This salad is roasted and toasted and is ever so interesting in flavour and texture. Spice Roasted Cauliflower, Baby Carrot, and Olive salad, crunched up with pistachios, and touched with honey and preserved lemon. It’s exceptional.
Roasting Vegetables for Salad
I love roasting vegetables to make a salad. The roasting brings out the sweetness and it is an easy way to add lots of herbs spices and warm flavours. It may also interest you to know that I have bought an air fryer to make roasting my vegetables quicker and energy conscious. If you don’t have one you probably wonder what all the fuss is about (like I used to!)
I don’t often add raw onions or garlic to this salad but if you love this in your salads go ahead and add these at the end when you dress it up. You cold also add finely sliced green onion or chives for a gentler onion flavour
Roasting Cauliflower is not new, but the combination of roasted baby carrots and roasted olives makes this salad an unusually delicious one. Cauliflower takes on flavours easily and holds its shape well when roasted. Baby carrots stay slightly crunchy and fresh and the olives are a salty punctuation point that I love. Have you ever roasted olives? Oh, you will love them. I have used pitted olives and I found perfect ones with real olive flavour. Try to find them at a delicatessen if you can. Mine are an Aldi brand but they are incredibly good.
The Perfect Salad needs lots of textures
The perfect anything needs lots of textures and this salad has just that. TEXXXture.
Firstly it has an interesting preserved lemon, cumin, and honey flavour profile. It has crunch from toasted chopped pistachios and great freshness from chopped parsley. It would also be nice with chopped coriander. It kind of has a Moroccan feel about it. Now add those soft chewy cauliflower pieces, crunchy baby carrots and pops of olive.
Anyway. Here is how to make it and what you will need.
Roast everything together
It just makes sense to add all of the vegetables and spices together. This tray makes enough for 5 to 6 people with a main course and if you need a larger salad just use two trays and double the recipe.
Toss the cauliflower, 1/2’d carrots and olives in my special marinade. Olive oil, salt and pepper, cumin, honey and preserved lemon.
Have you used preserved lemon? You can find it at a deli or speciality grocery store like Harris Farm and sometimes at the supermarket (I never have). It has an intense salty lemon flavour. It is made by salting cut lemons when in abundance and putting them in a jar to preserve them. You could try recipes such as this Mushroom soup with preserved lemon (vegan) or Dukkah-crusted ocean trout with preserved lemon mash. You usually scrape out the pulp of the lemon and cut up the skin.
Preserved lemons were a very sought-after ingredient a couple of years back. They are very versatile and can be used in dressings in potato dishes and soups, casseroles or slow cooked dishes and tray bakes- especially chicken or pork.
This recipe is a salad that is special enough to make when you have people visiting. It really is more than the sum of it’s parts- exotic, interesting but basically simple.
Spice Roast Cauliflower, Baby Carrot and Olive Salad with honey, lemon, pistachio dressing
- 700 gm cauliflower, broken into floretes (1 whole) 24 oz
- 1 bunch'/ punnet baby carrots (1 bunch approx 6 to 8)
- 100 gm olives, Pitted mixed or black or green. 3.5oz
- 1 1/2 tsp sumac
- 1 tsp cumin, ground
- 2 tsp coriander ground
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2-1 tsp salt flaked sea salt is best
- 1/2 tsp pepper fresh ground
- 40 ml lemon juice 2 Tablsp
- 80 ml olive oil 4 Tbspn
- 3 pieces preserved lemon 1/4 pieces skin only, chopped
- 20 gm honey 1 Tablespoon
- 50 gm pistachios roasted and chopped 1.7oz
- 60 ml olive oil extra 3 Tablsp
- 20 ml lemon juice extra 1 Tablsp
- 1/2 bunch parsley, rough chopped
- extra honey to taste
- Set the oven to 170C/ 340 F.
- Put the garlic powder, sumac, coriander, cumin, salt, and pepper into a small dish and mix well
- Put the 80 ml of olive oil, lemon juice, preserved lemon and just warmed honey into another dish and stir
- Put cauliflower florets, baby carrots (washed but not peeled) cut in halves if long with the olives into a bowl and toss them with the dry spices. Add the wet flavourings and toss again.
- Pour all of the vegetables onto a paper lined tray ( or two if you are making a large amount) and roast until the cauliflower starts to brown and crisp up. The carróts will stay a bit firm, and that's perfect, approximately 30 minutes
- Pour all of the vegetables back into the bowl they came out of. Mix the extra lemon and oil, add a bit of salt and pepper to it ( and a bit more honey to taste). Add this along with chopped parsley and toss well
- Put onto a plate or a bowl and sprinkle with chopped pistachios and extra flaked salt.