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Mediterranean Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing

$8.39 Recipe/$2.10 Serving

Roasted cauliflower salad with lemon tahini dressing is the perfect non-traditional salad recipe! Mediterranean spiced cauliflower paired with white beans and onions over your favorite salad greens all coated in an irresistible lemon tahini dressing. This salad is great for weeknight meals, to entertain with or to serve as a side dish or appetizer.

Trust me when I say this will be one of your new favorite ways to make and use cauliflower!

Roasted cauliflower salad with lemon tahini dressing in a bowl.

Why you will love mediterranean roasted cauliflower

  • Roasting cauliflower takes boring cauliflower to a whole new level. The cauliflower caramelized in the oven, giving it a whole new flavor profile and texture that is simply irresistible, especially when it’s coated in Mediterranean spices.
  • This recipe is budget friendly – made with cauliflower and white beans, this salad is super filling and can easily be served as a main course for 2 people or an appetizer for 4. It’s fancy enough for company but easy enough for weeknight meals. Plus everything cooks on one sheet pan!
  • Easy to modify based on what you have on hand! Perhaps you have other veggies you want to add, or you can’t tolerate beans well! Check out the tips below on other veggies and flavors you could add to make this work for any diet or flavor profile.
Ingredients to make Mediterranean Roasted Cauliflower Salad.
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Ingredients

  • Salad Greens of choices (arugula, spinach, romaine lettuce, kale, mixed salad greens)
  • Cauliflower (fresh or frozen both work well)
  • Red onion – I love roasting red onion as it gets sweet and caramelized in the oven.
  • Olive oil – this is essential to making sure the cauliflower gets caramelized and so the spices stick well to the cauliflower.
  • Spices: Cumin, garlic powder, salt, smoked paprika – these spices help create a smoky flavor on the veggies and they are easy to find at most stores. You can find all of these spices at Trader Joe’s.

Spiced White beans

  • White beans (cannellini beans, great northern white beans, navy beans or chickpeas) – these beans add fiber and protein to the salad and when roasted, they get almost crunchy. You could roast them longer to make  them almost like croutons.
  • Olive oil – helps the spices stick and the skin of the beans get crunchy.
  • Spices: Cumin, garlic powder, salt – this makes the beans smoky and more flavorful.

Lemon Tahini Dressing

  • Tahini – Tahini is used in many Mediterranean dishes (like hummus or baba ganoush) and one of my favorite bases for salad dressing.
  • Lemon juice – this helps add acidity to the dressing and lemon pairs so well with roasted cauliflower.
  • Water – this helps to thin out the dressing.
  • Salt – salt helps to elevate all the flavors.

Instructions

How to make Mediterranean Roasted Cauliflower and Onions

  1. Remove the florets from the head of cauliflower and cut them into equal size pieces.
  2. Place the cauliflower on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  3. Drizzle olive oil over the cauliflower and sprinkle spices over top. Stir well to ensure the cauliflower is well coated in spices.
  4. Slice the red onion and scatter over top of the cauliflower.
  5. Bake in 425F oven for 20 minutes (30 minutes total). After 20 minutes, take the cauliflower out of the oven, move it around to ensure all the sides will brown up and add the white beans to the top before baking for an additional 10 minutes.
Steps on how to roast cauliflower and onions.

How to make the spiced white beans

  1. Drain and rinse the white beans until the liquid running off of them is clear and no longer foams up.
  2. Add the clean beans to a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle seasoning over top. Stir well.
  3. After cauliflower has baked 20 minutes, add the beans to the top before baking 10 more minutes at 425F.
Steps on how to coat the beans and roast them.

How to make vegan lemon tahini dressing

  1. In a bowl, combine all the ingredients and stir well until smooth. If the tahini has been in the fridge, microwave it for 10 seconds before adding the rest of the ingredients as it gets very thick in the fridge.
How to make vegan lemon tahini dressing.

To assemble the salad

  1. Let the cauliflower, red onion and white bean mixture sit at least 10 minutes after done baking to start to cool. You want to do this so it doesn’t wilt the salad greens.  
  2. Add your favorite salad greens to a large bowl.
  3. Add the roasted Mediterranean cauliflower, spiced white beans and lemon tahini dressing on top.
  4. Stir well (I use tongs) to ensure the dressing has coated all the ingredients well.
  5. Serve immediately.
Finished roasted cauliflower and beans over salad greens.

