Close your eyes for a minute. Okay, maybe wait until you read this! Imagine the cool, crisp mornings of Autumn. Sitting on your porch in sweatpants and a hoodie, sipping piping hot coffee and listening to the geese flock, as they prepare to head south. Feel a slight chill in the breeze as it blows through your hair, and breathe in its freshness. Watch as a few red and orange leaves loosen from their strongholds on their branches and float softly to the ground. If all of that was a flavor, it would be this Cauliflower Salad with Apricots and Toasted Hazelnuts. You thought I was going to say pumpkin spice didn’t you? 😂
How to make Cauliflower Salad
To make this delicious side dish, start with a small head of cauliflower, and cut it up into bite-sized pieces. You could also use frozen cauliflower if it’s cheaper. I often use frozen vegetables for roasting!
Next, chop up your leeks and celery (don’t forget to toss the ends in the freezer to make vegetable broth!), and toss them, the cauliflower, some oil and poultry seasoning together on a baking sheet, and bake for about 40 minutes, or until everything is soft and starting to brown.
Take it out of the oven and toss it with the rest of the ingredients and you’re done! You can serve this warm, cold, or room temperature. It’s flexible like that. You can even make it a day or two ahead – the flavor only gets better! If you do that though, make sure to leave the hazelnuts out until you’re ready to serve it so they don’t get soggy.
Cauliflower Salad Ingredients and Heart Health
Of course it’s packed full of heart healthy ingredients!
Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable, which is a vegetable group that often gets recognized for its anticancer properties. But cauliflower is also great for your heart! It’s high in fiber and antioxidants, notably, vitamin C; both important in heart health.
Leeks are a member of the allium family, like onions and garlic. They are milder, though, and I love using them because of how they tend to have a creamy texture when they’re cooked. This group of vegetables tends to have cholesterol-lowering abilities, making them a great choice for seasoning dishes without a lot of salt (a quick saute of any allium vegetable and you’re in business!). Leeks are good sources of manganese and vitamin A. But they are a particularly excellent source of vitamin K, a nutrient essential for proper blood clotting (be sure to take note if you’re on a blood thinner!).
Dried apricots lend a perfectly sweet contrast to other ingredients. With their vibrant color, you can expect them to be high in vitamin A, but you might not expect them to be a good source of vitamin E, copper, and iron. Remember, a little goes a long way with dried fruit – they’re almost like candy!
Finally, hazelnuts. Nuts in general are known for their heart healthy benefits, and hazelnuts (AKA filberts) are no different. I find hazelnuts to be drier and crunchier than other nuts, which made them a unique addition here. Though high in fat, it’s almost entirely monounsaturated fat; the healthiest kind of fat. Hazelnuts are also good sources of other heart healthy nutrients, like vitamin E, manganese, and copper.
Great alongside any roasted poultry (HELLO Thanksgiving side dish!), or try it with Easy Skillet Tempeh with Caramelized Onions and Grapes!
Cauliflower Salad with Apricots and Toasted Hazelnuts
A delightfully easy salad featuring seasonal cauliflower, leeks, and celery, seasoned with all the flavors of Fall!
- 4 cups Cauliflower florets and pieces (about 1 small head or use frozen)
- 1 cup chopped Leeks
- 1 cup chopped Celery
- 1 Tbsp Olive oil
- 1 tsp Poultry Seasoning
- 1/3 cup diced Dried Apricots
- 1/4 cup toasted Hazelnuts, roughly chopped
- 2 tsp minced Fresh Sage
- Chopped Parsley to garnish, if desired
- Salt and Pepper to taste, if needed
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Combine cauliflower, leeks, celery, oil, and poultry seasoning on a large baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes, tossing periodically.
Remove from oven and toss in apricots, hazelnuts, and sage.
Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
Serve warm, room temperature, or cold, garnished with parsley, if desired.
Note: Can be prepared a day or two in advance. If you do this, leave the hazelnuts out until just before serving, or they will get soggy.