Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Arugula and Pear

By Lan Lam, America’s Test Kitchen | December 27th, 2023

This make-ahead salad is packed with goodness


This make-ahead salad is packed with goodness. Pickled cauliflower shavings and shallot add a tangy element.

You’ll need to plan ahead for this Roasted Cauliflower Salad with arugula and pear, but you’ll be glad you did! It’s hearty, healthy, and quite impressive.


For a hearty, make-ahead salad, we roasted chunks of cauliflower in a 425-degree oven. The cauliflower was covered for the first 10 minutes to cook the interiors and uncovered for another 20 minutes to brown the exteriors.

We shaved the leftover core and pickled those shavings along with a thinly sliced shallot to create a tangy element for the salad; and we repurposed some of that well-seasoned pickling liquid to make an arugula dressing that was stabilized with Greek yogurt.

When it was time to serve, we tossed the cauliflower in the dressing and spread it across the serving platter before combining the arugula and pickled cauliflower stem and shallot with chunks of sweet, juicy Bartlett pear. We tossed until the liquid clinging to the pickles dressed the greens and fruit that we mounded atop the cauliflower.

Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Arugula and Pear

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower (2 1/2 pounds)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons water, divided
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 shallot, sliced thin
  • 1 1/4 ounces (1 1/4 cups) arugula, divided
  • 2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 ripe Bartlett pear, peeled, halved, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch pieces

Directions:

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Spray rimmed baking sheet with vegetable oil spray. Trim outer leaves of cauliflower and cut stem flush with bottom of head (discard stem). Turn head cut side down and cut cauliflower into 1-inch-thick slices. Cut around the core to remove florets. Cut large florets into 2-inch pieces; reserve core. (You should have about 6 cups of florets.)
  2. Arrange florets in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. Cover sheet tightly with aluminum foil and roast for 10 minutes. Remove foil and continue to cook until sides touching sheet are well browned, about 10 minutes.
  3. Using a thin metal spatula, flip cauliflower. Return to oven and cook until sides touching sheet are well browned, about 10 minutes longer. (Cauliflower can be refrigerated for up to 2 days; let come to room temperature before using).
  4. Meanwhile, use vegetable peeler to shave cauliflower core lengthwise to create 1/4 cup shavings. Discard remaining core. In a 2-cup liquid measuring cup, combine vinegar, 2 tablespoons water, the sugar, coriander seeds, cloves, and 1 teaspoon salt. Microwave until boiling, about 2 minutes. Add shallot and cauliflower shavings, making sure they’re submerged, and let stand for 10 minutes. Transfer pickles to a medium bowl. Reserve 1 tablespoon pickling liquid in measuring cup; discard remaining liquid and spices.
  5. Add 3/4 cup arugula, the yogurt, remaining 3 tablespoons oil, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1 tablespoon water to a measuring cup. Using an immersion blender, blend until well combined, 30 to 60 seconds. (Pickled shavings, shallots, and vinaigrette can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours.)
  6. Combine roasted cauliflower and vinaigrette in a large bowl and toss until cauliflower is evenly coated. Arrange on serving platter in an even layer. Add remaining 1/2 cup arugula to pickles. Scatter pear over arugula and season pear with salt and pepper to taste. Toss to combine. Mound on top of cauliflower and serve.

How to make a satisfying salad in six simple steps

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