Whenever a salad includes roasted vegetables, I know for sure that it will be good, really good, and this Roasted Cauliflower Salad is no different!
This salad features crisp tender cauliflower, baby kale, chickpeas, and pine nuts along with the most amazing creamy lemon tahini dressing.
It’s a super easy recipe to make, and one of my favorites to serve with any main dish!
I developed this wonderful recipe for roasted cauliflower salad with lemon tahini dressing a few years ago, and over the years, I’ve tweaked it a couple of times to make it even better.
This new version incorporates extra seasoning—because the more flavor, the better—and a higher roasting temperature to achieve better texture and flavor. I also included chickpeas to make this salad more substantial and swapped curly kale for baby kale (or your favorite greens) for a more tender bite.
This roasted cauliflower salad is very simple and straightforward, and comes together in just 30 minutes. It’s great for weeknights and meal prep as well.
Why we LOVE this roasted cauliflower salad:
- Flavor-packed: Roasting cauliflower caramelizes them and brings out their natural sweetness, which amplifies flavors.
- The creamy lemon tahini dressing is AMAZING!
- Great texture: This salad is crunchy, creamy, and so fresh-tasting.
- Simple and straightforward: This salad is as simple as it gets. Roast, assemble, and serve. Done.
- Customizable: Be creative with your favorite add-ins or make it a full dinner salad by adding a protein.
The Lemon Tahini Dressing
For some reason, tahini and lemon go so well together, and this lemon tahini dressing is no exception. It adds a creamy, tangy, and slightly sweet flavor to the salad.
Tahini is essentially toasted sesame paste, which has an amazing nutty flavor. The fresh lemon juice makes the dressing bright and fresh-tasting, and the honey adds that perfect sweet finish.
You can easily find tahini in most grocery stores or purchase it online.
Here are a few kitchen notes on the ingredients I used to prepare this tahini roasted cauliflower salad. For detailed ingredient quantities, refer to the recipe card below.
- Tahini: Tahini is essentially sesame paste. It can be quite thick, and when you open the container, you may notice that the oil and paste are separated. That’s normal, just stir to combine.
- Fresh lemon juice and water: The lemon juice adds acidity and freshness, and the water is used to thin out the tahini paste to the right consistency.
- Honey: Adds a touch of sweetness to the tahini dressing.
- Minced garlic: For the dressing. Adds flavor.
- Fresh cauliflower: Choose a fresh head of cauliflower and cut it into uniform florets for even roasting. I would not recommend using frozen cauliflower – it will get soggy.
- Baby kale: Any kind of tender greens will work here.
- Canned chickpeas: A great source of protein that makes this salad more filling.
- Pine nuts: Toasted pine nuts add a crunchy texture and nutty flavor to the salad. Toast them in a dry skillet over medium heat until slightly golden brown and fragrant. This takes just 2 minutes or less.
- Red onions: Thinly sliced red onions add a tangy bite.
- Italian parsley: Adds a burst of color and freshness.
- Lemon: I like to finish this salad with an extra squeeze of lemon for added brightness. It really ties everything together.
This is how I make my favorite roasted cauliflower salad with lemon tahini dressing. It’s super easy and takes only 30 minutes!
Step 1 | Roast cauliflower
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. This high temperature will give you a perfect golden brown exterior while keeping the center tender but still crisp. Toss cauliflower florets with olive oil, salt, pepper, ground cumin, and garlic powder. Spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes, tossing halfway through.
Step 2 | Make the lemon tahini dressing
While the cauliflower is roasting, make the lemon tahini dressing. In a medium mason jar, combine the tahini, water, lemon juice, honey, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Give it a quick mix, and then seal the jar and shake to combine. Add more water or lemon juice as needed to thin it out. Tahini paste can be quite thick.
Step 3 | Assemble and serve
In a serving bowl, arrange a bed of baby kale or greens. Then, top with the roasted cauliflower, chickpeas, parsley, toasted pine nuts, and red onions.
Drizzle with the prepared dressing over and toss to combine. Finish with a generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice. I like to serve this salad warm, but cold is just as delicious!
Prep Ahead Tips
I really think this salad is best served fresh, and that’s because roasted cauliflower tastes the best when just cooked. That’s when the texture is just perfect.
