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Roasted Cauliflower Orzo Salad

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This Roasted Cauliflower Orzo Salad recipe is full of delicious Mediterranean flavors, quick and easy to make, and perfect for picnics or potlucks or easy make-ahead dinners.

This yummy Roasted Cauliflower Orzo Salad can be served warm or cold, it’s easy to make ahead of time, and it’s packed with delicious Mediterranean ingredients. | | Vegetarian

One of the random challenges of this food blogging gig for me is actually committing to a final recipe.

I’m forever second-guessing myself at the last minute before photographing, wondering whether I should garnish a dish it with a little of this…or a little of that? Or made it with this vinaigrette…or that? Or whether I should have added in protein…or made it vegetarian? Or photographed it in this bowl…or that one? Or served it with these sides…or those?

Oh my goodness, the options with every recipe seem practically limitless.  ?

Occasionally, I’ll text my friend, Kathryne, in the middle of making a final recipe and have her bail me out with the day’s garnish decision fatigue. Or far too often, the little lightbulb will click on when I’m editing photos afterwards and I suddenly get the “ah ha!” solution that I wish I had caught earlier. Or sometimes — like with this recipe — I figure out the perfect missing ingredient exactly halfway through photographing.

So for a bit of a behind-the-scenes glimpse of Weird Things Food Bloggers Stress About, today I thought I’d share this delicious Roasted Cauliflower Orzo Salad recipe with you…before and after the ?.

This easy Mediterranean Orzo Salad recipe is full of my favorite Mediterranean savory ingredients, including lots of roasted cauliflower. |

The inspiration for this one was easy. I had a fresh head of cauliflower at home that I was itching to roast, and a bunch of leftover Mediterranean ingredients in the fridge after making a video of this farro salad (coming soon!). So I decided to put them all to good use with my favorite kind of summertime dish — a nice and hearty pasta salad.

LOVE this pasta salad! It's filled with lots of delicious Mediterranean and roasted cauliflower, it's tossed with a simple vinaigrette, and tastes delicious when served warm or cold! | | Vegetarian

Everything came together easily and looked and tasted delicious, so grabbed my camera and snapped a few photos in case I wanted to blog about this one later. But after eating a few bites, I still felt like there was a little something missing. I took a scan through the pantry, and thought about tossing in some roasted red peppers…but I felt like the sun-dried tomatoes were carrying most of that load. I thought about adding in some chickpeas…but nah, it already seemed plenty hearty with the pasta and pine nuts. Then I opened the fridge to take a look around, and all of a sudden…???.

This Roasted Cauliflower Orzo Pasta Salad is easy to make, full of big Mediterranean flavors, made with lots of roasted cauliflower, and absolutely delicious! | (Vegetarian)


Ah ha! That fresh, peppery, green goodness was exactly what the salad needed. So I stirred a bunch in…

…and bingo. It totally hit the spot. And — bonus — made the salad look so much more fresh and fun and colorful too, don’t you think? I had a huge bowl for lunch.

And then made it again a few days later just to double-test it. (But let’s be real — mostly just to have an excuse to eat it again.)

Barclay also had some of the leftovers as a side to go with this Honey-Mustard Salmon, and gave both recipes a major thumbs up, so I figured this one was ready to share with you too. ?

Enjoy! (And thanks for indulging my random food blogging stress talk.)

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Roasted Cauliflower Orzo Salad

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.8 from 12 reviews
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 8 -10 servings 1x


This delicious Roasted Cauliflower Orzo Salad is packed with delicious Mediterranean ingredients, and is delicious served warm or cold.  Feel free to sub in your favorite ingredients!



Roasted Cauliflower Orzo Salad Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces uncooked pasta (I used orzo)
  • 2 large handfuls fresh baby arugula
  • 1 batch roasted cauliflower (see below)
  • 1 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
  • 2/3 cup roughy-chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta or goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
  • half a small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 batch lemon vinaigrette (see below)

Roasted Cauliflower Ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly-cracked black pepper

Lemon Vinaigrette Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons finely-chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper


To Make The Roasted Cauliflower Orzo Salad:

  1. Cook the pasta in a large stockpot of generously-salted water until it is al dente, according to package directions.  Drain pasta and rinse under cold water for about 20-30 seconds until no longer hot.  Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked pasta, roasted cauliflower, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, crumbled cheese, pine nuts, red onion, and vinaigrette.  Toss until evenly combined.
  3. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

To Make The Roasted Cauliflower:

  1. Heat oven to 400°F.
  2. Add the cauliflower to a large mixing bowl, drizzle evenly with olive oil, and toss until combined.  (You can also do this directly on the baking sheet.)  Turn the cauliflower out onto a large baking sheet, and spread out in a single layer.  Season evenly with a few generous pinches of salt and pepper.
  3. Bake uncovered for about 25-30 minutes, or until the cauliflower is lightly browned and tender.  Remove from the oven, and set aside until ready to use.

To Make The Lemon Vinaigrette:

  1. Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl (or shake in a mason jar) until completely combined.

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50 comments on “Roasted Cauliflower Orzo Salad”

  1. This looks delish. I’d love to try and make it but I’m not seeing the recipe? Did I miss it somewhere?

    • Hi Joy! There was a glitch, but it’s all fixed and in there now — we apologize!

    • Hi Julie! There was a glitch, but it’s all fixed and in there now — we apologize!

