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!
Have you thought about which small appliances you are going to bring with you to Spain? I’ve often thought about moving overseas, but I, too, would miss the spaciousness of my kitchen! I worry about how everything would fit into a smaller kitchen. I don’t think I could do without my blender or Nespresso, but I don’t know if there would be space for a toaster oven, Sodastrem or food processor! Eep! I figure you might share these concerns as a food blogger. Is this a concern you share, moving to Barcelona?
This sounds incredible! So many of my favorite things in one!
Wow! This looks amazing! I married a man who loves meat and potatoes, so sometimes salads are a hard one to convince him to eat for dinner alone. But on the rare nights we don’t eat dinner together, I will definitely be making this…or as a nice lunch al desko. :)
Even without having made it yet, I think I can see why you keep coming back to this one. I would probably use a spring mix instead of straight arugula, because arugula is one of my least favorite greens (I just got sick of it rom eating too much of it on a cruise ship). This one’s definitely on my list of things to try.
Congratulations on getting all your paperwork turned in for the move to Barcelona. I hope they accept you, at least partially for the selfish reason of looking forward to seeing what kind of Spanish recipes you’ll post… (but mostly because the two of you really want to go).
Hi, this looks wonderful so I will try it soon. I have lived in Spain twice, once in Barcelona. I loved it but am a little worried about the challenges you will face food wise. There are a LOT of foods and spices that are not available there that we consider basic. No doubt you will be wonderfully creative with what is available and I look forward to seeing/ trying the results. All the best.
Ah, that’s why my roasted chickpeas were dry, that’s where the extra oil goes! Do the chickpeas get crunchy then? I made the salad last night and it was AHMazing especially the dreamy tahini) but the chickpeas were lacking…
I’ll try again!
Thanks for the yummy salad!!
OK made this, loved it soooo much!!! That roasted cauliflower and roasted chick peas, were the best thing ever!! I made it for my husband and myself for dinner last night, had a sandwich baggie of the cauliflower and chickpeas and pine nuts left over, and just now stood at the sink and ate those for lunch!! Seriously, the best!!! Shared the recipe with two of my friends this morning and told them they have to make it. Make it, I tell you make it, you will love it!!
Yay, so happy to hear that you enjoyed it! :)
I have made this salad twice now in the past two weeks. It is amazingly good!!!! Thank you :-)
From one Alli to another – Thanks for sharing this delicious recipe! It was a huge hit for the whole family.
From one Ali to another — so happy to hear it! :)
This is hearty! Interesting and wonderful flavors, but I am not sure it needs the pine nuts. Every other ingredient registers and is vital. My husband was skeptical, but he loved it. I used a baby kale mix because that is what I had on hand, and it was wonderful. My only issue is that the dressing will not thin out, but that is a minor issue. (I did the hot water, and it had seized up again by the time I served it.) Thanks for a great salad, and good luck in your new life!
Wonderful, so happy to hear it! And yep, feel free to tinker around with adding extra water to that dressing if need be. :) And thank you!
I made this salad for dinner and I could easily eat this several times a week. Although I don’t care for the taste of maple syrup, I always make a recipe as written the first time and then make my adjustments. I will leave the syrup as it did not overwhelm the dressing at all. Honesty, this salad is absolutely, positively delicious. I am new to this website and so excited to have found it!!
Easy, beyond delicious and highly addicting! A family favorite!
Wow this was so good!! I finally caved and bought some smoked paprika just for this recipe and I’m glad I did, I don’t think regular paprika would have the same effect. This is the first of your recipes I’ve tried and it definitely makes me want to try more.
Absolutely delicious!!! I got a “wow” from the fiance, so that says a lot :) Thank you for sharing such a wonderful recipe.
This was a great salad for those of us who are more plant based in this house. Hard to convince the husband that he wouldn’t be starving, but it’s a slow process to get him over to our side. This dressing was surprisingly easy. I originally thought I would just buy a dressing to keep it fast, but am trying to buy less plastic and another bottle of dressing wasn’t needed in our fridge. I didn’t have pine nuts, but had slivered almonds that needed to be used up so threw those in. I’m thinking that next time I’ll roast them in the oven for a couple of mins at the end of the chickpeas and cauliflower roasting. Thanks for this great recipe. It will be in our rotation!
