Sprinkle the paprika sunflower seeds over the perfectly roasted green cauliflower salad to give it a little kick. Finish it off with a cream whipped feta dressing and loads of herbaceous goodness. Yum!
- Why You’ll Love Roasted Green Cauliflower Salad
- What is Green Cauliflower?
- What Does Green Cauliflower Taste Like?
- Is the Green Cauliflower the Same as The Romanesco Cauliflower?
- What Is Brassica Oleracea And Why Is It So Cool?
- Recipe Overview
- Variations and Substitutions
- Great Mains for This Salad
- Frequently Asked Questions
Why You’ll Love Roasted Green Cauliflower Salad
I personally love so many things about this salad, and I certainly hope you will too.
Finding a new variety of a common vegetable always excites me. When green cauliflower appeared in abundance at the produce market, I simply couldn’t resist. It’s not a vegetable I use very often, and whenever I do, I wonder why not!
If this is you too and always only ever looked at them from afar but never used them, this is the perfect opportunity to give them a try.
This is an excellent vegetable as it is not as crumbly as the white cauliflower. It takes on a bit of the broccoli consistency. Do be careful when roasting them as it can turn brown, just like broccoli.
For other cauliflower salad you may enjoy, try:
- Purple Cauliflower Salad with Lemon Mustard Tahini
- Tofu Skin Salad with Cucumber and Cauliflower
- Baby Cauliflower and Spiced Chickpeas with Beetroot Tahini
- Curried Vegan Cauliflower Steak Salad
You will also really enjoy the paprika sunflower seeds. They are punchy, delicious and really simple to make. Apart from just using it in this salad, they make for a great little starter to have when you have friends over. Or add a few small bowls of it on your grazing platter.
This recipe incorporates a no-vinegar salad dressing. This dressing is creamy and silky, perfect for mopping up the salad ingredients.
This whipped feta salad dressing complements the ingredients so well. Oh! Let’s not forget the lovely abundance of fresh herbs too. Chervil has got to be one of my favourites. Delicate and not too overpowering.
What is Green Cauliflower?
Green cauliflower is a hybrid of broccoli and cauliflower.
They are sometimes also referred to as broccoflower or cauliflower broccoli. They are relatively new to the market and can be found all year round. The green cauliflower has a green curd due to the beta carotene. It obviously has more than the white cauliflower but less than the broccoli; hence, the shade of green is not as dark as the broccoli.
What Does Green Cauliflower Taste Like?
Green cauliflower is a little bit sweeter than the white variety and has a slightly milder palate. White cauliflower is known to have quite a strong taste and can sometimes even be bitter. The green cauliflower, in comparison, is tastier.
The texture of the green cauliflower is also different to the white cauliflower. White cauliflower is quite crumbly while the green is more fibrous, tender yet firm.
Is the Green Cauliflower the Same as The Romanesco Cauliflower?
These are 2 different types of cauliflower. The green cauliflower has a rounded curd while the Romanesco has striking, sharp florets.
There is often confusion as the Romanesco is also referred to as the broccoflower due to its green colours when they are, in fact, cousins.
What Is Brassica Oleracea And Why Is It So Cool?
Brassica oleracea, in its wild form, is also known as wild mustard or wild cabbage. It was cultivated approximately 2500 years ago. It is native to southeastern Europe, the Mediterranean and all the way up to England.
Its happiest place to grow is on the limestone seaside cliffs where it can thrive freely without having to fight for space while withstanding harsh conditions.
They are super cool because it has been cultivated since then and bred to produce the many different cultivars that we all have come to enjoy regularly now.
These cultivars all have the same four-petaled flowers. They include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower (yeah this is where I was going with this! LOL), collard greens and kale, kai-lan (Chinese broccoli) and Kohlrabi.
Flavour/Texture: I would classify this recipe as rich, creamy and hearty. The green cauliflower is a dense vegetable, so it can be quite filling. Therefore, it is lightened in texture with the fresh herbs while the paprika sunflower seeds give it the much needed crunch, not to mention a nice smokey flavour.
The whipped feta dressing is undoubtedly creamy, which forms the foundations of this salad. It binds everything together while giving it that salty, slightly sour taste. Perfect to balance out that roasted, smokey flavour that comes from roasting the cauliflower and seeds.
