Roasted Cauliflower Salad

4.92 from 12 votes

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Tossed in balsamic vinaigrette, this roasted cauliflower salad has a base of chopped kale. Where it gets even more exciting is the combination of savory, salty and briny ingredients mixed in. That includes sun dried tomatoes, Kalamata olives, feta and walnuts. This salad is hearty enough to be a main dish or you can serve it as a side.

Cauliflower kale salad with tomatoes and olives in a bowl.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

This is not just another kale salad. I know there can be a love-it/hate-it kind of attitude towards kale because some people think it’s bitter. The key to making an unforgettable kale salad is to balance the greens with other things like roasted veggies, olives, onions and feta. Then you have a blend of savory, sweet and salty bites.

Roasting cauliflower is the best way to cook this nutritious and versatile vegetable. Cauliflower has a mild flavor. When you roast a sheet pan of florets, the heat from the oven enhances its nuttiness and you get that caramelization.  

This salad will take you from fall all the way through winter. In some ways, it is almost a season-less salad because the other components include jarred ingredients like Kalamata olives and sun dried tomatoes.

The Ingredients

Ingredients including cauliflower, tomatoes, onions, olives, feta, walnuts, parsley, mustard, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.

This is what you need:

  • Cauliflower: Look for a head of cauliflower that doesn’t have any dark spots. When you pick it up, it should feel heavy for its size. The color of the cauliflower doesn’t matter. It can be white, orange, purple or green.
  • Kale: Either lacinato kale or curly kale will work in this salad.
  • Sun dried tomatoes are one of my favorite antipasto ingredients because they are full of flavor. Make sure to buy them packed in oil, so they are already hydrated. If you take a fork to get them out of the jar rather than a spoon, you won’t pick up any unnecessary oil before you chop them. You can also use marinated roasted tomatoes or roasted red peppers.
  • Olives: I love Kalamata olives because they’re soft and nice and meaty. Use pitted olives and roughly chop them, so they are well distributed throughout the salad.
  • Feta cheese adds something a little salty to go with the olives and tomatoes in the salad.
  • Walnuts: Toasting nuts really brings out their flavor. You can substitute with almonds, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios or even sunflower seeds.
  • Red onions are one of my go-to salad onions. Finely chopped, they are all part of layering in different textures and flavors, which is important for a tasty salad. 
  • Parsley: I also include chopped fresh herbs.
  • Balsamic vinaigrette: The dressing is a mix of minced garlic, whole grain mustard, honey, salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

Optional Additions

  • Homemade croutons give salads toasty crunch. It is very easy to make your own plain or cornbread croutons. Don’t include them if you want to keep the recipe gluten-free.
  • Protein: I think this salad eats like a meal as the recipe is written, but you can add roasted chicken or salmon or tofu.

Best Way To Cut Cauliflower For Roasting

Head of cauliflower sliced on a cutting board.

Rather than simply breaking a cauliflower head into florets. I like to slice it first. More flat edges means more surfaces will touch the hot metal of the pan. This is the best way to get your cauliflower browned and caramelized.

All you have to do is remove the leaves and trim the bottom stem. This gives you a flat surface for the cauliflower to sit on, making slicing easier. Then take your knife and cut 1/2-inch thick slices. Use your hands or your knife, as needed, to split the cauliflower into florets. And remember that you can roast and eat stem pieces too.

How To Make This Roasted Cauliflower Salad

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. 

1. Roast the cauliflower.  Right on the sheet pan, toss the cauliflower florets with olive oil, salt and pepper. Then spread them out, so they are in a single layer. You want to maximize contact with the baking sheet. Roast them for 20-25 minutes, flipping them over halfway through cooking.

2. Make the vinaigrette. For the dressing, whisk the garlic, mustard, honey, salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

Roasted cauliflower on a sheet pan. Balsamic vinaigrette in a bowl.

3. Assemble the salad. Use a large bowl to combine the kale, cauliflower, onions, tomatoes, olives, feta, walnuts and parsley.

