Easy Cauliflower Salad

This easy Cauliflower Salad recipe is crunchy and flavorful. If you’re looking for a healthy, nearly raw salad to add to your meal plan, this one is a favorite, and it’s full of cruciferous cauliflower florets and other veggies. Sure, it’s a perfect summer salad, but it’s great any time of year.

A bowl of cauliflower salad with another bowl of salad behind it and dressing and parsley behind it as well.

I have quite a passion for salads. I think it’s from reading Dr. Fuhrman’s Eat to Live book. He calls himself a nutritarian and I agree with him that eating more whole food plants is the way to go.

Cauliflower is high on the list of healthy vegetables because it’s cruciferous. If you’re curious. cauliflower is a low calorie, nutrient-dense food that we all could stand to eat more of. That explains why I love this easy cauliflower soup recipe.

Besides, raw cauliflower salad recipes are delicious, too!

Cold cauliflower salads make a perfect side dish for your favorite plant-based meals, like Vegan Meatloaf.

Low Carb Salad

Because cauliflower is naturally low in carbs, it is a perfect substitute for pasta in salads. So, we’re adding an Italian-themed dressing and some of the pasta fixings. It’s one of those perfect low carb summer salads! Or fall salad. Or winter salad, etc.

Of course, if you’re looking for an easy vegan pasta salad, I’ve got you covered there, too.

Why This Recipe is a Winner

  • Cauliflower is minimally cooked, making it slightly tender, while maintaining its crunch
  • Red onion adds color and flavor to this tasty salad
  • A zesty lemon vinaigrette provides the perfect topping, making each bite absolutely delicious.

Ingredients

You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities, below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time.

Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this recipe:

  • Cauliflower — You’ll need 1 medium head of raw cauliflower
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Black olives
  • Chickpeas — Use a 15-ounce can or 1 3/4 cups of cooked chickpeas
  • Red onion — I prefer red onion for the pop of color and milder flavor.
  • Olive oil
  • Seasonings — You’ll need salt, black pepper, garlic powder, fresh parsley (or dried), dill sprigs (either fresh or dried), and dried thyme.
  • Lemon — We’ll use both the zest and the juice of a lemon.

How to Make Cauliflower Salad

This easy cauliflower salad is loaded with fresh veggies available all year round.

  1. Cut the cauliflower into small florets and cook them in a microwave for 3 to 4 minutes, until softened.
  2. Transfer cooked and cooled cauliflower to a bowl with tomatoes, black olives, chickpeas, and chopped onions.
  3. Prepare the lemon dressing by stirring together the dressing ingredients in a small bowl or mason jar.
  4. Pour the dressing over the cauliflower and stir well to coat.
  5. Cover the salad and refrigerate and allow it to sit for at least an hour before serving (overnight is even better). Be sure to stir to redistribute the marinade before serving.

Here are more detailed step-by-step instructions.

Step One: Prepare the Cauliflower

Prepare the cauliflower by pulling away any leaves and remove the core. Cut the cauliflower into small florets. To use most of the cauliflower, cut long stems into small pieces. Here’s more about how to cut cauliflower.

A bowl of cauliflower florets.

Now, you could serve this cauliflower salad completely, raw, but I prefer slightly cooked cauliflower because it’s more tender and the flavor is milder. Here’s how you do it: place the florets and cut stems in a large microwave-safe bowl.

Place the bowl in a microwave and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. This will soften the cauliflower but it will still have a crisp bite as if it’s almost raw.

Once the cauliflower is cool enough to handle, transfer it to a salad bowl. Add tomatoes, black olives, chickpeas, and chopped onions.

A small glass jar holds dressing, with a lemon behind it and a parsley leaf in front of it.

Step Two: Make the Lemon Dressing

While the cauliflower is cooking in the microwave, prepare the lemon dressing by combining the ingredients in a small bowl or mason jar.

Whisk or shake (if using a jar with a lid) until combined. Pour most of the dressing over the cauliflower mixture and stir well to coat. Reserve some of the dressing for individual servings or to add more immediately prior to serving.

Cover the salad and refrigerate it. I recommend letting it sit for at least an hour before serving (overnight is even better). Be sure to stir to redistribute the marinade/dressing before serving.

Marly’s Tips

Serving note: I like to reserve some of the dressing so that I can add more before serving. Here’s why. If this salad sits in the fridge a day or two before serving, extra juices can accumulate at the bottom of the dish. Drain that out before serving and replace it with some additional dressing.

If you’re looking for something a little different, try adding some of this strawberry vinaigrette as well. It’s tasty and colorful!

A small bowl of dressing is being poured over a bowl full of cauliflower florets, cherry tomatoes, and other veggies.

Storage Tips

This salad will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Not recommended for freezing.

More Vegan Salad Recipes

A closeup of a bowl featuring vegetables, such as cherry tomatoes, black olives, and cauliflower florets.
A bowl of cauliflower salad with another bowl of salad behind it and dressing and parsley behind it as well.

Cauliflower Salad

This Cauliflower Salad is a great, low-carb recipe that you can serve as a healthy side dish any time of year!
5 from 2 votes
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Resting Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 144kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 medium head cauliflower
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • ¼ cup sliced black olives
  • 15 ounce can chickpeas , drained
  • ½ cup red onion , finely chopped

Lemon Dressing

  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill sprigs
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme

Instructions

  • Prepare the cauliflower by pulling away any leaves and remove the core. Cut the cauliflower into small florets. Place these in a large microwave-safe bowl. To use most of the cauliflower, cut long stems into small pieces. Add these to the same microwave-safe bowl.
  • Place the bowl in a microwave and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. This will soften the cauliflower but it will still have a crisp bite.
  • Once cauliflower is cool enough to handle, transfer it to a salad bowl. Add tomatoes, black olives, chickpeas, and chopped onions.

Lemon Dressing

  • While the cauliflower is cooking in the microwave, prepare the lemon dressing by combining all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl or mason jar. Whisk or shake (if using a jar with a lid) until creamy. Pour the dressing over the cauliflower mixture and stir well to coat, reserving some dressing to add on immediately before serving.
  • Cover the salad and refrigerate and allow it to sit for at least an hour before serving (overnight is even better). Be sure to stir to redistribute the marinade before serving.
  • This salad will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Not recommended for freezing.

(The products above contain sponsored links to products we use and recommend)

Calories: 144kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 386mg | Potassium: 401mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 299IU | Vitamin C: 48mg | Calcium: 44mg | Iron: 1mg

The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Enjoy!

One Response to Easy Cauliflower Salad

  1. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly Reply

    5 stars
    As the recipe author, I’m pleased to report this is a tasty cauliflower salad that is easy to make and delicious too!

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