  2. Is this post missing the recipe portion? Am I crazy? It *is* Monday after all :)

    • Hi Chelsea! No, you aren’t crazy, there was a glitch, but it’s all fixed and in there now :) — we apologize for the confusion!

  3. OH YUM! The arugula makes this salad look amazing! Trying this one for sure!!

  4. Why I love reading your blog and your recipes. It’s like I’m reading about myself in my kitchen. Every meal is an adventure and I never know what I’ll end up making. But alas! I’m not as disciplined as you so although I save the recipes I know they’ll eventually make it into my next book but never get around to a blog.

    • Thank you, Digna, we’re so glad you enjoy the blog, and we hope you enjoy this salad! :)

  5. I love reading about your food blogging adventures! I feel like I go through the same thought process. Your “ah ha” moment really looks like it paid off because I will definitely be making this salad next week!

  6. This is one salad that would persuade me to eat arugula (I had too much of it in a short period of time, got tired of it – really, really tired of it – and haven’t been able to tolerate it much since). I’m not at all surprised that you, or any food blogger, would stress about whether a recipe was complete or needed changing. You seem to have quite a good handle on good finished recipes, and you send your texts to the right friend for help, given my experience with her recipes.

  7. This looks amazing. I can’t wait to try it. Thanks for sharing.

  8. This looks delicious! I’m sharing it with my friends and family for sure!

  9. I don’t eat pasta so I am going to try this recipe without the pasta and add some bacon bits maybe.
    will update tomorrow once I have tried it out. Cannot wait to get stuck in, it looks so delicious.
    Question? I am South African, just wondering, is the “Arugula” the same thing as rocket? never heard of Arugula but it looks exactly like Rocket : )

    • Awesome, we hope you love it, Leigh-ann, and definitely let us know what you think! :) And yes, arugula is the same thing as rocket greens. :)

  10. I had a head of broccoli sitting in the fridge for over a week, had no idea what to make with it, then saw your recipe and tried it. Delicious! The pasta/roasted cauliflower combo is very nice.

  11. Made this but roasted the olives with the cauliflower. Yum!!

  12. This looks amazing. Thanks for sharing the great recipe.

  13. This looks so delicious and perfect for summer!

  14. Just made this, it was so fresh! I didn’t have any sun-dried tomatoes on hand, so I just used cherry tomatoes. Still delicious : )

  15. Any idea how big of a head of cauliflower you used? Right now, the cauliflower heads where I’m from range from very small (1LB) to 4 1/2-5 LBS!

    Thanks! Can’t wait for your response so I can make it.

    • Hi Jae! Hmmm, that’s a good question, and that is quite the range in size! Honestly it doesn’t make a huge difference, but we’d say between 1 and 2 lbs. We probably wouldn’t use one that’s more than 2 1/2 or 3 lbs, unless you reeeeally love cauliflower and want that to be the dominant ingredient. We hope you enjoy the salad! :)

  16. I 100% agree on the infinite indecision for recipes! Since there are literally millions of ways you can tweak it, photograph it, and then serve it, it can get wayyy overwhelming. But this one looks like a winner!

  17. how long can you keep these and how do you store these

    • Hi there. You can store this in the fridge and it will be good for the better part of a week. We hope you enjoy!


  19. I made this tonight and it was great! We had it with grilled chicken and it was a nice summertime meal. Thanks for always posting such great ideas! Your website makes my meal planning a breeze ?

  20. This looks great! I’d like to make this for a picnic – do you think it could be made a 2-3 days in advance and then would carry/travel well for a picnic? Thanks.

    • Thanks, G, we hope you enjoy! And yes, you could definitely make this a few days in advance, though we would wait and add the arugula fresh, so it doesn’t wilt. You also might want to consider waiting to add the red onion as well (otherwise the salad may be very onion-y). We hope this helps!

  21. Made this tonight to bring on our vacation! Looks selfish and I can’t wait to eat it!

  22. Holy goodness! This is SO-OO delicious!!! Peppery, light and oh so flavorful! I’ll be honest, as I was making it I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. I’m not a big fan of feta, kalamata olives or red onion. But the husband wanted to try the recipe so I made it. So glad he found it and suggest it! It is amazingly yummy! Seriously cannot sing enough praises about this! One thing I did that the recipe doesn’t say, I toasted the pine nuts. This is definitely going into the recipe book! Mmmmm mmmm!

  23. I love all of your recipes, and this one looks delicious! I love olives, but not everyone in my family does. Do you have any suggestions for a substitute? Or should I just leave them out? Thank you!

  24. Different and delicious!

  25. Made this the other weekend. It was such a big hit with the family that we are having it again this weekend at a gathering! I included red pepper and omitted the pine nuts and sun-dry tomatoes. Thanks for the recipe post. Good find! This recipe has made it into the books!

  26. Great summer dish! I took it to a party and everyone loved it.

  27. We enjoyed this last night with grilled chicken, and I’ll be enjoying the leftovers this week for lunch. I’ll definitely be making it again! Thanks!

  28. We’ve made this salad several times now – we love it! A weeknight staple in our home.

  29. Easy and delightful!

  30. Love this salad!!

  31. Great recipe! Only thing I changed is I kept the cauliflower raw, bc my family hates the smell of cooked cauliflower the next day, plus I figured it would hold up better for leftovers and it sure did! Thanks for another great one!