Top tips for roasting cauliflower

  • Make the cauliflower the same size: To ensure the cauliflower cooks evenly so that nothing burns and there aren’t pieces that are undercooked, try to make the florets the same size (bite size pieces).
  • Don’t be afraid to coat with oil: To ensure the cauliflower gets that nice, caramelized flavor and to make sure the spices stick, be sure to coat the florets in olive oil first.
  • Let the cauliflower roast at least 20 minutes in a HOT oven before moving it around. The top tips I have for perfectly roasted cauliflower are cook it in a hot oven and be sure to use some oil. Letting the cauliflower rest in one spot for at least 20 minutes allows it to start to develop a crust and also keeps the heat in the oven so don’t open the door for at least 20 minutes for best results.
  • Use a large enough pan: I actually love using my extra large baking sheet for making roasted cauliflower. It’s large so you can spread out the cauliflower and red onion which will allow them to roast instead of just steam (which can happen when the pan is too crowded). If you are unsure, you can always divide this between 2 pans instead of 1.
Plate full of roasted cauliflower salad with a fork grabbing a bite.
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Other veggies you could add to this salad

I love how simple this Mediterranean roasted cauliflower salad is but if you have other veggies that need to get used, add them to the baking sheet before coating with oil and spices. Depending on how much you are adding, you may want to double the spices being used. Here are some other veggies that would be great with this recipe:

  • Asparagus – cut into bite size pieces
  • Bell peppers – sliced and cut into bite size pieces
  • Sliced carrots
  • Broccoli – broken down into bite size pieces
  • Fennel – sliced, chopped into bite size pieces

To make this salad more filling

This is a great simple salad and you could easily add more carbs or protein to make it more filling. Some great additions include:

  • Carbs: Quinoa, brown rice, sweet potatoes, butternut squash
  • Protein: Shredded chicken, salmon, shrimp, tofu, canned salmon or tuna
  • Healthy fats: Nuts or seeds like pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, pistachios, sliced almonds or sliced avocado
  • Something sweet: Dried sweetened cranberries, dried apricots (chopped), regular or golden raisins.
Roasted cauliflower, onions and beans over salad greens with lemon tahini dressing.

Common questions

Tips on picking out cauliflower and storing it in the fridge

When picking out cauliflower at the grocery store, it can be really helpful to see if the store charges by the cauliflower or by the pound. If the store (like Trader Joe’s for example) charges a flat rate for cauliflower, choose the largest head you can find for the best bang for your budget. If the store charges by the pound, you may want to be mindful of that so you can stick to your budget.

You are looking for a head of cauliflower without any blemishes (yellow or brown spots), the leaves look green and healthy, and the florets are tightly packed. Also if you can, give it a smell. It shouldn’t smell rotten or musty (this indicates that it’s old and likely won’t taste great).

How to cut a cauliflower

  • I like to start by cutting the leaves away.
  • After that, keep the top of the cauliflower head down (so the stalk is face up). Take the tip of your knife and cut all the way around the stalk which will remove almost all the florets except at the very top.
  • Last, cut away the rest of the florets at the top of the stalk and you can discard the stalk and leaves.
  • Once you have all the bunches of florets removed, take time to cut them down into similar bite size pieces before adding them to a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
Bowl filled with Mediterranean roasted cauliflower and lemon tahini dressing.

Can you make this salad in advance?

Yes! However I would not add the dressing until right before serving. You can roast the veggies and beans ahead of time and store them in an airtight container for up to 3 days. You can also make the dressing ahead of time and store in the fridge.

Note: The dressing will get very thick in the fridge so you will likely need to heat it up or let it sit out at room temperature for 5-10 minutes so it’s easier to stir and pour.

Right before serving, combine all the ingredients together and mix well with tongs or large salad forks.

Other flavors variations

I love the smoky Mediterranean flavors but you could also change the flavors up easily to make this a whole different salad experience! Here are some other flavor variations:

  • Add fresh herbs like flat leaf parsley, mint, dill to add flavors to this salad.
  • Southwest: Use lime juice instead of lemon juice and add some chili powder (about 1-2 tsp) to the veggies before cooking. Use black beans instead of cannelini beans.
  • Curry: Add curry powder (1/2-1 tsp) to the veggies and turmeric (1/2 tsp) and cilantro (2-4 tbsp) to the dressing
  • Italian: Omit the cumin and smoked paprika and add italian seasoning (1 tbsp), and balsamic vinegar (1-2 tbsp) to the veggies.

Can you use frozen cauliflower

Yes! I love roasting frozen cauliflower. Treat frozen cauliflower just like fresh, add olive oil and spices, and roast in hot oven. This may need 3-5 minutes less time cooking than fresh cauliflower since it’s already softened from being blanched prior to flash freezing.  

How to store mediterranean roasted cauliflower

Depending on the greens you use, this salad may not hold up well to storing in the fridge.

If you know you want leftovers from this salad, you may want to use kale as the green. Kale holds up well to dressing for up to 3 days.

Tip: When working with kale in any salad, be sure to remove the woody stems and chop into bite size pieces. Kale does best when it’s massaged with the dressing, so you can add 1/2 the dressing directly to the kale and use your hands or tongs to massage the dressing in. You will see the kale leaves start to break down and turn a different color (darken) and get less rigid. This is what you want before adding the roasted veggies and beans to ensure you have good flavor and texture.

