If you’re searching for a salad that pleases a crowd, one that you can serve at any get together you might have, this cauliflower antipasto salad is the one for you.
This salad has all the mix of a traditional antipasto, it includes cheese, meat, marinated veggies, olives and other goodies. Quite a few antipasto salads include a pasta of some sort, but in this salad the star ingredient is cauliflower!
This salad can be served cold or at room temp, it’s easy to pull together, it can be made ahead of time and there’s no cooking of any kind. Each bite is filled with hearty and zippy ingredients that have a nice crunchy texture.
The cauliflower that I used in this recipe was a variety called Fioretto, it means little flower in Italian. It has a dense head with flowering tiny buds along with a pale green stem, it’s delicate and fluffy like a pretty bouquet.
Fioretto is a hybrid of broccoli and cauliflower, it is not GMO, it’s a hybrid. Of course you don’t have to use this variety to make this salad a regular head of cauliflower will be just as good, I was just lucky enough to come across this big beautiful head and couldn’t wait to use. it.
If you don’t see it in your grocery stores ask the produce manager if they can get it for you, you’ll love the sweet and tender florets it produces.
I blanched the cauliflower for 1 minute then ran some cold water on it to cool down, it was the perfect texture for this salad and you would do exactly the same with a regular head of cauliflower, there’s no difference.
What I like about cauliflower in general is that you can prepare it so many ways, you can steam it, stir fry, grill, saute and roast it as I did in the recipe below.
Here’s another way to prepare a nice, hearty antipasto dish. Roasted cauliflower with pecorino and parmesan which is served with a lemon aioli dipping sauce.
Again you can use your favorite variety of cauliflower to make this, here’s how you do it.
Break up the florets from a head of cauliflower and place them on a rimmed baking sheet drizzled with olive oil. Heat oven to 425.
In a bowl mix together 1/2 cup of bread crumbs and 1/2 cup mix of pecorino and parmesan.
Drizzle the tops of the cauliflower all over with olive oil, then sprinkle the crumb and cheese mixture covering each floret. Sprinkle with granulated garlic and a good handful of chopped parsley and black pepper.
Place sheet pan into the oven and roast the florets until tender and the cheese mixture is deep golden brown, tossing in between roasting to coat each side.
I like to serve this with an easy lemon aioli that I make by mixing mayo with lemon juice to thin it out, 1 small grated garlic clove, salt and pepper, that’s it!
Two fun ways to serve up and eat a beautiful head of cauliflower, such a yummy and versatile vegetable!
- 1 head of cauliflower, broken into florets I used the Fioretto variety but any variety will due.
- a mix of green and black olives, 1 cup
- ½ cup chopped red onion
- ½ cup of sundried tomatoes in oil, sliced
- a small jar of drained artichoke hearts in oil
- 1 cup of sliced salami, pepperoni, or spicy sopressata, medium chunks
- ¾ cup of sharp provolone, medium chunks
- ½ of a red and yellow pepper diced into medium chunks
- ½ can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- ½ cup of sliced pepperoncini strips
- a hearty handful of chopped fresh parsley
- 1 part fresh lemon juice
- 3 parts olive oil
- 1 small grated garlic clove
- 1 dollop of Dijon
- salt and pepper
- whisk together
- Blanch the cauliflower first into boiling water for 1 minute, then remove it and cool it down under cold water, let it drain and pat dry.
- In a large bowl place all the ingredients, including the cauliflower together, tossing very gently until all is incorporated.
- Drizzle some of the dressing on and taste as you go for the amount you want to use, adding salt and pepper as needed.
- Place onto a pretty platter if serving right away, or tuck it into a container overnight.
- This can be served cold or at room temperature.