Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Spicy Dressing

Roasted Cauliflower Salad (26)

Long weekends are great, aren’t they? I gave myself permission to disconnect from the world for 2.75 days to meditate, sleep in, go outside, and cook.

On Friday, I walked to the discount grocery store in search of a new ingredient that I could experiment with over the weekend, something I’d never heard of before. A little stroll down the ethnic isle was in order.

That’s when I found harissa. Have you heard of it? The jar looked interesting, the ingredients (red chili peppers, garlic, salt, oil, coriander, caraway and cumin) intrigued me and, to top it all off, it was on sale. I’m a sucker for sales but a weakling when it comes to spicy things… my love of buying things for cheap won the battle this time. I figured I could just dull down the spiciness by adding some ultra sweet goodness to whatever I made with it.

I walked home with my new ingredient tucked away in my jacket pocket, started up the computer and searched Pinterest for some harissa inspiration. The first recipe I found was a roasted cauliflower salad created by Adrianna from A Cozy Kitchen. The second was another roasted cauliflower salad from Karen at Family Style Food. Each recipe wasequally as beautiful, so I combined them, removed the cheese, and simplified things a touch.

Roasted Cauliflower Salad (4)

This recipe is full of flavor, isn’t too spicy, and should definitely be doubled. You will want more of this. The 2 entree-sized servings that it makes just isn’t enough.

The soaked raisins and roasted sweet onion lend just enough sweetness to balance the spicy kick of the harissa…. it’s magic in a bowl!


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4.8 from 6 reviews
Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Spicy Dressing
Recipe type: Vegan, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Sugar-free, Yeast-free, Corn-free, Grain-free, Nut-free, Egg-free
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
Deliciously spicy salad with juicy sweet raisins, roasted cauliflower and chickpeas.
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons raisins
  • 1 tablespoon Harissa (Tunisian hot chili sauce)
  • 1 head cauliflower, separated into bite-sized florets
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1 sweet onion, sliced thin
  • 1 tablespoon grape seed oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ cup loosely packed, finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • ½ cup loosely packed, finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • Sea salt, to taste (I used 2 pinches)
  1. Preheat your oven to 400F and set out a large baking sheet.
  2. Add lemon juice, raisins and harissa to a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Add cauliflower florets, cooked chickpeas, onion, oil and cumin seeds to the large baking sheet and stir with your hands to coat all pieces in oil. Slide the baking sheet in the oven and roast veggies for 30 minutes, rotating once, or until cauliflower tops are lightly blackened. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  4. Add everything to a large bowl: roasted veggies, parsley, cilantro and soaked raisins with juices. Stir to coat, add salt to taste and serve!
Harissa can be purchased in the ethnic isle of any grocery store.
I used a white valencia onion.
Extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil would work well in this recipe.

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Roasted Cauliflower Salad (1)

Super simple ingredients. Super awesome salad (that’s inexpensive, too!)

It’s important that you begin by soaking the raisins in the lemon juice and harissa. Once it’s combined, just set aside until you’re ready for it, about 45 minutes.


Preheat the oven, combine the cauliflower, onion, oil and cumin and roast those babies until they’re lightly blackened.


Add everything to a bowl, and prepare for an epic feast!

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It’s just that easy!

Harissa and I? We’re best pals now.

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Subscribers of Healthful Pursuit will be receiving exclusive cookbook updates and advanced screenings of the book. So – make sure you’re on the list.

Roasted Cauliflower Salad (39)

I’d love to know…

Do you challenge yourself by purchasing ingredients you’ve never tried before?

Are there any foods that you’re terrified to try? Either because they’re ‘off limits’ to you, or they gross you out?

Tell me your story in the comments below.

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Comments | Leave Your Comment

  1. This is now on my to do list for my days of tomorrow and Wednesday! This sounds SO FREAKING GOOD!!!

    I’m terrified to try most ” sea creatures” .. Most Anything from the ocean grosses me out. Except for maybe shrimp, scallops and white fish. But Im still not completely in love with them. Especially cooking myself.

    • I hope you like the salad as much as I did, Trisha. I’m with you on seafood… Not that I don’t like it, but I suck at cooking it!

      • Leanne….
        Where can I find Harissa?? Whole foods? I have a little ethnic food market right down the street, I may try there as well. Is it a paste? A spice? I’m SO making this today!!!!

        • Hi Trisha – I’d go for the ethnic food market. A couple of gals have told me that Whole Foods carries it so you could check there but it would probably be more expensive. It’s a paste. SO good!

