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Winter Cauliflower Salad

September 9, 2013

By Kath Dedon

Winter Cauliflower Salad is a terrific way to enjoy cauliflower! Ingredients like olives, garlic, red onion, sun-dried tomatoes, a chile pepper, and gorgonzola cheese guarantee that it will be full of flavor.

The recipe is from a newly published book, The Glorious Vegetables of Italy, by Domenica Marchetti. This is not a vegetarian book, although most of the recipes are indeed vegetarian. There are recipes for appetizers, soups, salads, side dishes, and main courses and they all feature the favorite vegetables of Italy. There’s even a short chapter of desserts. (How does Chocolate Zucchini Cake or Pumpkin Gelato sound?)

So far, I have only made this Winter Cauliflower Salad. If it is any indication of the quality of the other recipes, I can’t wait to explore this book some more.

Some of my observations about the recipe:

  • I used sun-dried tomatoes, but if I had some garden-fresh plum tomatoes I might have slow-roasted some and used them.
  • I used all green olives. Next time I’ll use half green and half black (probably kalamata). I think it will add to the visual appeal.
  • Because of all of the salty ingredients (olives, sun-dried tomatoes, gorgonzola), I cut the sea salt in half. We thought it was just right.
  • I seeded the serrano chile pepper and its heat was subtle and did not overpower the other ingredients.

You might wonder why it is called Winter Cauliflower Salad. Domenica states that, although it certainly can be made year-round, she especially loves it during the winter months to complement the heartier fare of the season. We would eat it any time!


Winter Cauliflower Salad


Winter Cauliflower Salad

(Adapted from the recipe in The Glorious Vegetables of Italy)


(print the recipe)

Since I was cooking for two, I cut the recipe in half. I won’t do that again because this is the kind of salad that I would love to have again the next day. Here is the full recipe that serves 6 – 8. You can halve it if you wish.


Serves 6 – 8

1 medium head cauliflower (1 lb/455g), trimmed and cut into florets

1 large celery rib, sliced on the bias

1 cup (115g) coarsely chopped pitted olives, preferably a mixture of green and black

1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

2 garlic cloves, minced

¼ cup (30g) diced red onion

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped bottled sun-dried tomatoes (or slow-roasted tomatoes)

1 fresh chile pepper, very hot or mildly hot, your preference, minced (I used a seeded serrano chile.)

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon, plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice

½ teaspoon fine sea salt

¼ to ½ cup extra virgin olive oil (I found ¼ cup to be sufficient.)

3 – 4 oz (85 – 115g) gorgonzola piccante, crumbled

1. Put a steamer basket with the cauliflower over boiling water. Cover and steam for about 4 minutes. Remove the steamer from the pot.

2. Put the celery, olives, parsley, garlic, red onion, sun-dried tomatoes, and chile pepper in a large bowl. Add the cauliflower and toss the salad well.

3. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt and toss again so they are well distributed.

4. Add ¼ cup of olive oil and toss the salad. Taste to see if you need more salt or olive oil.

5. Cover and let it marinate for at least 30 minutes.

6. Just before serving, toss in the gorgonzola crumbles.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. September 9, 2013 2:28 pm

    Cauliflower is my absolute favorite so I would probably eat this one year round too! I will have to give this a try next week so I can munch on it for myself. When we get cauliflower from the farm we always ask my other half to make his soup but I am sure he would like to try something else next week! Thanks for sharing this with us. 🙂

    • September 9, 2013 2:33 pm

      I think you’ll love it, Dionne. I think even confirmed cauliflower-haters might be swayed. 😉 Funny you should mention cauliflower soup. I’ve never made it, but I’ve been thinking about trying it. Maybe when it cools off a bit.

  2. September 11, 2013 12:48 am

    Reblogged this on eugenejferguson.

  3. September 13, 2013 4:51 am

    I’ve been enjoying Domenica’s book as I’ve been browsing leisurely through it over the weeks since it was published. A lot of old favorites but also some wonderful discoveries like this one. It’s looks gorgeous sitting on the plate and I can just imagine how delicious it must taste.

    • September 13, 2013 7:05 am

      It’s a beautiful book, isn’t it? I think you’ll really enjoy this one. Thanks for your comment!

  4. September 16, 2013 7:09 am

    This looks great! I can’t wait to try it!

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