However, you can definitely prep ahead a few components of the salad:
- Cut the cauliflower into florets in advance and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days until ready to roast.
- Chop or slice any other ingredients and keep refrigerated.
- Make the lemon tahini dressing and store it in the refrigerator. Give it a good stir before using and add more water or lemon juice, as it may thicken slightly when chilled.
There are so many ways to customize this wonderful salad! From including a protein or adding your favorite mix-ins, the possibilities are plentiful.
- Make it a full meal by adding protein. Try my simple pan-seared chicken breast or lemon grilled chicken. These Greek chicken kabobs are great too!
- Add grains: Try cooked quinoa, farro, or couscous.
- Veggie add-ins: Broccoli, avocado, microgreens, and green olives are some of my go-to.
- Add dried fruit: A little bit of dried cranberries, raisins, or even chopped apricots add a nice touch of sweetness.
This salad is also great for meal prep for lunch the next day. I use my salad packing boxes to divide everything up, including the dressing, and ensure that nothing gets soggy.
No, frozen will get soggy when roasted. I’d highly recommend using fresh for this salad.
You can, but it may get a bit soggy overnight. If roasting overnight, you can decrease the roasting time a little bit to preserve some of its texture.
Yes, you can substitute almond butter for tahini. The dressing will have a slightly different flavor profile but will still be delicious. You can also use Greek yogurt.
Yes, the lemon tahini dressing can be made ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Stir well before using, and add more water or lemon juice to thin it out again.
This recipe was originally published in 2018 and updated in February 2024 to include new photos and information, plus a few recipe modifications.
Tips for Success
- How to toast pine nuts: Place them on a skillet over medium heat, tossing every few seconds until they are slightly golden brown. Be careful, they can go from golden brown to burnt very quickly.
- For even roasting, cut the florets into similar size and spread in a single layer without overcrowding the pan.
- 450 degrees F is the perfect roasting temperature to ensure the cauliflower turns golden brown on the outside, while still maintaining a crisp tender texture in the center.
- Adjust the dressing to taste: Taste the dressing before adding it to the salad and adjust the seasoning as needed with more salt, pepper, or lemon juice.
- I like to serve this salad warm, but it also tastes great when served cold.
Roasted Cauliflower Salad
- 1 large head cauliflower - cut into florets
- ¼ cup olive oil - for roasting
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- Salt and pepper
- 3 cups baby kale or mixed greens - packed
- ⅓ cup pine nuts, toasted - see note
- ½ cup canned chickpeas, drained
- ¼ cup thinly sliced red onions
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley
- 1 medium lemon - to squeeze at the end and for garnish
Lemon tahini dressing
- ⅓ cup tahini - see note
- Juice of 1 lemon - or to taste
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 clove fresh garlic, finely minced
- ⅓ cup water - plus more as needed
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
- Roast cauliflower: In a large sheet pan, toss the cauliflower florets with about ¼ cup of olive oil, salt (about 1 teaspoon), a few grinds of black pepper, ground cumin, and garlic powder. Arrange in a single layer and roast for 20 minutes until golden brown and crisp tender, flipping halfway through.
- While the florets are roasting, make the lemon tahini dressing: combine all the dressing ingredients in a mason jar. Give it a stir and then seal the jar and shake well until well-combined. If too thick (tahini can be quite thick), add more water or lemon juice until desired consistency and taste.
- Assemble: In a large serving bowl, arrange a bed of baby kale, followed by the roasted cauliflower, toasted pine nuts, parsley, chickpeas, and sliced onions. Drizzle the prepared dressing on top and toss. Finish with a generous squeeze of lemon juice to taste. Serve warm or cold. Enjoy!
- Tahini: When you open the packaging, you may notice that the oil and tahini paste are separated. That’s totally normal, just stir to combine.
- How to toast pine nuts: Place them in a skillet over medium heat, tossing them every few seconds until they turn a light golden brown. Keep a close eye on them, as they can quickly transition from golden brown to burnt.
- Prep ahead: This salad tastes best when freshly made, but you can pre-cut the vegetables and make the dressing ahead.
- Store leftovers in a container for up to 3 days.
- Chickpeas: White beans.
- Red onion: Pickled red onions.
- Add-ins: Avocado, microgreens, roasted sweet potato, olives.