The recipe of this vibrantly yellow salad may not originate in Italy, but the addition of the Fregola Sarda gives it an Italian twist that I think it deserves the title Italian Cauliflower Salad.
I really love cauliflower, as long as it is not raw. There is something about the taste of raw cauliflower that is too strong for me. I sometimes eat an entire cauliflower for dinner, nothing else, that’s how much I can enjoy it. It’s full of vitamins, low in calories, fills the stomach and less change that I snack on something later that evening. I usually grill/roast it or cook it just a few minutes.
Surely, I have made my share of crudites platters, raw vegetables with dips. A lot of people seem to like raw florets of cauliflower, but I end up eating more dip than cauliflower to mask the bitter flavor of the vegetable. So raw cauliflower is not healthy for me at all – too much dipping.
For this Italian Cauliflower Salad, cook the cauliflower just a few minutes, and add bay leaves, salt and turmeric to the water for flavor and color. Another ingredient in this salad is fregola sarda. This is a toasted pasta, similar to couscous. Soak yellow raisins in lemon juice and toast pine nuts. They are within the yellow cauliflower color spectrum, but they also add a different texture. Last but not least add chopped parsley for a color contrast and flavor.
This Italian Cauliflower Salad is very tasty cold, luke-warm and warm, so you can serve it as a salad or a side dish. Other salad recipes that I recommend luke-warm. Like this Potato Veggie Cheese Salad with Yogurt Dressing or Bulgur Wheat Caprese Salad or a Southern Grilled Chicken Meal Salad.
Italian Cauliflower Salad
- 1 cauliflower small head
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 cup fregola sarda
- 1.5 tablespoons pine nuts
- 1/2 cup yellow raisins
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon white wine
- Break or cut the cauliflower into florets and put them in a pan and just cover water. Add salt, bay levaes and turmeric. Bring the water to a boil and cook cauliflower for a few minutes. You want the vegetable to be a little softer than raw, but not fully cooked. Drain, remove bay leaves and rinse with cold water to slow down the cooking of the cauliflower. Set aside.
- In the meantime, transfer pine-nuts on a baking sheet and place in cold oven. Heat oven to 350 degrees F and remove when nuts are toasted golden, about 3-5 minutes. This is about the time for the oven to get to 350 degrees.
- Boil water and salt and add fregola sarda and cook according to directions on the packaging. Drain and rinse under cold water to lower the temperature of the pasta.
- Transfer lemon juice to a bowl, add yellow raisins and warm in microwave for a few seconds. Set aside, allow raisins to absorb some of the liquid. Drain, but keep juice and mix with olive oil, white wine, salt and pepper to make a simple vinaigrette.
- Chop the parsley and set aside.
- TIme to mix the salad. Combine cauliflower, raisins and fregola sarda in a bowl, add vinaigrette and mix. Add salt and pepper to taste and mix again. Divide over plates or bowl and sprinkle with pine nuts and parsley.