A Symphony of Flavors and Textures
Step into The Whole Revolution kitchen with one of our favorite cauliflower recipes for our Roasted Cauliflower & Rice Salad recipe, a culinary masterpiece that will transport your taste buds to a realm of vibrant and enticing flavors. This exquisite salad harmoniously combines the nutty richness of brown rice with the earthy sweetness of perfectly roasted cauliflower making this a great addition to your fall and winter salad recipe list. But what truly elevates this dish to a new level of gourmet perfection is the mesmerizing allure of our luscious pomegranate dressing.
The Magic of Pomegranate Molasses
At the heart of our Roasted Cauliflower & Rice Salad lies a magical ingredient: pomegranate molasses. This remarkable concoction has a rich history dating back centuries, with its roots entrenched in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines. Crafted from reduced pomegranate juice, this thick, tangy syrup adds a burst of complexity to our salad's flavor profile. It's a testament to the artistry of generations of culinary enthusiasts who have perfected the craft of transforming humble pomegranates into a symphony of sweet and tart notes.
Crafting Pomegranate Molasses
The process of creating pomegranate molasses is as intriguing as its taste. Pomegranate juice is meticulously simmered and reduced to a thick, syrupy consistency, intensifying its natural sweetness while maintaining its vibrant tartness. This reduction process requires patience and skill, resulting in the luxurious molasses that imparts its unique character to our salad dressing. With each spoonful, you'll savor the centuries-old tradition and craftsmanship embodied in this exceptional ingredient, adding a layer of cultural richness to your dining experience.
Delicious Roasted Cauliflower:
- Extra Virgin Olive oil
- Cauliflower head
- Sweet paprika or paprika
- Sea salt
- Ground black pepper
- Short-grain brown rice, cooked (substitute: quinoa, barley, or farro)
- Carrots, shredded
- Walnuts, chopped
- Fresh parsley, finely chopped
- Dried cranberries
The Salad Dressing:
- Pomegranate molasses
- Fresh Lemon juice
- Apple cider vinegar
- Sea salt
- Extra Virgin Olive oil
See recipe card for quantities.
- Prepare cauliflower: Remove the leaves of the cauliflower and cut off the florets from the cauliflower core. Cut into smaller, flat pieces for ultimate roasting coverage.
- Roast the Cauliflower florets until golden brown: Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C). In a large mixing bowl, combine tablespoons of olive oil, sweet paprika, salt, and black pepper. Cut the cauliflower into florets and toss them in the seasoning mixture. Spread the cauliflower on a baking sheet and roast for 25-30 minutes or until tender and slightly crispy. Let it cool.
- Prepare the Salad Base: In a large salad bowl, combine the cooked brown rice (or your chosen grain), shredded carrots, chopped walnuts, parsley, and dried cranberries. Mix these ingredients well.
- Make the Pomegranate Dressing: In a separate bowl, whisk together pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, honey, and salt. Gradually add olive oil while whisking until the dressing is emulsified.
- Combine and Toss: Pour the pomegranate dressing over the delicious salad base and toss until everything is well coated. Gently fold in the roasted cauliflower.
- Serve and Enjoy: This salad can be served immediately, or you can refrigerate it for a few hours to let the flavors meld. Serve chilled or at room temperature. This delicious recipe serves in different ways; as a dinner side perfect with a roast chicken, meal prep for a hearty lunch, or even an easy dinner for the midweek craziness.
- Substitute the brown rice with quinoa, barley, or farro for diverse flavors and textures.
- If you're not a fan of walnuts, try pecans, pine nuts or almonds for a different nutty twist.
- Swap dried cranberries with currants or chopped dried apricots for a delightful variation.
- Apple Cider Vinegar not your thing? Substitute with red wine vinegar, sherry vinegar, or white wine vinegar
- Additions: crumbled feta cheese for a creamy, tangy element. Add baby kale or baby spinach for more nutrients.
- Incorporate grilled chicken or chickpeas for a protein-packed main course version
- Experiment with different fresh herbs like fresh mint leaves or chopped cilantro to change the herbal notes of the salad.
- Make it fancy by topping the salad with pomegranate arils for a little more texture and a little sour note to the salad.
- Make it Vegan: Simply substitute the honey for Pure Maple Syrup for a hardy vegan salad
- baking sheet or baking tray
- large bowl
- small bowl or mason jar
- sharp knife
- cutting board
- Measuring cups and spoons
Store any leftover salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a couple of days. Keep in mind that the texture of the cauliflower may change slightly upon refrigeration, but the flavors will still be outstanding.
Break down cauliflower to similar sized flat small pieces to roast evenly. Toss in olive oil and seasoning. Place on sheet pan in even layer for the ultimate nutty flavor roasted cauliflower can bring.
Absolutely! Quinoa, barley, and farro are excellent substitutes for brown rice.
Grilled chicken or chickpeas are fantastic protein additions to this salad to create a complete meal.
Yes, you can make the dressing ahead of time and store it separately until you're ready to assemble the salad.
Roasted Cauliflower & Rice Salad with Pomegranate Dressing
- 1 Oven
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium head of cauliflower
- 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups short grain brown rice cooked (sub: quinoa, barley, or farro)
- 2 large carrots shredded
- ½ cup walnuts chopped
- ½ cup parsley finely chopped
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Preheat oven to 425.
- Remove stem and leaves from the cauliflower and discard. Slice cauliflower head into 1-inch slices, pieces will break apart into smaller pieces, that's okay.
- While the cauliflower roasts, make the salad and the salad dressing. In a large bowl, add the remaining salad ingredients and set aside.
- In a small bowl, or mason jar with tight-fitting lid, add the dressing ingredients. Shake or whisk until well combined and emulsified.
- Add the roasted cauliflower pieces to the large bowl with the salad ingredients. Toss. Pour salad dressing over salad and toss until well combined and every salad ingredient is light coated in the Pomegranate Salad Dressing.
- This salad can be served warm, at room temperature, or cold. Because the salad utilizes hearty ingredients, you can enjoy it for the next three days, which makes this salad a beautiful and tasty option for meal prep.
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- Ensure that the cauliflower is roasted until tender to guarantee its safety and deliciousness.
- When storing leftovers, use a clean and airtight container to maintain freshness.
- If serving this salad outdoors, keep it chilled in a cooler or over ice to prevent spoilage.