required.
Roast in oven for about 10 minutes until you start to get a char on one side. Turn broccoli and cauliflower florets around and roast again for about 8-10 minutes.
Don’t overcook the broccoli and cauliflower as it will become soggy.
Remove from heat and set aside for assembly.
How To Prepare The Salad
Wash apple cucumber and thinly slice into rounds. If you have a slightly larger apple cucumber, cut the rounds into quarters. There is no need to peel apple cucumber.
Thinly slice 2 wombok leaves.
Cut spring onions (scallions) into thin rounds. Use both the green and white part of the onion.
Over medium heat, toast sesame seeds in frypan until golden brown.
How To Prepare Salad Dressing
In a small mixing bowl, place gochujang, doenjang and water. Mix until you have a smooth paste.
Add sesame oil, soy sauce and honey. Mix until well combined.
How To Assemble The Salad
Use a large platter and place apple cucumber slices, and cut wombok on the bottom.
Layer with roasted broccoli and cauliflower.
Dress well with spicy gochujang dressing.
Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and spring onions.
Great Mains for This Salad
What to serve with Spicy Roasted Broccoli Cauliflower Salad? Try these delicious Asian main recipes:
The umami flavours of this Teriyaki salmon recipe would work really well with the gochujang dressing. For a hearty warm meal, try this Lamb Tongseng which is a lamb dish cooked in a fragrant coconut milk with delicate spiciness.
Alternatively, you can ditch the take-out and make your own Tofu Katsu Curry at home! Serve it up with some hot rice for a truly delicious vegetarian feast!
Frequently Asked Questions
You can easily transport this broccoli cauliflower salad with all components sliced and roasted. Only dress salad when ready to serve.
You can prepare this broccoli cauliflower salad recipe ahead of time but assemble and dress when ready to serve.
Technically no. You can use all broccoli or all cauliflower in this salad. The mix of the two vegetables adds more interest and colour.
I find most recipes never use up a whole or even half a wombok. So what to do with leftover wombok?
We love using wombok in salads like our Wombok, Red Cabbage and Apple Salad, Roast Duck and Caramelised Grapefruit Salad or Chinese Cabbage Salad with Tamarind Nam Jim.
Alternatively, add wombok to stir-fries, noodle soups, fried noodles or make your own kimchi! Wombok is a versatile vegetable and can be stored in the fridge for over a week. You can definitely use leftover wombok in other meals later in the week.
I find both gochujang and doenjang have quite a long shelf life. They are both typically sold in plastic containers with flip lids, making them easier to store.
Keep any unused gochujang and doenjang in the refrigerator in an airtight container and avoid getting any moisture inside. Don’t use if the paste has dried up or changed in colour.
When we turn humble ingredients into something that is full flavour and easy to please, my face literally lights up. Who would think broccoli and cauliflower could help dial up the senses?
Together with apple cucumber and wombok, they are the perfect vehicles to carry the spicy, savoury flavours of the gochujang salad dressing and deliver them to your belly. Yum.
More Budget Salad Recipes
Spicy Roasted Broccoli Cauliflower Salad
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- Preheat oven to 200°C or 400°F.
- Trim broccoli head and cut into small florets to yield 2 cups. Repeat with cauliflower.
- In a large mixing bowl, place broccoli and cauliflower florets and coat with olive oil and season with salt.
- Roast broccoli and cauliflower in oven for about 10 minutes until you start to get a char on one side. Turn broccoli and cauliflower florets around and roast again for about 8-10 minutes.
- Thinly slice apple cucumber into rounds. If you have a slightly larger apple cucumber, cut the rounds into quarters.
- Slice 2 wombok leaves into thin strips.
- Cut scallion (spring onions) into small rounds.
- Over medium heat, toast sesame seeds in fry pan until golden brown.
- In a small mixing bowl, place gochujang, doenjang and water.
- Mix until you have a smooth paste.
- Add sesame oil, soy sauce and honey.
- Mix until well combined.
- Use a large platter and place apple cucumber slices, and cut wombok on the bottom.
- Layer with roasted broccoli and cauliflower.
- Dress well with spicy gochujang salad dressing.
- Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and scallion (spring onions) .
- You can make your own simple gochujang if you can’t find it at the supermarket by mixing miso paste and Korean red chilli pepper powder.
- Japanese miso paste would be fine to use as a substitution for doenjang in the gochujang salad dressing. If you are using white miso paste, you may want to add an extra ½ teaspoon.
- If you can not locate apple cucumber, 1 Lebanese cucumber sliced would be sufficient for the recipe.
- Replace honey for maple syrup or rice malt syrup to create a vegan dish.
- Switch soy sauce for tamari if you would like to a gluten free salad. Traditionally gochujang and doenjang is gluten free but always good to double-check.
*Disclaimer: Nutritional information provided is an estimate only and generated by an online calculator.
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