Roasted Cauliflower Arugula Salad (Paleo, AIP, Vegan)
This lovely roasted cauliflower salad is fairly simple, it’s Paleo and AIP compliant, it’s vegan and most importantly, it's completely delicious. It combines tender yet crispy roasted cauliflower, tangy-sweet caramelized onions, arugula, creamy avocado, balsamic vinegar, and avocado oil to make a tasty side salad or easy weeknight meal.
If you want to add meat to round out the meal, grilled chicken or bacon would be fabulous with this.
Just a Few Simple Ingredients:
Cauliflower is one of my favorite veggies because it is extremely versatile and it tastes so delicious roasted. When roasted, it takes on an almost creamy or buttery texture that makes it taste very indulgent, especially when you roast it with just a little bit of oil and sea salt. It’s amazing. Add this stuff to pretty much any salad, and you’ve got an awesome salad.
One main thing to note when roasting it- keep the pieces pretty small so they roast easily. If you roast big florets, they won’t get as crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
The caramelized onions just take a few minutes to prepare and really add a dimension of tanginess that takes the salad to the next level. It's amazing what a little balsamic vinegar and maple syrup can do to onions- yum!
I find it’s best to let the cauliflower get a head start in the oven for a few minutes before you start cooking the onion because it takes such a short time to cook. That way both finish around the same time and you can serve them warm.
If you cook the onions a little early and find that they get cold while the cauliflower is still cooking, simply warm them in the microwave for about 20 seconds and they’ll be good to go.
Arugula is a green I’ve recently started using more and it’s got a unique flavor compared to other greens. I’d say it’s somewhat of an acquired taste as greens go but I’ve really come to love it and I think it’s perfect in this salad.
Avocado is another huge favorite of mine- it goes with almost anything. Its cool creaminess goes perfectly with the warmth of the cauliflower making it a very comforting healthy dish.
Avocado Oil and Balsamic Vinegar
You can drizzle avocado oil and balsamic vinegar over the top of this salad and it’s fabulous but you may find it doesn’t need it. It’s pretty delicious either way.
I hope you enjoyed this recipe. If you made it, leave a comment below and let me know what you thought. I'd love to hear from you!
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- 1 head cauliflower, chopped in small pieces
- 2-3 tbsp olive oil or avocado oil (divided)
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp balsamic or apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp sea salt (divided)
- 6 cups arugula
- 2 avocados, diced
- avocado oil (drizzle over salad as needed)
- balsamic vinegar (drizzle over salad as needed)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place cauliflower on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet, toss with 1-2 tbsp oil, and sprinkle with ~1/2 tsp sea salt. Roast at 425 degrees on the middle rack for about 30 minutes, checking/stirring every 1- minutes.
- While the cauliflower is cooking, prepare the onion. Heat about 1 tbsp of oil in a medium-sized frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions. Continue cooking and stirring until onions start to brown (about 5 minutes). Add vinegar, maple syrup, 1/2 tsp salt, garlic powder and continue cooking until the liquid evaporates- another 5 minutes or so. Adjust the heat down slightly if needed.
- Remove the cauliflower from the oven and allow it to cool for about 10 minutes before assembling the salad.
- Assemble the salad starting with the arugula, then top with cauliflower, onions, and avocados. Drizzle with oil and balsamic vinegar. Serve!