Cauliflower salad on a plate.

January 2, 2023

Shaved Cauliflower Salad with Walnuts & Pickled Raisins

This shaved cauliflower salad is crisp and fresh with a mix of arugula, pickled raisins, toasted walnuts, red onions, Parmesan and a mustardy vinaigrette.

Thinly sliced cauliflower is the base of this crunchy raw cauliflower salad with pickled raisins, toasted walnuts, red onions, Parmesan and arugula. If you are looking for a salad with lots of textures and flavors, this one is it. Tossed in white wine vinaigrette, you can serve it as a salad or a side dish.

If you’re a fan of this style of salad, try this Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with almonds and dried cranberries.

Salad with sliced cauliflower and arugula in a bowl.

Why You’ll Love This Salad

Cauliflower is packed with nutrition. It is high in fiber, antioxidants, vitamin C and vitamin K all while being low in calories and low-carb. It’s great if you are craving variety in your salads and something other than leafy greens.

Pickled raisins, toasted walnuts and Parmesan are the perfect flavor combination. Together these salad additions are savory and a touch sweet and tart. Raw cauliflower is pretty quiet on its own, so you can go big on everything else. I know raisins aren’t to everyone’s taste, but they are amazing pickled. They really plump up and soften.

This salad is great for leftovers. Salads can be tough when you have extras. If you toss it all in dressing and later realize you want to save some of it, the salad can get soggy. The majority of this salad is cauliflower, which can stand up to vinaigrette and stay crisp much longer than standard salads.

How To Cut Cauliflower for a Salad

Unlike a crudité platter where you see raw cauliflower in small florets, I like to thinly slice it for a salad. They best way to do this is with a mandolin and a sharp knife for speed, efficiency and to handle all the irregular pieces. This is how you slice it:

  1. Break the cauliflower into large florets, but they should still be able to fit on a mandolin.
  2. Thinly slice those florets with your mandolin.
  3. Use a knife to thinly slice smaller pieces.

It’s ok if you end up with slices, mini florets and crumbles that all vary in thickness. They will add to the overall texture of the salad.

Pickling Raisins is Easy

Don’t be intimidated by pickling. This is a quick pickle. You just soak the raisins in vinegar, honey and hot water. This is a pared down version of pickling, but it’s still so good in a salad. The raisins soak while you slice the cauliflower.

The Ingredients

Ingredients including cauliflower, arugula, red onions, Parmesan, raisins, olive oil and vinegar.

This is what you need:

  • Cauliflower: Since you don’t roast cauliflower for this recipe, it’s important that it’s very fresh. Avoid any that have brown spots on the cauliflower florets. Overall the head should feel heavy for its size when you hold it. White, purple, orange or green cauliflower will all work in this salad.
  • Arugula is a lettuce that has a peppery bite. It acts like both leafy greens and fresh herbs.
  • Red onions, thinly sliced, are a wonderful salad onion. You can substitute with green onions.
  • Parmesan: I use a vegetable peeler to cut Parmesan shavings to go with sliced cauliflower. You can also do this with a knife.
  • Walnuts: Toast the nuts on a sheet pan in a 350-degree F oven for 5-7 minutes.
  • Parsley: I always like to add herbs to salads. In this recipe, it’s chopped parsley.
  • Golden raisins are more plump and juicy than black raisins, so I don’t recommend making a substitution.
  • Vinegar: I pickle the raisins in white wine vinegar, which is also in the dressing.
  • Honey sweetens the pickling mixture.
  • Red pepper flakes add a smidge of heat to the pickled raisins. Any chance I get I like to layer in more flavors.
  • White wine vinaigrette: In addition to white wine vinegar, the dressing includes minced garlic, whole grain mustard, extra virgin olive oil, kosher salt and black pepper.

How To Make This Cauliflower Salad

1. Pickle the raisins. In a small bowl, stir together the vinegar, honey, hot water and red pepper flakes. Then add the raisins and soak them while you prep the cauliflower. Drain the liquid before adding them to the salad.

2. Slice the cauliflower. First break the head into large florets. Then slice them with a mandolin and use a knife to slice the smaller pieces.

Raisins soaking in a small bowl. Cauliflower sliced with a mandolin.

3. Combine the cauliflower, raisins, arugula, red onions, Parmesan, walnuts and parsley in a big bowl.

4. Make the vinaigrette. Stir the garlic, mustard, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl.

Salad ingredients in a large bowl. Vinaigrette whisked in a small bowl.

5. Drizzle the vinaigrette into the salad and toss to combine.

Vinaigrette stirred into cauliflower salad.

Serving

This salad is filling enough to be served as a main dish salad for lunch or dinner. Add it to your list for fall-winter meal prep ideas. I also love it for a side dish since cauliflower is the base rather than greens.

Leftovers & Storage

This is where the salad really shines. I always say not to toss an entire salad in dressing if you are planning to save part of it, but since most of this one is sliced cauliflower you don’t have to worry as much about it becoming limp. Add fresh arugula when you eat the leftovers.

You can store the salad in an airtight container in the fridge up to 3 days. Store the vinaigrette in a separate jar.

Raw cauliflower salad on a plate.

Let me know if you try this raw cauliflower salad. Please leave a rating and comment below. Thanks!

Print
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Shaved cauliflower salad in a bowl.

Shaved Cauliflower Salad Recipe

  • Author: Paige Adams
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Toss
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This shaved cauliflower salad is crisp and fresh with a mix of arugula, pickled raisins, toasted walnuts, red onions, Parmesan and a mustardy vinaigrette.


Ingredients

Scale
  • For raisins
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon hot water
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • For salad
  • 1 head cauliflower (about 2 pounds), leaves removed and stem trimmed
  • 2 cups baby arugula
  • 1/2 small red onion thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • For vinaigrette
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

  1. For the raisins, whisk the vinegar, honey, hot water and red pepper flakes in a small bowl. Add the raisins. Let them soak while you prep the cauliflower. Drain the liquid before you add the raisins to the salad.
  2. Break the head of cauliflower into large florets. Thinly slice them. You can use a both a mandolin and a sharp knife.
  3. Combine the cauliflower, raisins, arugula, red onions, Parmesan, walnuts and parsley in a large bowl.
  4. For the vinaigrette, whisk the garlic, mustard, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
  5. Drizzle the vinaigrette into the salad, tossing to combine.

Notes

Toast the walnuts on a baking sheet for 5-7 minutes in a 350-degree F oven.

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 3 days. Keep the vinaigrette in a separate jar. If you are planning to save part of the salad for later, do not toss that portion in the dressing, if possible.

You can add some fresh arugula when serving leftovers.

Keywords: cauliflower salad

Originally published September 9, 2019. Updated: January 2, 2023.

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