Need something green to go along with all the holiday food? This is the best salad. Period. The recipe was inspired by several variations on it I’ve had over the years at some of my favorite lunch spots between Austin and NYC. This one combines the best parts of all of them. Fresh, raw, massaged kale; golden roasted cauliflower; my favorite seed – the pumpkin; plump, juicy grapes; and a dressing of the most magical ingredient – anchovy. I know many people are a bit turned off by anchovies. And if you are one of them, this kale and cauliflower salad will delight you.
First, I want to talk about anchovies. These little guys are an excellent way to get some fish (and hence magical omega-3’s) into your diet without trying too hard. They add that killer umami flavor to your dish that makes it extra special.
This recipe is a highly nutritious, delicious, and filling meal – not just a salad. It’s great as is for lunch, but also a fantastic side to roast chicken, grilled fish, or whatever your heart desires. You could do something simple like add rotisserie chicken on top. The anchovy dressing is also great on just about any roasted or grilled veggies, or on a salad of bitter greens like dandelion or endive.
Kale and Cauliflower Salad With Pumpkin Seeds
Makes 4 servings
- 1 head kale – de-stemmed, washed, and chopped into 1-2″ pieces
- 1 head cauliflower – cut into medium-size florets
- 1 cup red or green grapes, halved (or 1/3 cup raisins or dried cranberries)
- 1 small red onion
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup anchovy dressing *recipe below
- *optional: 1 cup cooked, shredded chicken or crumbed tofu
Makes about 1 cup dressing
- 5 anchovies (or 1 Tbs anchovy paste)
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- juice of 1 lemon
- fresh ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup grated parmesan
For vinaigrette – If using whole anchovies, chop finely or grind in a mortar & pestle until you get a paste-like consistency. Squeeze garlic through a garlic press. Put chopped anchovy or anchovy paste, garlic, vinegar, salt, pepper, and lemon juice in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk well to combine. Pour this mixture into a small jar, add olive oil and parmesan and shake until combined.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Trim cauliflower and rip or cut it into medium-sized florets. Cut onion in half lengthwise through the root and stem. Then slice into wedges, keeping the root end in tact to allow wedges to be kept in one piece. (This is an especially useful technique for grilling onion, but works great for baking too). Place onion and cauliflower on a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and several grinds of black pepper, and toss to spread oil evenly. Bake for 40 minutes, tossing half way through, or until cauliflower is browned on the edges. Remove from oven and let cool.
Toast pumpkin seeds in a skillet over low heat until slightly browned and fragrant – about 10 minutes.
Tear kale leaves from stems, then use a salad spinner (a good one of these makes cooking healthy soooo much easier) to wash. Tear or chop leaves into 2-inch pieces. Throw in a large bowl, drizzle with a couple teaspoons of olive oil, and massage for about 3 minutes. You’ll see the kale reduce in size by about half and turn into this soft, enticing leaf rather than the dry, hard-looking thing you started with. Magic.
Then toss the rest of the ingredients into the bowl – cauliflower and onion mixture, halved grapes, toasted pumpkin seeds, chicken or fish if you’re using it, and 1/4 cup of the dressing. Save the rest for a salad or roasted veggies in the next week or two. Toss well to combine. Serve sprinkled with a touch more parmesan and black pepper.
This salad is great right away, but if it’s just me eating, I always make enough to eat it for several meals. It’s even better the next day.
For more ideas like this and to get more explorations of how to eat nutritiously and feel great in your body without the diet culture nonsense, sign up for my biweekly pleasure-focused newsletter, Lunch & Liberation. Sign up today.
Emily Van Eck, MS, RDN specializes in intuitive eating, mindfulness-based eating practices, embodiment with food and movement, and healing from years of weight-bias and disordered eating. She helps womxn find balance, consistency, and peace with their eating habits so they can feel confident to get outta their heads and into their bodies. Emily is a registered dietitian and certified intuitive eating counselor with a master’s degree in nutrition science. Read more about her here.