Full of zip, this raw cauliflower salad with pepperoncini and peppers is a fantastic (and easy!) side salad for any meal. Add chickpeas or chicken to turn it into a main dish salad.
I fell hard for this cauliflower, right at first bite. I'm a sucker for anything that includes pickled or roasted vegetables, so the pepperoncini and roasted peppers sent me straight to salad nirvana.
Raw cruciferous vegetables have been my thing lately, starring in recipes such as my Thai Chicken Salad, Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad and Superfood Salad. If I make double portions for dinnertime, I'm left with leftovers for lunch for the week. Nothing makes me happier!
This recipe really is easy to put together. Separate the cauliflower into small florets and combine it with chopped pepperoncini, roasted peppers and parsley. Toss it all together with a simple lemon vinaigrette. Zippy, quick and delicious.
Ingredients for this Cauliflower salad
These are the main components of this recipe:
- Cauliflower: A 2 to 2 ½-pound head of cauliflower will give you about 6 cups of small florets.
- Pepperoncini: Jars of pepperoncini can be found alongside pickles and olives in most grocery stores.
- Roasted peppers: Either use homemade or jarred (store-bought) roasted red peppers. If going the store-bought route, look for peppers that are packed in water rather than oil.
- Parsley: Flat-leaf parsley – sometimes labeled as Italian parsley – can be found in the produce section.
- Dressing: The dressing is a simple vinaigrette made of lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, lemon zest, dried oregano and salt.
See recipe card below for full ingredients list & recipe directions.
Tips for making raw cauliflower salad:
This salad calls for about 6 cups of small cauliflower florets. One 2- to 2 ½-pound head of cauliflower should do the trick. Alternatively, look for bags of pre-cut florets that are often found in the produce section. The bagged florets are usually on the large size. I suggest cutting them into smaller florets for this salad.
The salad can be served up right away, but is even better when it rests for at least 30 minutes. If you have time, cover the salad and pop it into the fridge for a half hour or so.
Frequently asked questions:
While lower on scoville scale (heat scale for peppers), the pepperoncini do add some zip to the flavor. If you're sensitive to heat, replace them with pickled banana peppers, which are a little milder. Alternatively, leave them out altogether and replace with additional roasted red peppers.
Absolutely! In fact, the dressing acts as a marinade and adds flavor to the cauliflower as it rests. Make it up to a day ahead before serving for lunch or dinner.
When properly stored, raw cauliflower salad should last for 3 to 4 days in the fridge. The beauty of this salad is that raw cauliflower holds up incredibly well when dressed. No soggy salad!
Store it in an airtight container, such as these ones.
There are plenty of options here. Stir in poached chicken or grilled shrimp, some cheese (feta works well) and some greens to bulk it up. I often serve it over a bed of spinach when serving it as an entrée.
For a vegetarian or vegan salad, stir in chickpeas or cannellini beans for added protein.
What to serve with cauliflower salad
Serve it with a hearty soup, such as Chicken Vegetable Soup or Stuffed Pepper Soup.
Or serve it alongside a main dish, such as One Pot Chicken and Rice or Easy Braised Pork Chops.
Tools used for this recipe:
Microplane – Keep a microplane/zester on hand for zesting citrus. They're great for grating nutmeg, too.
Mini whisk - Great for whisking up dressings or small portions of sauces.
Other cauliflower recipes:
Cauliflower Salad with Pepperoncini & Roasted Peppers
- 1 (2 to 2 ½ lb.) head of cauliflower (6 cups small florets)
- 1 large carrot cut into thin half-circles
- ⅓ cup chopped roasted red peppers (from ½ large roasted pepper)
- ¼ cup chopped pepperoncini
- ¼ cup minced flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- Remove the leaves and cut out the core. Then cut the cauliflower into small florets. Transfer to a large bowl.
- Add the carrot to the bowl. Toss with the dressing.
- Stir in the roasted red pepper, pepperoncini and parsley.
- In a bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, lemon zest, oregano and salt.
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