        • Found it at Whole Foods. On the WAY top shelf!! Almost couldnt reach it! LOL. The salad is YUMMMMM!!! although I forgot parsley , not much of a fan anyway.. THANKS!

  2. I LOVE harissa! I bought my first jar when I discovered it at a local bulk ingredients store. (I think it originates from Africa.) I add the spicy, wonderful stuff to dressings, marinades, sandwiches…it’s so good! I’m with Trisha on the sea creature fear. I have cooked fish (cod, tilapia) but those exotic things that resemble lawn grubs and other creepy crawly stuff just gives me the willies! I’ll stick with the veggies :-)

  3. LOVE it! And I have that exact same bottle of harissa sitting in my fridge. You always have a way of posting recipes that contain things I have that need to be used up… like the sad half-head of cauliflower that I need to use up tonight. Gorgeous photos lady!

  4. Gorgeous combination Leanne! I’m a massive fan of chickpeas and cauliflower…through in raisins and you have me in a heartbeat! Happy Monday! :)

  5. Harissa is awesome – especially mixed in with homemade hummus, added to stews, tossed with favourite grain… Happy experimenting (:

    • Ohhh hummus! I’m on it :D Thanks, Seraphina!

  6. Love love LOVE harissa. Though, I live in a veritable melting pot of a town, it is REALLY hard to find harissa around here. The only place I’ve ever been able to locate it is Whole Foods, believe it or not, which makes me sad because I only shop there about once a year. :(

    And I LOVE finding, buying, and using new ingredients I’ve never come across before, and, better yet, never even heard of. It’s so much FUN experimenting in the kitchen. It’s, by FAR, my favorite pastime.

    I can’t wait to try this dish. Would you say your lemon yielded about 3-4 TB of juice?

    • Good idea on only shopping at health food stores once a year… I avoid them, too!

      Yes, it was about 3 tablespoons of juice. Enjoy!

      • Oh, I love health food stores, don’t get me wrong. :) Well, Whole Foods not so much, though, they have an amazing produce section! They’re just out of the way, and I don’t get there much so I usually just make a yearly sojourn during the holiday season to get some sale priced items.

        But I am unbelievably jealous that you live in a place where you can walk to a market and come back with HARISSA! We have a bunch of “ethnic” stores where I live, but most of the items are just imported junk foods from other countries. It’s a travesty, I tell you! :)

  7. I love Harissa! Almost as much as sriracha. It can be hard to find but it’s easy to make too. Great idea with the cauliflower. I find cauli to be a little sweet, so I imagine that heat with it is just perfect!

    • Srir…what? I need to find that stuff. Sounds interesting!

        • Oh THAT stuff… we call it something different up here (something I can’t repeat on the blog haha) I’ve never tried it though! Okay, it’s on my list! Thanks Laura :)

          • You won’t regret it. It is my new “ketchup” – I put it on everything!

  8. Why don’t I like chickpeas? :( I like them dry and salted as a snack or in hummus… but like this, cooked, in soups and stuff… they feel too starchy…. For e.g. I’d find them too much in this salad…. could I substitute them with something else? Potato?! Another root vegetable? Quinoa?! I mean, what is their nutritional value any way? I could just as well do without them… Other than that, I love the salad :) Oooh, maaaybe I can add red or black beans…. Hm…..

    • Hi Dina – feel free to use whatever beans or grains you’d like. I’m sure quinoa would be great, too.

  9. Ooohhhh, this salad looks so similar to one of my favorite salads from Double Zero Pizza in Calgary! Except theirs has dairy in it so I can no longer indulge… I’ll have to make this soon!

  10. My only knock is with the sugar content…a bit on the high side. But nonetheless, the recipe looks fantastic Leanne. I’ll report back when I have a chance to make it. Putting harissa on my grocery list for sure!

    • Hey Scott – it’s likely from the raisins. Feel free to omit if you need!

  11. Oh my gawd this looks AMAZING!!!! I am definitely going to try this! We tend to stay away from the spicy foods now that we have children, but every once and a while I can sneak a dish in there. Glad you took some time to unwind for the long weekend!

  12. Made this for our lunch today – but, golly, I had to down aloe vera juice after I ate it, it was too hot/spic\y for me! Tasted the cauliflower/chickpeas before adding the harissa/raisins – they’d be just fine right from the oven, too. We had it on salad greens slathered with your ranch dressing recipe, thinking that would soothe the heat, but it didn’t. I’ll make it again, though, but with less harissa next time. Still good with the dressing, though. :-)

  13. Looks and sounds wonderful Leanne!
    Could you recommend a substitute for the cumin seeds, I’m sensitive to those.
    Would curry powder work?
    If so, what amount would you guess, or what else to substitute?
    Thanks! Can’t wait to make it!