4. Drizzle the vinaigrette into the salad. Toss everything together.

Salad assembled in a large bowl. Dressing drizzled into salad and mixed together.


This is an anytime/any occasion kind of salad. It is worthy of a holiday meal like Thanksgiving with roasted turkey, but you can also enjoy it on a weeknight as a side dish or a main dish. It’s up to you. Enjoy it with chickpea spinach pasta, fresh herb pappardelle or pumpkin pasta.

Leftovers & Storage

For any salad that you make, if you are planning to save some for leftovers, do not toss the entire salad in the dressing. This will help you avoid soggy leaves. Then keep the salad and vinaigrette in separate airtight containers in the fridge up to 2 days.

But don’t hesitate to save dressed salad. Kale is heartier than other lettuces, so even though it will lose some of its crispness, it will still be good to eat.

Roasted cauliflower kale salad with tomatoes and olives on a plate.

Recipe Tips

  • Don’t be tempted to buy pre-cut cauliflower florets. By slicing a head of cauliflower and then breaking it into pieces, you have all those flat sides that will roast and brown really well on the pan.
  • Make homemade balsamic vinaigrette. You can whisk it together in less than a minute. It will taste better and not have any unnecessary ingredients like store-bought dressing does.
  • When you cut the cauliflower, don’t throw away stem pieces. They will soften and caramelize when you roast them.

Recipe FAQs

Can you substitute cauliflower with other vegetables?

Yes. Broccoli or romanesco would also be good options.

Do you have to use kale in this salad?

You can substitute with baby spinach or romaine. Please know that the roasted cauliflower will weigh down more tender lettuces.

How do you make this salad vegan?

Leave out the feta or use a plant-based cheese. Also, substitute the honey in the vinaigrette with maple syrup.

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Roasted Cauliflower Salad

4.92 from 12 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Servings: 4
With chopped kalamata olives and sun dried tomatoes, this simple roasted cauliflower salad is tossed with crumbled feta, toasted walnuts and balsamic vinaigrette.


For cauliflower

  • 1 head cauliflower (about 2 pounds), leaves removed, bottom stem trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices and broken into florets
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

For vinaigrette

  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

For salad

  • 1 bunch kale, ribs removed and chopped (about 4 cups)
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes, oil drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped pitted Kalamata olives
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta
  • 1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley


  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  • On a sheet pan, toss the cauliflower with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Spread into a single layer. Roast the cauliflower until it is browned at the edges and tender, flipping halfway through cooking, about 20-25 minutes.
  • For the vinaigrette, whisk together the garlic, mustard, honey, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, balsamic vinegar and 1/4 cup olive oil in a small bowl.
  • To assemble the salad, combine the kale, cauliflower, onions, tomatoes, olives, feta, walnuts and parsley. Drizzle in the dressing and toss to combine.



You can substitute broccoli or romanesco for the cauliflower.
If you don’t like kale, you can use baby spinach or chopped romaine for lettuce.
You can use either jarred roasted tomatoes or roasted red peppers instead of sun dried tomatoes.
For the walnuts, you can substitute with almonds, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios or sunflower seeds.
To make the salad vegan, leave out feta or use a plant-based version. Also, swap out honey in the dressing and use maple syrup instead. 
If you are doing meal prep and planning to save the salad, do not toss it in the dressing. Store the salad and vinaigrette in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator up to 3 days. Let the vinaigrette sit out at room temperature for 15 minutes before you drizzle it in the salad.
Because kale is a heartier green, you still can store leftover dressed salad in an airtight container up to 3 days. It will lose some of its crispness, but it will still taste good.


Calories: 367kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 1119mg | Potassium: 1105mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 3704IU | Vitamin C: 158mg | Calcium: 215mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Salads
Cuisine: Mediterranean
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Hi, I'm Paige.

Welcome to Last Ingredient where you will find simple seasonal recipes with plenty of fruits and vegetables, all for the home cook.

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