Sometimes you just need a big ol’ plate of colorful vegetables. This Spiced Chickpea and Cauliflower Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette delivers the goods with the perfect balance of fresh, light, and filling.
There’s a general pattern we follow when coming home from vacation.
Step 1: unpack.
Why is unpacking 1000 times less fun than packing? Because laundry, that’s why. Nothing says, “Welcome back to the real world!” like doing so much laundry you trip a breaker (yes, that actually happened).
Step 2 is the email inbox. Seeing the bold, black number beside your inbox when you return from vacation is almost enough to make you never want to take a day off again. Go ahead and resign yourself to spending the next few hours deleting promotion emails from stores you can’t even remember shopping at. Don’t worry, you can take breaks. After all, there’s laundry that needs to be folded.
Step 3 is to restock the fridge and get back to the kitchen. This part I actually don’t hate. After a week of serious restaurant eating, I’m usually ready to get back to my cutting board. The Mr. and I take our vacation eating seriously, and by that I mean, we eat with total and complete abandon. For one week, we don’t worry about how balanced our meals are, how many calories are in a hushpuppy, or how much ice cream consumption is socially acceptable within a 48 hour period.
It is a positively glorious time (and I’ll be doing a write-up of our favorites soon!), but by the end of the week, I’m craving simple home cooking that’s heavy on the vegetables.
This Warm Chickpea and Cauliflower Salad is just what I need after a week of indulgence. The base of the salad is loaded with fresh tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, and onion. Drenched in a zesty lemon cilantro vinaigrette, it’s refreshing, light, and sings with summer flavor.
This salad would make a great side dish all by itself, but I wanted something a little more substantial. The answer came in warm sauteed chickpeas and cauliflower coated in tingly allspice, cardamom, and cumin. The combination is perfect for these May days that hang somewhere in the balance between spring and summer. Cold and hot, light but filling, this is a satisfying salad that’s absolutely vacation detox worthy. Add it to your Memorial Day menu and you’ll have a great vegetarian and gluten free option to feed the masses!
Fried Chickpea and Cauliflower Salad
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 lemon, zested + 2 Tablespoons juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 pint grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 cucumber, halved and sliced
- 1 sweet orange bell pepper, chopped
- 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
- 3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 1/2 teaspoons allspice
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 15 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 head of cauliflower, chopped
- In a jelly jar with a lid, combine 5 Tablespoons of oiive oil, the lemon zest and juice, vinegar, sugar and garlic. Seal and shake for 30 seconds or until ingredients are well combined.
- Combine the tomatoes, cucumber, pepper, onion, and all but about ¼ cup of the cilantro in a medium sized bowl. Pour the lemon dressing over top and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- In another medium sized bowl, combine the cauliflower and chickpeas. Sprinkle with allspice, cardamom, and cumin, stirring until the spices evenly coat the vegetables.
- Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the cauliflower and chickpeas and cook until warm and cauliflower is tender, but still crisp, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat. Taste, and season with salt and pepper if needed.
- To serve, plate the cucumber mixture then top with the cauliflower and chickpeas. Sprinkle with reserved cilantro.
Recipe adapted from Rachael Ray Magazine
Here are a few more great salads for Memorial Day!
Confetti Crunch Chickpea Salad from Healthy Delicious
Cilantro Lime Cucumber Salad from The Food Charlatan
Chicken Bacon Ranch Potato Salad from One Sweet Mess