What are your top three ways to put more raw vegetables in dinner?
Cauliflower salad is one of ours. It evolved from a complicated salad using blue cheese and olives, neither of which made it into this recipe.
Cauliflower lasts a long time in your fridge – so do lemons & feta. So it is a salad you can make days after your last grocery store trip.
Cauliflower salad is tart and crunchy. It pairs well with baked sweet potatoes or butternut squash gratin.
Cauliflower salad tastes best when the tangy dressing can coat the cauliflower slices which means cutting it thinly. A mandolin or food processor can do the job, but I just use a knife.
Cutting the cauliflower takes longer the first 5 times you do it but it really just takes a little practice, a fairly sharp knife and a few minutes.
For years this was the only way my family ate cauliflower since I was not a huge fan of cooked cauliflower. (Recently however I have become a fan of roasted cauliflower, but that is another recipe and post!!)
This is a recipe that does not use exact amounts. After you have made it several times, you can just “eyeball” it.
First take your cauliflower out of its packaging and turn it upside down in your sink.
Use a knife and go around the core (like you are cutting around your pumpkin stem to carve a jack – o – lantern.
Throw the core away.
Run water thoroughly over the inside and the outside of the head of cauliflower. Drain it in the sink and then move it to a towel to catch water.
Now you have a choice. You can either cut the cauliflower into slices about an inch and a half wide or you can cut it into flowerets. Both work and neither is better. From the slices or flowerets you are going to cut thin slices of cauliflower. Try it one way and then the other and see what you like best. I usually cut it into flowerets and slice, but it is really personal preference.
Slice thinly (about 1/8 to 1/16 inch thin slices). You will have some crumbles from the edges of the flowerets no matter which method you choose. Just scoop them up and place them in the bowl too.
Slice until you have enough for your family. I usually slice about 1/3 to 1/2 a head of cauliflower.
Surround your uncut cauliflower with a paper towel and place in a plastic bag in your vegetable drawer.
Now let your cauliflower sit on the counter in the bowl for 40-60 minutes while you prepare the rest of dinner. This time will allow the disease fighting sulforaphane to develop. (For more information listen to The Sensitive Kitchen podcast episode 023.)
While the cauliflower is resting, make the dressing. In a small bowl squeeze about 1 lemon. How much cauliflower you sliced, as well as how juicy your lemon is will determine if you need more lemon. For 1/2 head of cauliflower, start with 1 lemon.
Add about 1/2 teaspoon salt. Then add half as much olive or avocado oil as you have lemon juice. If you like a less assertively tart dressing, add more oil. But remember that this very tart dressing will help to hide some of the cauliflower taste for those of you cooking for someone who is not fond of cauliflower.
As you make this salad you will get better at judging if you have enough dressing. You want the cauliflower to be thoroughly coated – not at all dry. It is possible you may have to make more dressing. Better too much dressing than not enough!! No one wants dry sliced cauliflower on their plates! (Full confession – MANY times have I quickly juiced more lemon for dressing just as we were trying to sit down to dinner!
Whisk the dressing together just before adding to the cauliflower.
Put the dressing on the salad after the sliced cauliflower has sat for 40-60 minutes for best disease fighting benefits. (The acid in the dressing prevents the formation of sulforaphane – the disease fighting compound you want.)
At the table, pass with crumbled feta cheese. We find that if we attempt to put the feta on the salad in the bowl, it sinks to the bottom and you cannot tell the difference between the feta and the cauliflower crumbles! So we pass the crumbled feta at the table.
Shaved Cauliflower Salad
- ½ head cauliflower
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons feta cheese, crumbled
- Core your cauliflower and rinse well. Drain.
- CHOICE: either cut the whole head of cauliflower into slices about an inch and a half wide or you can cut it into flowerets. From the slices or flowerets you are going to cut thin slices of cauliflower. (Some flowerets you will have to cut in half first to the slices are not too big.)
- Slice thinly (about 1/8 to 1/16 inch thin slices). You will have some crumbles from the edges of the flowerets no matter which method you choose. Just scoop them up and place them in the bowl too.
- Let your cauliflower sit on the counter in the bowl for 40-60 minutes. (You can add dressing right away but less disease fighting sulphoraphane will be formed.)
- In a small bowl, squeeze lemon.
- Add oil and salt.
- Just before adding to cauliflower, whisk vigorously.
- Pour over cauliflower and mix well.
- If salad looks dry, make and add more dressing.
- Stir well just before serving.
- Pass crumbled feta cheese at the table.