Loaded Cauliflower Salad
Potluck Dinner Parties; yay or nay?
Some people simply adore them, get crazy excited and start thinking of what dish they will contribute the very second you open your mouth to extend the invite. Others absolutely despise them: inviting them to such an event will leave them wondering what in the world they did to you for you to put them through such torture.
Me? I definitely belong to the first clan: Potluck Dinner Parties are my ultimate favorites. In fact, I’m the kind of person that you really want to have on your guest list. Indeed, I tend to get a bit carried away and often end up going way overboard with my food offerings.
Last time I got invited to such an event, I ended up contributing not one, not two, but FOUR dishes. First on the list was this crazy delicious yet super nutritious Loaded Cauliflower Salad. Then, for some protein, I made a Maple Glazed Pork Tenderloin. And since no social gathering would be complete without some kind of a sweet finale, I took the opportunity to revisit my Paleo Date Squares recipe, which I’d been meaning to do for a very long time now, and also too, I tested this almost-illegally-decadent Maple Caramel and Apple Cheesecake recipe that had been taking shape in my mind for the past couple of weeks.
Hey, what can I say? I love to cook but sometimes I get a bit insecure when prepping food for other people. Potlucks are the perfect occasion to share my passion for Paleo food without forcing anyone to actually eat it.
And also too, they’re a dream opportunity for me to bake sweet treats and not end up having to eat them all myself…
But we’ll get back to those treats later because why, of course, I’ll share the recipes!
But for the time being, let’s focus on this dazzling Cauliflower Salad, shall we?
Besides, salad this good might as well be called dessert!
To begin with, you will have to cut the cauliflower into bite sized florets and then cut your carrots into fairly thick slices, maybe just a hair short of 1/4 of an inch.
If you want to get fancy about it, do like I did and use one of those very cool yet inexpensive gadgets called a crinkle cutter.
If your kitchen isn’t equipped with one of these yet, I strongly suggest you rectify that right now. This thing is TONS of fun and only costs a handful of dollars. Seriously. Get one. You’ll thank me for it!
Now that you’re done playing with your crinkle cutter, you’ll want to slightly cook the cauliflower and carrots. Don’t go turning them to mush, though. You just want to basically blanch them so they get a little bit softer and more agreeable to the palate.
My favorite way of doing this is by steaming the veggies for a couple of minutes over salted boiling water, but if you preferred, or if you didn’t have a vegetable steamer, you could also throw them in the microwave for 2 to 3 minutes, in a bowl that contains about a quarter of a cup of salted water. Cook until tender but still slightly crunchy.
Then, promptly plunge the cooked vegetables in a bath of ice and cold water, which will stop the cooking process; once the veggies are completely chilled, transfer them to a colander and drain them really well.
When the cauliflower and carrots are nice and dry, place them in a large mixing bowl, and then add the celery, apple dice, toasted almonds, raisins and parsley.
Set that aside for a minute while you work on the dressing. Simply place the ingredients in a small bowl or measuring cup and mix well with a whisk until slightly emulsified.
Pour that creamy concoction all over the reserved salad and toss until evenly distributed.
And just like that, your salad is all good and ready to eat, or to be proudly carried to your next Potluck Dinner Party.
In fact, this salad greatly benefits from sitting in the fridge for a few hours and even overnight, so all its beautiful flavors have a chance to fully meld. That fact alone makes it an ideal contender for such gatherings…
Plus, like I said, it’s crazy delicious, so it’ll make all the guests super happy, and you’ll be getting praise galore.
And hey, who doesn’t like that?
Just one thing though… don’t count on there being any leftovers to bring back home or share after the party is over. I’m ready to bet good money that the bowl will have been licked clean long before people are even finished eating.
Loaded Cauliflower Salad
- 1 large head cauliflower, cut into bite size florets
- 4 small carrots, peeled and sliced fairly thickly (about 1/4" thick)
- 2 celery ribs, sliced
- 1 large red apple, peel on, diced
- 1 cup chopped raw almonds, toasted
- 1/2 cup organic raisins
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
For the dressing
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- the juice of 2 limes, about 1/4 cup
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp Himalayan salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
- Steam the cauliflower and carrots over salted boiling water or cook them in the microwave in about a quarter of a cup of slightly salted water for 2-3 minutes, until they are tender but still have a little bit of a crunch. Plunge the cooked vegetables in a bath of ice and cold water to stop the cooking process; once completely chilled, drain them really well.
- Transfer the cauliflower and carrots to a large mixing bowl, and then add the celery, apple dice, toasted almonds, raisins and parsley.
- Make the dressing: place the ingredients in a small bowl or measuring cup and mix well with a whisk until slightly emulsified. Pour over the reserved salad and toss until evenly distributed.
- Serve immediately or leave in the fridge for a few hours to allow flavors to develop. This salad will keep for 5 to 6 days in an airtight container.
If you’ve tried this recipe, please take a minute to rate the recipe and let me know how things went for you in the comments below. It’s always such a pleasure to hear from you!
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8 Comments on “Loaded Cauliflower Salad”
I love cauliflower and this looks amazing! Haha, we Asians love potlucks too – and four dishes! Definitely would have you as a VIP if I ever host a potluck 😀
OMG Sonia, I love potlucks too for the very reasons you mentioned. I really cannot wait to try this recipe when I get my move completed. Right now most of my kitchen stuff is in boxes waiting to be loaded on Thur.
It has been a very emotional week as my youngest son graduated from high school on Sat and his amazing birth family came from all over the country to celebrate him and his first step into the real world right alongside me and my ex. It was awesome!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂
Sorry for the digression. I love raw cauliflower so I probably won’t steam it at all but as I said, I cannot wait to try this one. You are pretty amazing!
Wow that looks good! So full of ingredients, yet so little calories. I could eat tons of that!
Delicious recipe. I would just add that it takes much more than 2-3 min to steam the cauliflower and carrot. I would start steaming the carrots first, then add the cauliflower after about 2 min, then continue steaming for 3 min.
I guess it all depends on how cooked you want your vegetables to be. Like I said, I just wanted to blanch mine, to soften them up a little, I didn’t want them to be cooked all the way, so that’s why I didn’t leave them in the steam basket for too long, and even stopped the cooking process by plunging them in a bath of ice and cold water.
That said, I’m really happy to hear that the salad was to your liking and thank you very much for taking the time to share your experience. I greatly appreciate that! 🙂
I love this recipe! Thank you for posting it. I replaced the raisins and almonds for tart cherries and black walnuts, and it worked out well.
Really great recipe! My family of four, including 2 teenage sons and husband, raved about this. It was our main course and we all went back for seconds. Will be adding this recipe to the pantheon of favorites. Thank you!
Aw, thank you so much Staci! That is so very kind of you to say, and I greatly appreciate your taking the time to share this awesome feedback. You totally rock! 🙂