    • Leslie, is it cumin you’re sensitive too, specifically, just their seeds, or seeds in general? If it’s just the seeds, try cumin powder. If it’s cumin, I would actually try some fennel seeds or rye seeds. Or coriander seeds would probably go quite well here, too.

      I would NOT sub with curry powder. I mean, you could, but it is a blend of, at least, 5 different spices, usually coriander or turmeric being in the highest amounts. It would give you a VERY different flavor profile, but it would probably work nicely in this with the raisins, harissa, cilantro and parsley. (Cumin is another common ingredient in curry powder, so, if you’re sensitive to it, I’d stay away from store bought curry blends.)

      I’ll bow to any of Leanne’s suggestions, though, since she’s the chef! :)

      • Great point, Liz. I hadn’t even thought of cumin being in curry powder! I always make my own and throw random things in it!

    • Hi Leslie – I bet fennel would be pretty good in here, especially if you use curry powder. I would just add it to the lemon juice… maybe 1 teaspoon?

  14. Oh my gosh, I made this recipe for dinner last night. Absolutely delish!! The flavours work so well together with a perfect mix of spiciness and sweetness, and I also added a couple of vegetarian sausages which worked well. And very filling too! I liked it so much I’m having it again today.

    Only thing was that my local supermarket didn’t stock harissa so I kind of had to experiment and make my own with what I had in the pantry but it still turned out beautifully. Can’t wait to try it again when I can get my hands on harissa.

    Thanks Leanne, great recipe :-)

  15. This was so good! My first exposure to Harissa and I loved it. I almost couldn’t resist pulling the cauliflower/onion/chickpeas mixture out of the oven and eating it immediately as it smelled so good. So glad I resisted and finished making the dish,

  16. Hi there. The current Food on Friday on Carole’s Chatter is collecting links to dishes using cauliflower and/or cabbage. I do hope you link this in. This is the link . It would be great if you checked out some of the other links – there are lots of good ones already. Cheers

  17. Thank you so much for this delightful recipe. I have been looking for a good cauliflower salad and this is certainly it! In fact it is a great salad! I had recently made some harissa and was looking for a way to showcase it, this certainly does it. The recipe I use for harissa is Yotam Ottelenghi’s , it makes a ton and I’ve kept it in the fridge for up to three weeks, you could potentially freeze portions of it too. Its actually very simple to make!

  18. Harissa also comes in powder form. Actually, that’s it’s original form. If you can’t find it nearby, it’s very easy to order the powder online. Make it into a paste by pureeing with olive oil, salt, fresh garlic, and roasted red peppers. Easy! You can also add parsley, mint, lemon, or more cumin to suit your tastes.

  19. Hi. What sauce or ingredients can I use to replace the spicy. I have a three year-old who will also be eating the salad, and I’d prefer to give him something a bit more mild.

    • No worries. Just remove the harissa paste and use something like minced garlic or any sauce you have on hand. Teriyaki would be cool!

  20. I’ll be making this tomorrow night. I noticed a lot of people asking where to find the harissa. Why not just make it yourself? It’s only a few ingredients that you could pop into your food processor or blender. Surely we all have time to do that. Great recipe!

  21. I made this for dinner tonight and your right, you should definitely double the recipe. So amazingly good and super easy! I love harissa but usually just eat it on the side of whatever I’m having for a kick. This was a great use of it. I didn’t have raisins in the house but used dried cranberries instead. Excellent, thank you so much!

  22. My husbands two favorite things are chickpeas + cauliflower, I will DEF be making this for him.

    These photos are just beautiful. Thanks for the gorgeous recipe Leanne! I’ll be sharing it on my FB this week!


    • Wow. I wish my hubby liked chickpeas. That’s awesome! Thanks for passing on the love, Sherrie ;)

  23. Could you use ground cumin? What would be the measurement? This looks like an amazing dish, maybe for Thanksgiving. :)

  24. Sounds awesome! I’d like to make it for Thanksgiving dinner. Not sure how the harissa would go with the other Thanksgiving flavors. Can you suggest some other seasonings that would pair better with the Thanksgiving meal? I was thinking of using fennel seeds instead of cumin. Just not sure about the sauce.

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