Ease: Fairly easy to make this salad with some work to be done in the oven. The green cauliflower florets need time to roast while the sunflower seeds need to be coated in paprika and put in the oven too.
The whipped feta dressing is easy with all the ingredients going into a food processor and needing a good blitz.
Other than that, herbs just get chopped.
Time: 30 minutes is all it takes of which 20 of those minutes are in the oven. Not much time required for prep and assembly.
Green cauliflower: Just 1 head is enough. Get one that is nice and bright in colour, and it is firm to the touch. Try to cut the florets into even medium sized pieces so they will all roast evenly.
Olive oil: Required for basting the sheet pans for the green cauliflower and sunflower seeds so they don’t stick. It is also required for coating the cauliflower so that it roasts perfectly and gives us that lovely smokey flavour.
Sunflower seeds: Just a small amount will do and easy enough to find in your local supermarket. They are very affordable.
Paprika: Not a lot is required, and you’re after the plain paprika or Hungarian paprika if you like it spicy.
Oregano and chervil: Gorgeous fresh herbs that give the salad a lift. The oregano is earthy, musty and quite aromatic. It may also have very slight bitter notes.
On the other hand, chervil is very mild and quite subtle in flavour so it won’t fight with the strong oregano. Instead, it will complement it and give the recipe the freshness it needs.
Feta cheese: Buy some good quality feta cheese, preferably the Greek variety. Get them from the deli so you can buy the exact amount you need instead of buying a whole block and having some leftovers.
Cream cheese: Full cream is desired to give it the silky consistency we’re after.
Milk: Again, full cream is preferred, and this helps to dilute the salad dressing without compromising the creaminess.
Lemon: Helps to cut through the creaminess and to give the salad some citrus notes.
Salt and pepper: To taste.
How to Roast Green Cauliflower
Preheat the oven to 200°C or 400°F.
Cut the green cauliflower into florets. Coat with 1 tbsp of olive oil and salt to taste.
Baste the sheet pan with ⅓ tbsp or 1 tsp olive oil and put in the oven to roast for 8 minutes. At the halfway mark, remove the sheet pan, turn the green cauliflower to the other side and back in the oven again for 8 minutes.
How to Roast Paprika Sunflower Seeds
Coat the sunflower seeds with paprika.
Baste a sheet pan with ⅓ tbsp or 1 tsp of olive oil.
Put the coated sunflower seeds on the sheet pan and place in the oven for 8 minutes (put it in on the second round of the green cauliflower).
How to Prepare the Herbs
Pick the oregano leaves to yield ¼ cup for the salad and 2 tbsp for the salad dressing.
Pick the leaves of the chervil to yield ¼ cup.
How to Prepare Whipped Feta Dressing
Add the feta cheese, cream cheese, milk, 2 tbsp of oregano leaves, juice of ½ lemon and salt and pepper to taste in a hand blender.
Blitz until well combined and smooth in texture.
How to Assemble the Salad
In a medium sized mixing bowl, add the roasted green cauliflower, sunflower seeds, ¼ oregano leaves and chervil.
Toss gently until well combined,
On a plate, smear the whipped feta dressing all over.
Pick up the tossed salad and place as a heap to cover only ¾ of the plate so that you can still see the whipped feta dressing.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Variations and Substitutions
Green cauliflower substitute: As they are seasonal, it’s not always possible to find them in abundance. Any coloured cauliflower will do for this recipe. In fact, the purple cauliflower would look stunning against the creamy white dressing.
Other vegetables: If you’re not a cauliflower fan, you can replace it with other vegetables. Broccoli would take 10 minutes or Brussels sprouts would take 25-30 minutes.
Herb substitutes: You can replace oregano with thyme or basil. Although not quite the perfect substitution, it would go well with this salad. Whatever you do, please don’t use the dried oregano. While it may be a better option in terms of flavour, we do want the fresh leaves.
The perfect substitute for chervil is flat leaf parsley seeing they are from the same family.
Vegan friendly and dairy free: All the dairy components of the salad dressing have vegan options. Vegan feta, cashew cream cheese and almond, oat or soy milk could work.
Seed replacement: You can use pepitas for this recipe. It would work just as well, and the paprika would taste fantastic with it!
