Harissa Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Salad with Lemon-Tahini Dressing and mint. Enjoy this vegetarian recipe for a side dish or entree for a guaranteed crowd pleaser.
Why You'll Love This Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Salad:
This vegan salad has it all: spice, crunch, creaminess, and a refreshing herb accent. You can serve it as a light lunch or dinner, or enjoy as satiating side dish. It's filled with protein, fiber, and heart-healthy fats to keep you full and fueled.
I love that this salad is evergreen in terms of seasonality, too. Enjoy it during spring and fall when cauliflower is in season, or around the holidays while entertaining. The spice level is mild enough for kids and any heat-adverse palettes to enjoy, too.
It's also super versatile in terms of ingredients. You can swap out the mint for parsley, or the shallots for red onion. Either way, you're in for a flavorful salad that will likely become a household favorite.
- Cauliflower: The star of this salad is roasted cauliflower. You need one medium head of cauliflower, which amounts to 6 or 7 cups of florets. Alternatively, you can buy the bags of pre-chopped cauliflower, which you'll likely need two of.
- Chickpeas: This recipe calls for one can of rinsed and drained chickpeas (or ~1 ½ cups). You can certainly use dry beans that you cook yourself, however the cans just offer convenience.
- Harissa: This spicy, aromatic chile paste that is a widely used staple in North African and Middle Eastern cuisine. Though the recipes vary by region, the typical version includes a blend of chile peppers, garlic, olive oil, cumin, coriander, and caraway. My go-to brand is Mina Harissa, which is sold in small jars in the international aisle.
- Tahini: My go-to sesame seed paste makes a killer dressing for this salad. In terms of brands, I suggest Soom Tahini, which is unctuous and smooth. Alternatively, Whole Foods 365 brand is also a great choice. (Code dishingouthealth saves you 10% on all soomfoods.com products!)
- Lemon: Fresh lemon juice adds brightness and acidity to the dressing. You can either use fresh lemons or bottled lemon juice here. It's also nice to garnish the salad with a couple lemon wedges.
- Mint: I LOVE lots of fresh herbs to finish this salad. I chose mint to add cooling contrast to the spicy harissa paste, however you can also use parsley.
This cauliflower and chickpea salad comes together in under one hour. All you need is one large baking sheet, one small mixing bowl, and a large serving platter! Here's how to make it:
Step 1: Roast the Cauliflower
Spread the cauliflower florets on a large baking sheet and toss in olive oil, harissa, and a pinch of salt. Once all the florets are well-coated, place the pan in the oven and roast for about 20 minutes.
Step 2: Roast the Chickpeas and Shallots
Remove the cauliflower from the oven and toss it in more harissa paste. Push the cauliflower to one half of the pan, and place the chickpeas and shallots on the remaining half. Toss them in olive oil, salt, and pepper, and transfer the baking pan back to the oven. Roast for an additional 15 minutes.
Step 3: Prepare the Lemon-Tahini Dressing
In a small bowl, combine tahini, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper. Begin stirring the dressing while gradually streaming in 1 to 2 tablespoon of warm water. Once the dressing is smooth and creamy, set it aside.
Step 4: Assemble the Salad
Transfer the roasted cauliflower, chickpeas, and shallots to a large serving platter or bowl. Next, add the mint leaves and gently toss to combine. Drizzle the Lemon-Tahini Dressing overtop, and garnish with lemon wedges and/or additional mint, if desired.
FAQs About This Recipe:
What Temperature to Roast Cauliflower At:
For cauliflower that’s buttery and tender on the inside with quintessential crisp, roasting is the way to go. Not only does roasting create perfectly caramelized florets, it also brings out cauliflower’s natural nutty flavor. However, they are a couple tricks to maximize the veggie’s goodness and versatility.
First, avoid overcrowding the pan, which will encourage steaming over browning. Second, crank the oven up to 425°F, which will tenderize the veggies while also creating those yummy charred bits. Roasting cauliflower should take about 35 to 40 minutes total. If you pull it out too early, you’ll be missing out on its full flavor potential, so patience is key!
Why are My Roasted Chickpeas Not Crunchy?
A couple tricks to achieve crispy chickpeas is to make sure they are completely dry before roasting. Typically, I'll drain and rinse them well before roasting to give them time to dry out. Alternatively, you can gently roll them in a kitchen towel to remove any access water.
You also want to make sure the chickpeas aren't too crowded on the baking sheet. If you don't have a baking sheet large enough for the cauliflower and chickpeas, roast the chickpeas on a separate one.
What Can I Substitute for Tahini in this Dressing?
If you don't have tahini on hand, you can use almond butter, Sun Butter, or Greek yogurt in the dressing. You won't get the same depth of flavor from the yogurt, but you'll at least get creaminess. Also, the amount of water will likely vary by nut or seed butter. Just use your discretion and gradually whisk it in. To sum up, this salad is healthy, flavorful, and easy to make. Serve it for any and all occasions and it's guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser.
More Roasted Cauliflower Recipes to Try:
If you make this roasted chickpea salad a try, snap a pic and tag #dishingouthealth on Instagram so I can see your beautiful creations. Lastly, follow along on Facebook and Pinterest for the latest recipe updates!
Harissa Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Salad
- Large baking sheet
- Large serving bowl/platter
- 1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into florets (about 6 to 7 cups)
- 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- ½ tsp. kosher salt, divided
- 3 Tbsp. mild harissa paste (I use Mina brand)
- 1 (15-oz.) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 medium shallot, sliced into thick rounds
- ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- ⅓ cup fresh torn herbs (I like a mix of mint and dill)
- 2 Tbsp. tahini (I use Soom brand)
- 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- ¼ tsp. ground cumin
- ¼ tsp. kosher salt
- ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Spread cauliflower on a large baking sheet and toss with 2 Tbsp. olive oil, 1 Tbsp. harissa, and ¼ tsp. salt. Bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove cauliflower from the oven, toss, and brush with remaining 2 Tbsp. harissa paste. Push cauliflower to one half of the baking sheet, and add chickpeas and shallots to remaining half.Toss chickpeas and shallots with remaining 1 Tbsp. olive oil, ¼ tsp. salt, and black pepper. Place baking sheet back in the oven for another 15 to 20 minutes, until crisp.
- Meanwhile, prepare Lemon-Tahini Dressing by combining all ingredients in a small bowl and stirring to combine. Gradually stream in 1 to 2 Tbsp. of warm water, whisking constantly, until dressing is smooth and creamy.
- Assemble salad by transferring roasted cauliflower, chickpeas, and shallots to a large bowl or serving platter. Toss with fresh herbs, and drizzle with Lemon-Tahini Dressing.