Plate full of Mediterranean roasted cauliflower salad with lemon in background.

Substitutions

  • Cauliflower: You can use broccoli or asparagus instead of cauliflower, but I love this recipe with cauliflower best. You can use frozen cauliflower as well!
  • Red onion: The red onion is 100% optional. You could also use shallots, white or yellow onion as well. If you cannot tolerate onions, you could use the tops of green onions after roasting.
  • Olive oil: You can also use avocado oil or even ghee (not vegan) in place of the olive oil. If you are limiting your fat intake, you can reduce or omit the olive oil, but it may be tough to have the spices stick to the cauliflower. In this case, it can be helpful to roast the cauliflower first then toss it in spices.
  • White beans: You can use any white bean you have on hand: cannellini, great northern white beans, navy beans or chickpeas (garbanzo beans).  You could also use light or dark kidney beans, black beans or lentils in place of the white beans. If you do not tolerate beans/legumes, you can replace the beans with nuts or seeds (see list above).
  • Tahini: Tahini is a paste made from ground sesame seeds. If you don’t have tahini you could also use almond butter, sunflower seed butter or cashew butter for a similar dressing.
  • Lemon juice: This helps to elevate the other flavors in the salad and balance out the fat from the tahini. You could also use limes, apple cider vinegar (1-2 tbsp) or white wine vinegar (1-2 tbsp).  
  • Spices: Any of these spices can be omitted if you don’t have them on hand. I would not recommend adding fresh garlic to the roasting cauliflower as it will burn with the high heat of the oven. If you love fresh garlic, add it when you add the beans. If you don’t have cumin, use more smoked paprika. If you don’t have smoked paprika, you can use regular paprika or omit it completely.
  • Salt: Salt is essential in my book. It elevates the flavors and under seasoning food is one of the main reasons people think they cannot cook. If you are sensitive to salt, use your favorite “No added salt” replacement.
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Bowl filled with roasted Mediterranean cauliflower and white beans.

Mediterranean Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing

$8.39 Recipe/$2.10 Serving
Mediterranean roasted cauliflower and white bean salad with creamy lemon tahini dressing is the appetizer or meal (with added veggies or starch). The smoky veggies paired with white beans and the most flavorful lemon tahini dressing will be a hit at your next party but it's simple enough for weeknight meals!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Save Rate
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: mediterranean cauliflower salad, mediterranean roasted cauilflower salad, roasted cauliflower salad
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 35 mins
Servings: 4

Ingredients

Spiced White Beans

Lemon Tahini Dressing

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 425F.
  • Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
  • Remove the florets from the head of cauliflower and cut into bite size pieces.
  • Add the cauliflower to the baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and add spices. Stir well.
  • Add sliced red onion to the baking sheet with the cauliflower.
  • Make sure the cauliflower is spread out in a single layer. Roast for 20 minutes at 425F.
  • While the cauliflower is roasting, combine rinse and drain the white beans. Add white beans to a bowl and olive oil and spices. Stir well.
  • After cauliflower has been cooking for 20 minutes, remove from oven. Stir around on the baking sheet and add the white beans. Return to the oven for 10 minutes at 425F.
  • While the cauliflower and white beans finish baking, make the dressing by combining all the dressing ingredients in a bowl and stir well until fully combined.
  • After the veggies cook for the full 30 minutes, allow the veggies and beans to cool 10 minutes before assembling the salad.
  • Add the salad greens to the bottom of a large bowl. Top with veggies, beans and dressing. Stir well (I like to use tongs).

Notes

Salad nutrition facts are for 4 servings. This can easily be a full meal salad for 2 people as well. The cost per serving if you served 2 people would be $4.20 per serving. 
Ways to make this salad more filling:
  • Carbs: Quinoa, brown rice, sweet potatoes, butternut squash
  • Protein: Shredded chicken, salmon, shrimp, tofu, canned salmon or tuna
  • Healthy fats: Nuts or seeds like pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, pistachios, sliced almonds or sliced avocado
  • Something sweet: Dried sweetened cranberries, dried apricots (chopped), regular or golden raisins.
Tips for roasting cauliflower:
  • Use a large enough baking sheet. I like this extra large baking sheet as it allows the veggies to roast and not steam.
  • Don’t be shy about using olive oil to coat the cauliflower. 
  • Make sure you use a hot, preheated oven. Roasting veggies requires a HOT oven – at least 425F.
  • Cut the cauliflower into even size pieces to ensure they roast evenly. 
 
See how I calculate food cost.

Nutrition Information

Nutrition Facts
Amount per Serving
Calories
287
Fat
 
14
g
Carbohydrates
 
35
g
Fiber
 
10
g
Sugar
 
5
g
Protein
 
13
g
Where does nutrition info come from? Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy, sourced from the USDA Food Database.
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