Super substantial, slightly exotic and even a little unusual, this salad is truly perfect.
( Kind of like YOU, right? I know . . . ME too! )
Roasted cauliflower chickpea perfection……this hefty, so much clout you can serve it up and call it a meal – salad’s salad has got it all. Believe me when I tell you;
- Its got the leafy greens (thanks to arugula and spinach for bringing the bass).
- Its got the cruciferous kick (hey cauliflower, doing that thing you do what with all that crazy nutritional value and all).
- Its got the salty crunch (helloooo, smoke house roasted almonds).
- Its got the creamy silky-ness (luscious greek yogurt, come on ov-ah).
- And its even got that irresistible hint of chewy sweetness (enter: the delectable date).
- And as if that wasn’t enough……
…are you looking to root out some protein? Look no further than those chickpeas, (aka – garbanzo beans), the co-star of this produce-rich production. These little guys are a power house of plant-based protein, not to mention fiber, iron, b-vitamins and MORE, just in case you were wondering. Oh yeah, and all this goodness is loved up in a cool and creamy, sorta mildly middle eastern-ish, subtly spicy, lemony garlic, cinnamon scented dressing that is decidedly different and totally surprising to your sleepy little oil and vinegary trained taste buds.
Ready for you in just about no time, there is nothing NOT good about this salad. Except that it ain’t gonna make itself……….
Start with about a third of a cup of almonds, and give them a coarse chop. I used the Blue Diamond brand smokehouse flavor, and I totally think you should too. The smoky-fied spices are just a perfect complement to everything else going on….and really? Those little babies are so good, straight up out of the can. Now, while you are at the chopping block, pit and slice 5 plump and lovely Medjool dates. They are sticky and a little bit tricky (I am a poet – clearly), so be careful. Set this aside.
In a small bowl mix together 1/4 cup of olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, a healthy pinch of cayenne pepper, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.
Core and chop a half of a head of cauliflower, busting it up into manageably bite sized florets, and spread them out onto a large baking sheet. Pour over that gorgeously spiced oil. Get on in there and toss this around with your hands to get everybody nice and coated. Into a 425 degree oven this goes for 12 minutes, and when it’s time….
yank out that tray of cauliflower, and give ’em a quick flip, but be careful, this shiz will be HOT! Add a can of chickpeas (drained and rinsed) and give this as good of a stir as you can. If it all looks a little barren, give everyone a dainty drizzle of olive oil and send it all back into the oven for another 10 – 15 minutes, or until everything looks golden and yummy and the cauliflower is nice and tender when you poke it with a fork.
While that is happening you have plenty of time to make the decadent dressing that pulls this whole garden of eatin’ together. Plop one 8-ounce container of plain Greek yogurt into a small bowl. Mix in one finely grated clove of garlic (I use a microplane for this job), some well chopped cilantro (maybe a quarter cup or so), the zest of one lemon, and then squeeze in the juice. Add some salt and pepper to taste, and give this a stir.
Get out a salad bowl and fill it with some greens. I’m telling you right here right now, you need a nice big bowl for this, so get out the big guns. Drizzle about a teaspoon of olive oil onto your greens and give them a toss along with a pinch of salt (kinda gets everybody in the mood). Take your beautifully roasted cauliflower/chickpeas and dump them straight away over your greens. Sprinkle in the nuts and dates and top it all with that creamy dressing you just mixed up over there…….
Gently toss to coat, and SERVE IT UP! The heat of those roasty chickpeas and cauliflower will slightly wilt the greens while the creamy, lemony dressing will cool down the zip of the spices and the salty, smoky crunch of the almonds will make you go hmmmmm and the subtle hint of chewy complex sweetness provided by the dates will make you put down your fork and say whaaaat?
Super sexy salad sorcery. Seriously.
RECIPE BELOW: This makes enough for four large servings on its own, more if you’re using it as a side dish. Carries it’s weight quite well without any sort of carnivorous accoutrement, thank you very much….. but it does sidle up well next to just about any protein, from chicken to salmon to BBQ ribs, so go with your flow, ya’ know?
- 1 5-ounce package (roughly 4 to 5 cups) of arugula / spinach mix (or whatever greens you happen to like, really)
- 1/2 cup Blue Diamond smokehouse flavor almonds, coarsely chopped
- 5 dates, pitted and coarsely chopped
- 1/2 head of cauliflower, cored and broken into bite sized florets
- 1 can of garbanzo beans (also known as chickpeas), drained and rinsed
- 1/4 cup (plus more for drizzling) olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- one pinch up to a very scant 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 8-ounce container plain Greek yogurt
- 1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely grated
- 1 lemon, for the juice AND the zest
- 1/4 cup (approx) roughly chopped cilantro
- Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
- Preheat your oven to 425°
- In a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup of olive oil with the cumin, ginger, cinnamon, cayenne pepper and kosher salt and pepper.
- Spread the cauliflower florets onto a large sheet pan and pour over the oil. Use your hands to toss the cauliflower in the oil, making sure everyone is well coated. Place this into the oven for 12 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the oven and give that cauliflower a stir, then add the drained and rinsed chickpeas, and stir them around as best you can to coat the beans in the oil. If it seems a little dry, feel free to add a drizzle of olive oil to the party . Back into the oven this goes for another 12 minutes.
- In a small bowl mix the yogurt with the grated garlic clove (a microplane or the finest size of a cheese grater works wonders for this). Add the zest and juice of one lemon along with the chopped cilantro, and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste. This will be fairly thick, but if you feel it is just way too stiff you can add some more lemon juice or even a little bit of water (just a teaspoon or so) to thin out. Set this aside.
- In a large salad bowl, dump in your container of greens. Give 'em a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt and toss it around.
- Take your tray of spiced cauliflower and chickpeas, and dump the whole she-bang in on top of the greens.
- Sprinkle the chopped dates and nuts on top of that.
- Plop in that luscious, yogurt dressing on top of THAT.
- Gently toss everything together, until everyone is coated with that dressing and all the components are evenly (you know, as well as you can) distributed throughout!
- Serve this up and DIG IN.