Cauliflower salad + parsley and hazelnuts

Cauliflower salad with parsley and hazelnuts

I haven't always been a big vegetable fan. I'd include a salad at lunch and dinner, but it's taken time and practice to make vegetables the main event. Practice. That daily aspiration to learn more. To experiment. To start over. To eat more skillfully and healthfully while maintaining pleasure. Over the years, the practice of bulking up on veggies has taken the form of a daily green smoothie, big green salads dressed with olive oil and lemon juice, kale, and/or roasted vegetables. This keeps me covered, but can sometimes feel a bit repetitive. Or like a rut. 

Bowl full of cualiflower ingredients

Which is why any inspiration to combine vegetables in a way that is a bit more celebratory is very welcome. The prep here is simple: roast cauliflower, chop additional veggies/nuts and whisk a simple dressing. The traditional green salad is turned on its head and the result is a dish that makes a Wednesday lunch something to look forward to or can sit quite proudly on a holiday table. It's just enough to reinvigorate the veggie eating practice upward and onward. 

Cauliflower + parsley and hazelnuts
serves 4 (side portions), adapted from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

This recipe can easily be doubled to have leftovers. However, just dress what you'll be eating immediately. The cauliflower gets too mushy if it sits in dressing overnight. 

1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
2 large handfuls parsley leaves (about 1/3 cup)
generous 1/4 cup hazelnuts, chopped
2 medium celery sticks, cut on the diagonal into 1/4 -inch slices
pomegranate seeds from 1/2 large pomegranate
5 TBS extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground pepper
1 TBS sherry vinegar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice

Preheat oven to 425'. Place rack in upper third. Drizzle cauliflower with 3 TBS extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt and grind of pepper. Place on cookie sheet and roast 25-30 minutes until well browned in spots. Remove from oven and allow to cool. 

To get seeds from pomegranate, cut in half horizontally. Place one half (cut side down) in your non-dominant hand over a large bowl. Whack with a wooden spoon until you've knocked out all the seeds. Transfer seeds to bowl with cauliflower. To the residual pomegranate juice left in the bowl, add vinegar, 2 TBS olive oil, cinnamon, allspice, salt and pepper. Whisk until combined. 

Add hazelnuts, celery, parsley to cauliflower bowl. Pour dressing over. Toss and taste for seasoning. Serve at room temperature.