This simple roast cauliflower salad is warming and nourishing. The cauliflower is lightly spiced and toasted until the edges are caramelized then served with kale, creamy goats cheese and juicy pomegranate seeds. This is perfect for lunch or a light dinner.
Every year we're bombarded with healthy eating messages in January. And while I want to eat better after the excesses of Christmas January can be a hard month to go full-on salad mode!
If I want a salad in January it has to be really satisfying! Like this Kale and Quinoa Salad or this Halloumi Salad with Squash, these are salads that don't really feel like salads!
This roast cauliflower salad does the trick for when you want to eat something healthy but can't bear cold lettuce! The warmly spiced roasted cauliflower is perfect against the kale. The creamy goat's cheese adds smoothness to the dish. And when you bite into the juicy pomegranate seeds, well, that's just a little ray of much-needed sunshine!
📝What Do We Need
- Cauliflower - I use a whole head of cauliflower for this salad. The cauliflower will shrink slightly once roasted so although it may look like a lot it really isn't.
- Kale - regular kale is best for this recipe. Just shred it and remove and woody stalks.
- Cheese - I use a soft creamy goat's cheese for this. It's perfect for crumbling into the salad.
- Pomegranate - fresh is best, but if you don't want to buy a whole poemgranate you can buy a little pot of pomegranate seeds if you like.
- Nuts + Seeds - I use walnuts and pumpkin seeds for this dish.
- Spices - You only need two spices for this, ground cumin and smoked paprika.
🥣 How To Make It
This is just a quick visual guide, please see the recipe card below for full instructions
1. Mix the oil and spices together then add the cauliflower florets and toss until they are covered in the spice mixture. Roast in the oven.
2. Add the salt, lemon and oil to the kale then massage the kale for about 5 - 10 minutes.
3. You'll see that the kale will have halved in volume.
4. Take the cauliflower out of the oven, add the red onion wedges and return to the oven for another 10 - 15 minutes. Once the cauliflower is cooked add the kale along with the remaining ingredients.
👩🍳 Top Tips
- Roast the cauliflower until the edges are charred, this gives the cauliflower a lovely caramelised flavour.
- Don't skip massaging the kale! Raw kale can be really hard to eat and hard to digest. When you massage the kale with lemon and salt it breaks down the cellulose in the kale and makes it easier to eat and digest.
- You don't need a lot of goats cheese for this recipe but if you want you can add more.
📋 Variations and Substitutions
- If you're really not keen on kale you can swap it for spinach, I would use baby or young spinach if you do swap it.
- Not a fan of goats cheese? Feta works perfectly well with this too!
- If you can't get pomegranate then you could swap it for slices of apples, you won't get the juicyness but you will get the sweetness that balances this recipe.
No, you don't need to cook it first. The cauliflower will cook in the oven. If you boil or steam it first it will fall apart.
This is best made fresh, the cauliflower can be eaten cold but for best results, it's best to eat it when it's warm.
If you do have any leftovers you can store them in the fridge. They should be used within 2 days and you will be eating them cold.
I don't make a dressing for this as I feel that a good squeeze of lemon juice and a generous serving of freshly cracked black pepper really is enough.
🍽 How To Serve It
This salad is best served warm, but it can be eaten cold too. We really love this warm, the goat's cheese melts on the cauliflower a little bit and that's really good! This is really great on its own but if you wanted to add more crunch in there you could add some homemade sourdough croutons to it. If you would like to serve some bread with this then my soda bread works really well with this.
🥗 More Tasty Salads
If you're in need of more tasty salads that are satisfying too, then I have a few that will do the trick! This Orzo Pasta Salad is one of our favourites and we have it often, it's super tasty and so easy to make! This Noodle Salad is another favourite that I have been making for ages. Again this is very easy to make and tastes amazing! Another very popular salad is my Falafel Bowl with tahini sauce, this one is a great dinner too!
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Roast Cauliflower Salad with Kale
- 1 head of cauliflower, (450g) leaves removed and cut into florets
- 5 tablespoon olive oil
- ¾ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 level tsp ground cumin
- ½ level tsp smoked paprika
- 100 g (1 ½ cups) of kale shredded and woody stalks removed
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium red onion cut into eights, skin left on
- ¼ of a pomegranate seeds only
- The juice of half a medium lemon
- 65 g (½ a cup) chopped walnuts toasted
- 75 g (2.6oz) soft goat's cheese
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds
- Freshly squeezed lemon juice
To Roast The Cauliflower
- Heat the oven to 180°C (355°F) Fan, 200°C (390°F) conventional oven.
- In a large bowl add 5 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 level teaspoon of ground cumin and half a teaspoon of smoked paprika. Also, add a pinch of freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of sea salt. Mix until combined. Add the cauliflower florets to the bowl and mix well until all the florets are covered in the spice adn oil mixture.Transfer the cauliflower to a baking tray pour any oil left in the bowl over the cauliflower.Bake in the oven for 10 - 15 minutes then add the red onion to the tray and rub any oil on the tray onto the onion. Turn the cauliflower florets.Return the tray to the oven and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes. The cauliflower is done when it is golden brown and soft.
To Prepare The Kale
- While the cauliflower is cooking prep the kale. Place the kale in a large bowl with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and a pinch of sea salt.Start rubbing the salt and juices into the kale.Do this for about 5 minutes, then set the kale aside until ready to serve.
To Assemble The Salad
- When the cauliflower and red onion are cooked remove them from the oven and leave them to cool slightly. Drain the kale in a colander to remove any excess liquid.Add to a large serving dish.Add the cauliflower and red onion to the kale and toss gently. Crumble the goat's cheese over the salad and add the toasted walnuts, pumpkin seeds and pomegranate. Serve with a good squeeze of lemon juice and some freshly cracked black pepper.
- Cauliflower - Don't be afraid to roast the cauliflower until the edges are charred, this gives the cauliflower a lovely caramelised flavour.
- Kale - Don't skip massaging the kale! Raw kale can be really hard to eat and hard to digest. When you massage the kale with lemon and salt it breaks down the cellulose in the kale and makes it easier to eat and digest.
- Cheese - You don't need a lot of goats cheese for this recipe but if you want you can add more.
- Nutritional Information - is calculated using an online nutrition tool and is approximate.
- Weights and measurements - For US readers, I use Cuisipro measuring cups and spoons, and a Pyrex measuring jug for liquids. These are the industry standard. Cup/spoon volumes can differ from brand to brand, for accuracy, I recommend weighing all ingredients if possible for best results.
*First published January 2018, updated January 2022 with new photos, nutritional information and expert tips.
I have a conventional (non-convection) oven, and roasted the cauliflower at 425 °F for 20 - 25 minutes.
Thanks Mike, that's really helpful. So that's 218 C.
Love finding different ways to eat cauliflower! And since I am not a salad person this will help me eat more! Can't wait to try it!
Thanks Gina, I hope you enjoy it x