This was so good! Didn’t have avocado or pine nuts but added golden raisins and shallots. Adding water to the dressing is a necessity, so don’t skip that step.
Made this tonight exactly as described and everyone loved it! Simple but delicious. The flavor combo was everything. Served it up with some grilled bread–yum! Will make again and again.
Really good recipe! I made this for my wife for a surprise when she came home from work and she loved it. I added red peppers to it which added a lot more flavor. I also did pumpkin seeds instead of the pine nuts because that is what I had in the pantry. Will have to make this one again soon!
Delicious. I’m trying to get my family to eat vegetarian three times a week. I’ve had a lot of push back. I served this tonight with one modification I used Arugula and spinach. I also allowed the family to choose their dressing as long as they at least taste this one. The dressing was gone, the salad was gone and I thought they were going to lick the plate. This is a keeper and repeater
I’m such a doofus. I ate half of the roasted cauliflower while I was prepping the rest of the salad. It was still totally delicious. I challenged myself to make this because I either historically hated the ingredients (cauliflower, chick peas), or they were scary unknowns (tahini…and just say it…Arugula!) This was seriously delicious! The only change I made was pepitas instead of Pine nuts (alright, there’s a limit to my gastronomic spirit of adventure.) Oh, and it was a little light on Cauliflower. But whose fault was that?
This is delicious!! I can’t stop eating it! Love the dressing w the tahini and maple syrup. Will definitely be making this for guests…
made this for my family and it did not disappoint!!!
so full of delicious flavor this will be recipe i will use again and again
Oh my goodness,, I had a head of cauliflower that needed eating up and stumbled on this recipe. It is my new “desert island food”!! So delicious, made exactly to the recipe, except had no red onion so subbed green onion. Thanks so much for sharing, I’ll be poking around your site for more deliciousness!!
This is really really good!!
The dressing really did not sit right with me. but excellent taste on chickpeas and cauli
Found this recipe while googling what to make with cauliflower and it is AMAZING. The flavor combinations of the tahini with the cauliflower, avo, and red onion are so delicious. One of the best salads I’ve had in a while
This recipe sounds sooo good! I’ve been diagnosed as diabetic, but I’m reversing it with my diet. I would love to get the Nutrition Facts, if possible! Do you know the calories and fat, etc. Thanks for sharing.
Just making this delicious looking salad. It says to divide the 2T of oil. I see that you answered the question to someone else to add to chickpeas. I only see add to the chickpea/cauliflower mixture in the recipe.
So where does the the other half go?
Oops, that was a typo. Both tablespoons of oil need to go in with the cauliflower/chickpeas. Thanks for catching that. :)
I used broccoli and cauliflower and the broccoli was awesome. I think next time I’d double up the spices and add extra lemon to the dressing
Such an interesting salad! Im always looking for cool ones as I get so bored of the basic ones. Can’t wait to try this one! :)
I made it and loved it! I do have a question though. Should it be cooled and served or served hot? Mine was just warm by the time we ate it and I can’t decided.
I made roasted cauliflower and found this delicious salad recipe after it was cooked but before the oven had cooled off. I did not have all ingredients but it still came out great. I went back and roasted the chick peas and wish I would have also roasted the onion. I had a sweet white onion-but the bite was good-just love roasted onions and it would have been easy. I had a ripe tomato from the garden and it was a beautiful and flavorful addition. I added a radish and mushroom. Substitution all over the place romaine stead of arugula, white onion) but the dressing was great and glad I have leftovers thank you
Do you have to have the cauli/chickpeas hot when added to the arugula? Or can you have them be room temp. I just want to roast ahead of my company coming over.
My anti-vegetable partner loved this. Absolutely delicious. Served with chicken thighs for extra protein.