Post sponsored by California Avocado. See below for more details.
I have two different salad styles: light/easy and filling. Light and easy usually tend to be a solid side salad or lunch while the filling salads are meant for dinner. When M isn’t home, I’m usually making a salad that looks like it should feed a crowd but really, it just feeds me. This is definitely a dinner salad in my book. The spicy cauliflower is balanced with freekeh and a creamy lemon avocado dressing. I like to make my own harissa but you can often find pre-made harissas in certain grocery stores. The cauliflower would also be lovely roasted with green harissa (another favorite of mine!)
Harissa Roasted Cauliflower Salad Lemon-Avocado Dressing
A hearty, slightly spicy salad made with roasted cauliflower tossed in harissa, freekeh, feta, and a creamy avocado dressing to balance the spice.
- 2 cups cauliflower florets, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 3 tablespoons mild harissa paste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 ripe avocado
- 1/4 cup whole milk plain yogurt
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons minced scallions
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt, to taste
- Water, as needed
- 2 large handfuls of mixed lettuce
- 1/2 cup cooked freekeh
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta
- 1/4 cup minced scallions
- Preheat oven to 400˚F. Chop the cauliflower florets into bite-sized pieces and place in a roasting pan. Toss with harissa and olive oil until cauliflower is well coated. Roast the cauliflower for 25 to 30 minutes. Cauliflower should be tender and lightly browning. Set aside and let cool slightly.
- While the cauliflower is roasting, combine ingredients for the dressing in a blender or food processor. Puree until smooth, adding a splash of water as needed to thin into dressing consistency.
- When cauliflower is mostly cool, place lettuce in a bowl along with the cauliflower, freekeh, feta, and scallions. Toss and drizzle with dressing before serving.
Tips & Tricks: This salad doesn’t keep well- assemble right before serving. Also, I don’t mind lettuce that has been slightly wilted, so I toss the salad while the cauliflower is still hot. Let the cauliflower cool to your desired temperature before assembling the salad. Also, if you only have harissa spice blend (dry rub), cut back slightly and mix with a tablespoon or two of olive oil to coat the cauliflower.
You could make this sauce ahead of time and assemble when ready to eat.
Nutrition: see the information.
Step by Step
Cauliflower Salad with Avocado Dressing
There’s really two things I’d keep in this salad, everything else can be swapped: the harissa flavor and the avocado dressing. The two combined are wonderful. They work in bowls, salads, and even frittatas.
Vegetables: Beyond cauliflower, you could roast broccoli, sweet potatoes, or winter squash (delicata is a particular favorite of mine!)
Vegan: Leave out the feta and use and almond cream in place of the yogurt for the dressing. By using almond cream, you most likely won’t have to add extra liquid.
Gluten-free: Swap the freekeh for a gluten-free grain. You will lose some of the warmth but quinoa, sorghum, or millet would work.
Summer is the best time to enjoy avocados- in fact, June is California Avocado Month (and the best time to taste fresh avocado!) They are the perfect, nutritious addition to a meal (all those good fats!) and are one of the best, raw ingredients. I’m constantly eating grilled vegetables with avocado dressing, simple stove-top meals with avocado, or sometimes just a fresh avocado sprinkled with a bit of salt. A few of my favorite simple avocado recipes:
Disclosure: This recipe was created in partnership with California Avocado. All thoughts and opinions are my own. It’s content like this that helps me keep this site running to provide the vegetarian recipes you see every week.