A vibrant, mid-winter vegetable salad–made with roasted cherry tomatoes, crispy chickpeas and cauliflower couscous– that is scrumptious, seasonal and simple to make.
Lush summer produce is months away, but that doesn’t mean winter vegetables need to be boring. With a bit of ingenuity and (you”ll be happy to know) minimal time and effort, you can fall in love with a plateful of produce, even when bitter winds are blowing and the snow is piled high.
My Cherry Tomato, Chickpea & Cauliflower Salad is a perfect example.
The ingredients are familiar and readily available, with nary a bag of iceberg lettuce in sight!
Cauliflower, ground in a food processor to couscous consistency, provides the backbone of the salad. Sauté it in a scant amount of olive oil–punctuated with garlic and rosemary–and you have a delicious side-dish on it own! Even children who (think) they do not like cauliflower will love it. But keep adding on the ingredients to make this salad.
Adding to the salad’s mosaic of colors, flavors and textures are cherry tomatoes and chickpeas.
Cherry tomatoes in winter? I know, bland and hard as rocks. Unless you roast them! A short spell in the oven renders them sweet and unctuous. Yum. Chickpeas roast alongside the tomatoes, becoming crisp-toasty.
Toss the cauliflower together with the tomatoes and chickpeas, as well as some chopped parsley and fresh lemon (both juice and zest). The latter two ingredients are stealth winter weapons, adding bright, fresh flavor to all varieties of winter vegetables.
Dig in! This glorious salad will add instant cheer to mealtime, whether at the end of a long, cold, day, or as a lunchtime pick-me-up. It is equally delicious warm, room temperature or chilled.
- 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
- 4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- fine sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 small head cauliflower,trimmed, cut into pieces
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
- ½ cup chipped fresh parsley leaves
- 1 medium lemon, juiced and zest grated
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Arange the cherry tomatoes on one side of sheet and the chickpeas on the other. Drizzle the tomatoes and chickpeas with 1 teaspoon olive oil each; use your hands to toss and coat. Sprinkle tomatoes with salt.
- Roast for 19 to 23 minutes until chickpeas are browned and tomatoes are bursting. Cool slightly or entirely.
- Working in batches, process the cauliflower in a food processor until the pieces have the texture of rice or couscous.
- Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the caulfower, garlic and rosemary. Cook and stir for 3 to 4 minutes until softened. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a large bowl.
- Add the parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, tomatoes and chickpeas to the cauliflower, gently tossing to combine. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Serve slightly warm, room temperature or chilled.
Rosemary Options: 1 teaspoon of dried, crumbled rosemary or Italian dried herbs can be used in place of the fresh rosemary.
Oil Options: Feel free to substitute the oil of your choice for the olive oil.
Garlic Options: 1 teaspoon of garlic powder can be used in place of the minced garlic.