The flavors in this Mediterranean cauliflower salad recipe are bright and lively. Red wine vinegar gently softens cauliflower while red onion adds a savory note. Crunchy and soft, piquant and earthy, this is one of my go to salads year round. Fast, fresh, gluten free and vegan!
What inspired this recipe
I created this hearty vegan cauliflower salad based on popular Mediterranean salads that used other brassicas and used ingredients native to the area. This is NOT a Greek salad with cauliflower, this is a tangy and refreshing salad full of herbs, vegetables and no cheese. This is true classic Mediterranean style salad using traditional ingredients...except for the cauliflower.
Red peppers and red onion add extra vibrancy and this Mediterranean cauliflower salad is finished with a shower of grassy green herbs at the end.
Fresh flavor, traditional Mediterranean ingredients
The Mediterranean is an area made up of 22 countries that surround the Mediterranean Sea. And we all know that these countries like Greece, France, Italy, Spain, Morocco, Egypt, Lebanon, Croatia and more all have their own very distinct cultures and recipes. Despite their differences though, there are also many similarities.
These countries share similar climates for growing, the same sea for fishing and a history of immigration and emigration amongst each other. These reasons are why many of the ingredients are the same though the preparations differ throughout the regions.
I spent a lot of time researching what Mediterranean cauliflower salad really is and I found out that cauliflower isn't a very common vegetable in the Mediterranean! There are a lot of other brassica dishes in that sunny part of the world, just not cauliflower...
Common to many regions of the Mediterranean are parsley, mint, basil, oregano, black pepper, cloves, cucumber, cumin, fennel, garlic, lemon, extra virgin olive oil, paprika, rosemary, tomato, wine and vinegar just to name a few!
I've chosen my ingredients from these classic and common ingredients and hope you love this as much as I do. Check out this quinoa Greek salad for similar flavors with the heartiness of grains.
Make ahead salad for potluck or picnic
This Mediterranean cauliflower salad is an excellent choice when you need a make ahead dish. Perfect for potluck, a summer picnic or side with dinner, the cauliflower gets even better as it sits.
When making it ahead, store the herbs separately and toss through before serving, ideally no more than an hour ahead of time. Salads with cauliflower are a big hit for people on low carb diets or those just trying to find healthier options than the usual mayo based potato and pasta salads.
Additions and Substitutions
This is a versatile salad and welcomes extra ingredients easily. Try adding in chickpeas, a can of tuna or a cup of quinoa for a protein burst. What about a rainbow of colored peppers? Yum. Basil is a lovely addition or go for piquant olives or capers!
Want to swap the cauliflower out? Broccoli is the most obvious and deliciously crunchy choice but you could sub mild green or savoy cabbage too. Don’t like onions? Omit them altogether or add a half cup of slivered red cabbage for some extra color.
How long will this Mediterranean salad keep
This salad can be made up to a day ahead as long as you add the herbs right before serving. The dressing itself can be made up to a week ahead and stored separately in your fridge until using. Once the salad is made and dressed, any leftovers will be fine to eat up to 3 or 4 days later, it will just not be as crisp as day 1.
The health benefits of Cauliflower
I made this salad with a whole head of cauliflower. Why? Because cauliflower is a powerhouse of vitamins, minerals, fiber and more! A cruciferous vegetable high in B vitamins, vitamin C (1 serving of 100 grams has 100% of your recommended daily intake), 25% of your daily vitamin K requirement and more, no wonder it's considered a superfood.
Additionally, high fibre and water content help both digestion and weigh loss and it's antioxidants protect against cancer. This is a vegetable worth including regularly in your diet. Eating cauliflower in any way is very nutritious but raw cauliflower is the best. If you're like me, it's easy because I like it a lot. If you aren't a big fan, I hope this salad makes it tastier for you.
Step by step photos
Hungry yet?! Let’s go chop up the cauliflower!
Thanks for reading along, as always, I look forward to your feedback. Did you try it? Did you like it? Wondering how to grow your own arugula? For fast support with recipe questions, follow me on Instagram or Facebook and message me there. I try to reply quickly with any urgent cooking q's 😉
PS. Don't forget to check out my home and kitchen shop at www.westcoastkitchengarden.com
Mediterranean Cauliflower Salad
- 5 c Cauliflower florets, cut into bite size pieces
- ½ c Red onion, slivered
- 1 c Red pepper, slivered
- ½ c Parsley, finely chopped
- ½ c Mint, finely chopped
- Optional garnish: Chive blossoms, oregano flowers or extra herbs.
- 4 tablespoon Olive oil
- 3 tablespoon Red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoon Honey
- ½ teaspoon Oregano
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- ¼ teaspoon Pepper
- Mix all salad dressing ingredients together well and season to taste generously with salt and pepper.
- Add all salad ingredients except garnishes to large bowl. Drizzle dressing over and toss to coat.
- *If making ahead more than 1 hour, leave the herbs out and add in right before serving. *This salad is vegan and safe to leave at room temperature for a few hours before refrigerating leftovers. If you choose to add tuna or any other perishable add-in, keep this salad refrigerated until serving and store leftovers immediately back in the fridge.