Bursting with colors, textures, and a harmonious blend of ingredients, this 2-4 serving dish is not only delicious but nutrient-dense. Before revealing the recipe, let’s explore the benefits of cauliflower and discover why this salad deserves a spot on your table!
Benefits of Cauliflower
Cauliflower, the star of this salad, offers a host of health benefits:
- Rich in Nutrients: Cauliflower is a nutrient powerhouse, providing an abundance of vitamins C, K, and B6, as well as folate, fiber, and antioxidants. It’s also rich in the powerful plant compound sulforaphane (SFN), which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anticancer, and metabolic as well as cardiovascular supportive properties in lab studies. It may also protect cells against oxidative stress, inflammation, and certain types of cancer (including breast, prostate, colon, and lung cancer).
- Promotes Digestive Health: The fiber content in cauliflower supports a healthy digestive system, aiding in digestion and promoting regularity.
- Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Cauliflower contains compounds that have anti-inflammatory effects, potentially reducing inflammation in the body.
- Supports Heart Health: The presence of fiber, antioxidants, and certain compounds, such as SFN, in cauliflower may contribute to heart health by reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
- Provides Antioxidant Protection: Cauliflower contains various antioxidants, including vitamin C and beta-carotene, which help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.
For the Salad
- 1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cucumber, diced
- 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, halved
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
For the Dressing
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease it.
- Place the cauliflower florets on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat evenly. Roast in the preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender and lightly browned. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the roasted cauliflower, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, Kalamata olives, feta cheese, parsley, and mint leaves.
- In a separate small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, Dijon mustard, dried oregano, salt, and pepper. Adjust the seasonings to your taste.
- Pour the dressing over the salad ingredients and gently toss until everything is well coated.
- Allow the flavors to fuse by refrigerating the salad for at least 30 minutes before serving.
- Serve chilled and enjoy as a refreshing and nutritious Mediterranean cauliflower salad!
Feel free to customize the salad by adding other Mediterranean-inspired ingredients such as roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, or chickpeas. It can be served as a light lunch or as a side dish alongside grilled chicken or fish. Bon appétit!
Recipe by Jacqueline Seymour / drfranklipman.com