When we go to a potluck or barbeque Rick and I always bring some sort of salad. Usually the salad is as well received as the adult beverages and desserts. If you’re looking for a vegetarian dish to take to your next gathering, try this black pepper cauliflower salad. It’s loaded with good for you cauliflower, plus apples, walnuts, onions and cheese. It will definitely be added to our list of great salads for entertaining.
Even if you don’t have a potluck to attend, black pepper cauliflower salad is a wonderful choice for this time of year. The flavors work together to make a perfect first course or a side dish for a larger meal.
I found the recipe on Heidi Swanson’s 101 Cookbooks as part of I Heart Cooking Clubs on going exploration of her work. This week the challenge was to recreate something perfect for entertaining and this recipe fits the bill. Heidi recommends serving it as a first course followed by a light soup and maybe some poached eggs. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
Select a cauliflower with a head that’s about the size of three or four fists. After you trim it up and break up the florets you should have about 5 cups (feel free to chop up the larger stems if you like). This is enough for six people. You can make more or less salad according to your needs. Double it for a party, halve the amounts for a dinner at home.
- 5 cups cauliflower broken into small florets (about 2 pounds before trimming)
- 1 medium red onion, diced (about a cup)
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons or more coarsely ground black pepper, depending on the grind and how much you like pepper
- 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
- 3 cups diced, unpeeled apples (I used 2 large royal gala apples)
- ½ cup feta or other crumbly cheese
- salt to taste
- Blanch the cauliflower for 2 - 3 minutes in a large amount of boiling water. It should be crisp tender.
- Drain and rinse with cold water so it will stop cooking.
- Combine the onions, olive oil, vinegar and black pepper in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat before it begins to boil.
- When ready to serve mix the cauliflower, walnuts, apples, and feta cheese together in a large mixing bowl.
- Pour over most of the vinaigrette, leaving the bulk of the onions in the saucepan, and mix. Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired.
- Transfer to a serving platter and pour the remaining vinaigrette over top, scraping the remaining onions over the pile. Crack more black pepper if desired.
Be sure to head over to I Heart Cooking Clubs for more entertaining ideas from Heidi Swanson!