Great Mains for This Salad
Chestnut and Pepper Crusted Salmon Fillet: Sockeye salmon beautifully complemented by a roast chestnut and herb topping that’s fresh tasting, citrusy and wonderfully healthy and delicious. Served with some roasted green cauliflower salad on the side for a great meal!
Lamb Loin: This Lamb Loin is a super easy, special dish for any occasion! You can grill the lamb while the green cauliflower is roasting away in the oven. Sprinkled with some aromatic herbs, this makes for a great dinner menu.
Angel Hair Pasta with Shrimp and Red Sauce: This recipe is full of tangy, spicy flavours from tomatoes and herbs and pairs well with the creamy feta dressing and rustic roasted cauliflower salad.
Frequently Asked Questions
A good green cauliflower should be bright in colour and consistent throughout.
It should feel dense when you hold it in your hand as it’s a good sign that the florets are well packed in together.
The leaves are also a good telltale sign about the freshness of the vegetable. If they have started to turn brown or droop, find yourself another one.
Much like the regular white cauliflower, they are available all year round.
Where I am in Melbourne; however, I don’t find this to be the case. I usually see an abundance of them in late winter and autumn.
Suppose you live somewhere where it is available all year round. In that case, it should be readily available in some of the supermarkets. That is so in my case, but it’s not always consistent. Hence when I see it, I buy it.
If I have to hunt for it specifically, I head straight to the farmer’s markets. Always a safe bet during those seasonal times that they will have it.
Yes, you can but as always, only ever assemble it when you’re ready to eat.
The cauliflower does not have to warm, but if you want it to be, you’ll have to time the roasting with the rest of your meal.
This is an excellent salad for potluck parties or if you’re bringing a plate to a friend’s place. But again, only assemble it before eating.
Allow the green cauliflower to completely cool down before putting it into a container. Not a great idea for it to be in an airtight environment but if you have no choice, make sure to open the lid when you get to your destination.
This is the same for the sunflower seeds. Let it cool before putting it in a container. The sunflower seeds will withstand a proper closed lid.
Transport the salad dressing with an ice pack as it’s all dairy and you don’t want it to spoil.
If you’ve never tried the green cauliflower, I urge you to give it a go. Watch your guests bite into thinking its broccoli only to be pleasantly surprised!
The whipped feta salad dressing is an absolute winner with all of its tart and creamy goodness—a really great combination of ingredients and textures.
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Roasted Green Cauliflower Salad with Feta Dressing
Click on the toggle below for conversion to US Cooking Units.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C or 400°F.
- Cut the green cauliflower into florets. Coat with 1 tbsp of olive oil and salt to taste. Baste the sheet pan with ⅓ tbsp (1 tsp) olive oil and put in the oven to roast for 8 minutes. At the halfway mark, remove the sheet pan, turn the green cauliflower to the other side and back in the oven again for 8 minutes.
- Coat the sunflower seeds with paprika. Baste a sheet pan with ⅓ tbsp (1 tsp) of olive oil. Put the coated sunflower seeds on the sheet pan and place in the oven for 8 minutes (put it in on the second round of the green cauliflower).
- Pick the oregano leaves to yield ¼ cup for the salad and 2 tbsp for the salad dressing.Pick the leaves of the chervil to yield ¼ cup.
- Pick the leaves of the chervil to yield ¼ cup.
- Add the feta cheese, cream cheese, milk, 2 tbsp of oregano leaves, juice of ½ lemon and salt and pepper to taste in a hand blender.
- Blitz until well combined and smooth in texture.
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, add the roasted green cauliflower, sunflower seeds, ¼ oregano leaves and chervil.
- Toss gently until well combined,
- On a plate, smear the whipped feta dressing all over.
- Pick up the tossed salad and place as a heap to cover only ¾ of the plate so that you can still see the whipped feta dressing.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- You can use any or a medley of cauliflower for this recipe.
- If you aren’t a fan of the spicy paprika, you can use sweet paprika.
- You can substitute sunflower seeds with pepitas.
- The best substitute for oregano is marjoram or thyme.
- The best substitute for chervil would be flat leaf parsley or tarragon.
- Ensure you get good quality Greek feta as you want the creamy textures and saltiness. That works well with the roasted cauliflower.
- You can substitute milk with any other variety, but of course, full fat milk gives the salad dressing extra creaminess.
*Disclaimer: Nutritional information provided is an estimate only and generated by an online calculator.
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