Oven-roasted purple cauliflower is just the beginning for this light, bright, nutty salad. Ready for the table in under 30 minutes, Roasted Cauliflower Walnut Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette is not only perfect for Meatless Monday, it is super for anytime; it’s an especially nice break from rich holiday foods.
I was in the market recently and spied in the produce section an assortment of colored cauliflower. Purple, orange and green heads peeped out among the standard white. I was intrigued. A quick internet search revealed that these colors have not been genetically engineered, rather the colors are natural mutations. I decided to try the purple variety, since it is high in antioxidants. And…well, you know…it’s pretty.
When I’m cooking, one thing always leads to another, so I instantly was envisioning ways to prepare this delightful looking vegetable. Cauliflower, when it is roasted, really has a very nutty flavor, so that was how I decided to use it; then, pairing it with walnuts to enhance that nuttiness was a must. The color of the cauliflower deepened with the roasting, so it was much more vibrant than raw.
Since I tend to crave lighter dishes during the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I decided to make this a salad. Of course, pomegranates had to come into it. Before you get all huffy about how hard it is to seed a pomegranate, I’ve got news for you. It is the most simple thing. Ever.
For years and years, I would buy pomegranates to use in flower arrangements and holiday decorations with little intention of ever bothering with trying to seed them. It was such a battle and seemed not much worth the effort. But there is a super simple method to use that will have the entire pomegranate free of its arils (the flesh covered seeds) in seconds. I mean it.
Here’s what you do:
- You need a knife, a wooden spoon, and a bowl.
- Cut the pomegranate in half, horizontally.
- Taking the edge of the cut portion, using your thumbs, gently pull back on the skin so that the inner membrane loosens.
- Turn the pomegranate cut side down in your palm.
- Holding your hand with the pomegranate cut-side down over a bowl, and using the wooden spoon, slap the skin of the pomegranate and the seeds will fall into your hand and into the bowl. Just whack, whack, whack.
Simple. And you’ll have an entire bowl of pomegranate seeds in seconds.
The dressing for this salad is a pomegranate vinaigrette that is simple, too: Pomegranate juice, balsamic vinegar, orange juice, honey, Dijon mustard and some shallot. I don’t typically add extra oil to my vinaigrettes, but you could if you wish. The salad is dressed with the vinaigrette and garnished with the pomegranate seeds.
It is really delicious, simple to prepare and so very tasty. I hope you’ll try it!
- 4 cups cauliflower buds (about one head)
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ cup pomegranate juice
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon orange juice
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon minced shallot
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 cup pomegranate seeds
- Preheat the oven to 400° F.
- Place the cauliflower buds and walnuts in a bowl and add the olive oil.
- Toss until coated.
- Place the cauliflower and walnuts on a baking sheet.
- Put the baking sheet into the preheated oven and cook for 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool a bit.
- While the cauliflower and walnuts are roasting, in a small bowl, add the pomegranate juice, balsamic vinegar, orange juice, honey, shallot and Dijon mustard (makes about ½ cup).
- Whisk to combine.
- Once the cauliflower has cooled a bit, place it on a plate of greens, add the pomegranate seeds and drizzle with the vinaigrette.