I’ve had my fair share of boring salads over the years. Just this week, I ordered a to-go salad at work and was less than impressed by what ended up being little more than leaves and dressing. For me, a salad is an opportunity to not only eat a nutritious meal, but a way to indulge in the textures and flavors of seasonal veg. But just as my lunchtime disappointment proved, salads often go overlooked—and few qualify as a meal on their own. That’s why I pulled out all the stops with this cauliflower salad.
Packed with nutritious ingredients, plant-based protein, and hearty enough to stand on its own, this cauliflower salad combines everything I love in a meal. It’s easy to prep in advance, allowing for a quick, 15-minute assembly when it comes time to eat. Trust me: this cauliflower salad makes your midday meal something to look forward to. Keep reading for tips, tricks, and the full recipe—plus options to customize to your liking.
Ingredients You’ll Need for Cauliflower Salad
- Hot Sauce
- Kale and Romaine (or any leafy greens of your choice)
- Feta (or any firm/crumbly cheese)
- Green Onion
Cauliflower Salad Meal Prep Tips
When I think of quick lunchtime meals, salads aren’t usually on my list. To make a visually and texturally interesting salad often requires a lot of chopping and ingredient prep. If I’m starving and only have a quick break in between meetings? The kind of salad I’m after usually isn’t in the cards. But with some simple planning and prep ahead of time, you can have this salad ready to go any day of the week.
Prep the chickpeas and cauliflower the night before. Both ingredients can be made ahead and kept in the fridge until ready to use. The best part is that both can also be prepped in the same bowl, made on the same sheet pan, and baked at the same time (re: minimal clean-up required). To help revive some of their texture for serving, warm the cauliflower and chickpeas in a pan over medium heat until crispy. In the meantime, you can toss everything else in a serving bowl. Quick, easy, and delish.
Pre-chop kale. Kale is one of those hearty greens that I prep as soon as I get home from the store. Wash your kale and run it through a salad spinner to dry completely. Slice thinly into ribbons and put into an airtight container with a paper towel to absorb any moisture. Kale will last a few days in the fridge when prepped this way and increases the possibility of me eating a salad for lunch.
Make a jar of dressing at the beginning of the week. This is one of the only regular meal prep things I do over the weekend. Tossing together simple ingredients like tahini, lemon/ACV, honey, and some spices in a jar gives me a delicious dressing that will last the whole week. Plus, it makes everything from bowls to sandwiches to yes—salads—that much better.
How to Make This Salad Your Own
When it comes to salads, there are no hard-and-fast rules. Consider the recipe below a guide that you can play with as you please.
Swap out your greens. Don’t like kale? Use romaine. Don’t have romaine? Arugula works great. Use what you have on hand instead of feeling like you have to use a certain leafy green. (No unnecessary grocery trips here!)
Adjust your spice levels. This cauliflower offers a slight heat that you can play up or dial back as you please. Use your favorite hot sauce and add more if you prefer extra spice.
Use different vegetables. I’m a less-is-more kind of girl when it comes to the veggies I include in my salad. My only rule? They have to work well together. If I don’t have cauliflower on hand, I might sub sweet potatoes instead. I also like sliced celery or red onions for extra crunch and bite.
Add protein. The chickpeas and feta are a great vegetarian source of protein. But feel free to switch it up as you please.