This Roasted Cauliflower, Chickpea and Arugula Salad recipe is tossed with arugula, avocado, toasted pine nuts, and my favorite lemon-tahini dressing. Simple, hearty and so delicious!
When my husband and I are craving a fresh and hearty vegetarian salad for dinner, this roasted cauliflower and chickpea number is one of our all-time faves. ♡
Cauliflower florets and chickpeas are tossed together with a quick blend of zesty seasonings and roasted to perfection. Then they are served up hot out of the oven alongside peppery fresh arugula, creamy avocado, crisp red onions, buttery toasted pine nuts, and then drizzled with my favorite dreamy tahini-lemon dressing. It’s a savory salad that we return to again and again because it’s so simple and satisfying. And those vibrant colors always make it a showstopper for entertaining too!
Feel free to play around with the ingredients and swap in whatever nuts, greens, or seasonings you love best. And if you would like to add in an extra protein, grilled chicken would be delicious in this salad too.
Alright, let’s make some salad!
Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Salad Ingredients
Before we get to the full recipe below, here are a few notes about the ingredients you will need…
Cauliflower: I recommend using fresh (versus frozen) cauliflower in this salad, so that it will have the best texture once roasted. Here is a step-by-step tutorial for how to cut cauliflower into florets.
Chickpeas: You will also need one can of chickpeas (garbanzos) for this recipe.
Seasonings: I like to season the cauliflower and chickpeas with a mix of cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, salt and pepper for roasting. But feel free to use whatever blend of seasoning blend you love best.
Greens: I adore the peppery flavor of fresh baby arugula in this salad, but any salad greens that you have on hand will work work here.
Avocado: Look for a large, ripe one, which you can either dice or thinly slice.
Red onion: I like the extra bite that thinly-sliced fresh red onions add to this salad, but feel free to briefly rinse the sliced onions under running water for 10 seconds before adding them to the salad if you prefer a milder onion flavor.
Pine nuts: The buttery flavor of toasted pine nuts is delicious in this salad, but feel free to swap in any other nuts (such as almonds, walnuts, pecans, pistachios) or seeds (such as pepitas or sunflower seeds) that you prefer.
Tahini dressing: This salad is tossed with a half batch of my favorite Dreamy Tahini Dressing, made with tahini, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper. (I usually make extra dressing while I’m at it, though, to save for a salad later on in the week!)
Extra lemon wedges: I also recommend serving the salad with extra lemon wedges, in case people would like to make their individual portions extra lemony.
Potential Recipe Variations
This cauliflower salad recipe is incredible flexible, so feel free to tweak and customize it to your liking! Here are a few suggestions to try…
Add some extra fresh herbs. I really love adding some fresh mint, cilantro, or parsley to this salad if I happen to have some on hand.
Play around with the chickpea/cauliflower seasoning. Feel free to use whatever seasonings you love best to roast the cauliflower and chickpeas. We just recently made this salad again using only za’atar seasoning (plus salt and pepper) and it was delicious. You can also add some cayenne for extra heat.
Use a different veggie in place of cauliflower. Roasted broccoli, roasted sweet potato or roasted Brussels sprouts would also work well in this salad in place of the roasted cauliflower.
Use different greens. Just about any fresh salad greens could work here in place of the baby arugula.
Use different nuts/seeds. Feel free to also swap any toasted nuts (such as walnuts, almonds, pistachios) or seeds (such as pepitas or sunflower seeds) in place of the toasted pine nuts.
More Favorite Salad Recipes
Looking for more hearty vegetarian salad recipes to try? Here are a few of my faves…
Prep the oven and baking sheet. Heat oven to 425°F. Mist a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
Prep the cauliflower and chickpeas. In a large bowl, add the cauliflower florets, chickpeas, oil, sea salt, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika and black pepper. Toss gently until combined, then pour the mixture out onto the baking sheet and spread out in an even layer.
Bake. Bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring once halfway through, until the cauliflower is tender and slightly charred around the edges. Transfer the pan to a wire cooling rack.
Make the dressing. Meanwhile, in a small bowl or mason jar, whisk together tahini, lemon juice, cumin, garlic, and 2 tablespoons warm water until smooth. Add extra warm water as needed, until the dressing reaches your desired consistency, then season with salt and pepper to taste.
Finish the salad. In a large bowl or serving plate, combine the arugula, avocado, red onion, pine nuts, roasted cauliflower and chickpeas. Drizzle evenly with the tahini dressing, serve with extra lemon wedges for squeezing, and enjoy!