Weekly Winner:  Keeping My Cool with Crunchy Cauliflower and Chickpea Salad

Summer was very slow to arrive in Chicago, but once it did, it hit with a vengeance.  It has been brutally hot here this past week.  Hot enough that the idea of cooking anything for lunch, not to mention actually consuming something warm, was inconceivable!  I didn’t even want to boil water to cook pasta for a cold pasta salad.  My solution?  Sliced Cauliflower Salad with Chickpea Dressing.

I’ve had this recipe for quite a while, just floating in my “want to try” pile and this past week I finally got around to it.  I wish I had tried it earlier, just so I’d have had more opportunities to eat it.  It makes a lot, and was so good and unusual that I wound up eating it for two days straight!  For lunch the first day, as a side for dinner that night and then again as a snack the second day.  And I’m still not tired of it!  It’s bright, lemony, crunchy and has just the right amount of creaminess thanks to the puréed chickpeas in the dressing. A word of caution:  whatever you do, do not skip the diced, raw tomatillo on top!  It’s the perfect citrusy bit of crunch.  The recipe comes from Food and Wine Magazine.

Sliced Cauliflower Salad with Chickpea Dressing

Serves 6

Ingredients:

For Chickpea Dressing-

1/4 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed

1 Tbsp seasoned rice vinegar

1 garlic clove, crushed

3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

2 Tbsp tahini

1/2 cup parsley leaves

1/2 cup mint leaves

1 cup canola oil

1/2 tsp sumac

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Kosher salt and pepper

For the Salad-

1 medium head cauliflower, cut into large florets and thinly sliced (4cups)

1 small head romaine chopped (about 6 cups)

1/2 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed

1/2 cup parsley leaves

1/2 cup mint leaves

kosher salt

1 medium tomatillo – husked, rinsed and cut into 1/4-inch dice

Procedure:

  1. Make the dressing. In a blender, combine the chickpeas, rice vinegar, garlic, lemon juice, tahini, parsley and mint.  With the machine on, slowly drizzle in the oil and blend until a smooth, thick dressing forms.  Add the sumac and red pepper flakes, season with salt and pepper.
  2. Make the salad. In a large bowl, toss the cauliflower, chickpeas, parsley and mint with the chickpea dressing. Season with salt and toss again. Transfer the salad to a platter and top with the tomatillo and serve.
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