Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Chickpea and cauliflower salad with olive-anchovy dressing

I invented this on the weekend. It's a bit of a weird salad, and I wasn't sure if I should post it. It's not often one sees cauliflower in a salad, and I think there's a good reason for that — if you cook it too long, it's going to be mushy, and you don't want anything mushy in a salad! (Except avocado, perhaps.)

In any case, this wasn't the most amazing salad I've ever had, but it wasn't bad. It wasn't bad at all. I think the combination of olives and cauliflower is highly underrated. And croutons are just great in any salad.

What do you think? Does this seem appetising, or a bit ... meh?

Don't hold back. I can handle the truth.

Chickpea and cauliflower salad with olive-anchovy dressing

1 head cauliflower, broken into florets
Half a loaf of ciabatta (sourdough/bread made with olive oil), crust removed and torn into chunks
Extra virgin olive oil, to taste
3 anchovy fillets
1 clove garlic
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup black olives, drained and finely chopped
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 handfuls rocket

1. Lightly steam the cauliflower until just cooked (but still very firm), then plunge into icy water to prevent further cooking.
2. Arrange the bread chunks on a baking tray, drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt and black pepper. Roast until golden.
3. In a pestle and mortar, mash the anchovy and garlic until you have a paste. Add the lemon juice, zest and a good glug olive oil, and whisk to create a dressing. Season to taste.
4. In a large bowl, combine the cauliflower, chickpeas, olives and dressing, and stir so everything's nicely coated.
5. Arrange the rocket on a platter and top with the cauliflower and chickpeas. Sprinkle with the croutons, drizzle over any remaining dressing and serve.


  1. Beautiful salad and so healthy too. I can see this on my next bbq.

  2. A delightful salad! I love all those flavors. Marvelous!



  3. Sounds delicious. i love cauliflower.

  4. Take the anchovies out and I would eat this all day. Also, I would roast the cauliflower because it gets so much better tasting that way and it's really great in salad. Otherwise, yum!

  5. Robyn, this is a beautiful salad! Lots of fun in texture :)

  6. Thanks so much for the feedback. Dana, I agree, roasting is a much better idea than steaming...

  7. I love raw cauliflower in my salads :)

  8. Not a fan of anchovy fillets personally, but the rest of the flavour-texture-combo looks good.

  9. I like it! But I'm an olive & crouton slut, so...

    Personally I'd leave the cauliflower raw - it's very underrated in salads I agree!

  10. very healthy style,
    I love it!
    Happy Sunday!

  11. I like cauliflower but also like crunch and have found by dry roasting it you get a really nice texture that transfers well when cooled into a salad. I sprinkle over a bit of ollive oil and dukkha or cumin and spices etc... I like your use of anchovies and olives. You would need a strong flavour to compliment th subtle chickpeas and cauli

  12. Your olive and anchovies dressing is really make me drool. Anchovies is one of my favorite ingredient, I can just put this into anything really.

  13. Robyn, I really like the idea of this salad. I have all those ingredients so I'm keen to give it a go. I think that I would saute the cauliflower with just a little bit of olive oil and salt, rather than steaming, to give it a bit of a nutty taste, and then maybe toss the chickpeas into the pan as well right near the end (just to warm them through), to end up with a warmish salad - it's winter here, but I really love warm salads at this time of year.

    Thanks for visiting me recently - you're so right - we seem to like all the same things.

    Sue xo

  14. I am so intrigued by the name of it, I want to try it. The flavour and texture combinations have me drooling already.

  15. Hi Robyn
    Congrats. This recipe/ blog post won Arniston Bay Wines' recipe of the month prize.

    For other bloggers- Here is how to enter:

  16. hey Robyn! I love this salad idea. Smashed olives over warm veggies is my thing of the moment, but since I love love love chickpeas I'm going to try this for sure XX Aletta

  17. An amazing & special salad this is!!

    MMMMMMMMMMMM,...I just voted for you!!! Oooh yes!