Can you believe its March already?! I'm not sure where the first few months of 2020 have gone already, but is it safe to say, I am kinda excited for the arrival of spring? I know, we definitely have more of winter to get through, but the promise of spring is coming. And I'm so excited for all the fresh produce coming up, and of course more pool hangs at my condo with friends. But before we welcome spring, let's appreciate the more seasonally appropriate veggies we do have. This roasted cauliflower salad with wild rice is so hearty, you can eat this as is for a full meal. It's got lots of flavour going on, with the addition of za'atar, halloumi, pomegranate and California Prunes, which are available year-round.
This post is sponsored by California Prunes. I was compensated for my time, however all opinions expressed are 100% my own.
Yup, that's right, I said California Prunes. If you haven't yet jumped on this dried fruit yet, I hope this recipe will convince you! California Prunes are fresh, sweet, rich and offer a reliable consistency, plus they add the perfect sweetness to this recipe, or simply enjoyed on their own. They also have a ton of nutritional benefits as well, such as:
And the best part, you can enjoy them in so many different ways. Have them as a snack, or add them as an ingredient in your cooking, just like this roasted cauliflower salad.
If you're looking at how to include California Prunes as a snack, check out their No Bake California Prune Power Ball. I've made them, (see the photo below), and they're delicious and the perfect on-the-go snack.
The trick to roasting cauliflower so that it gets golden and somewhat crispy is to space it out on your baking tray. If you put too much on the pan, it will steam, rather than bake and you'll end up with soggy cauliflower. That's a big NO! If you need to put it on 2 trays, do that. But make sure that there's enough space between the florets so they can bake properly.
For this recipe, you're using a whole head of cauliflower, so work in batches, or simply use two trays to roast everything if needed. Around halfway through the cook time, you can flip over the cauliflower and rotate the baking pans.
I am really loving za'atar right now! Along with sumac and dukkah, these spices and blends are making my heart happy. You can read more about how to make dukkah over here!
So what is za'atar exactly? It's the name of a spice mixture that is used as a condiment. It contains herbs such as oregano, thyme and/or marjoram, sumac, toasted sesame seeds and salt. It can also contain a few other ingredients depending on the region in the Middle East. You can find the blend at Middle Eastern grocery stores, online, or you can make your own.
You can use it in a variety of ways, on top of hummus, with roasted chickpeas, on meats, on veggies or on salads. It's a spice that holds its own, so you don't typically need to use other spices with it.
You could use another long grain rice in this roasted cauliflower salad if you choose. I love wild rice because it has a unique, kind of nutty flavour and taste. True wild rice is hand harvested from lakes and rivers in Minnesota and here in Canada. Most of the stuff you see in grocery stores is grown under regulated conditions. For that reason, the real deal wild rice is often more expensive. Choose whichever you prefer and have access to.
Also, wild rice isn't rice at all, it's aquatic grass. Is your mind blown yet?
While your rice is cooking on the stovetop, bake the cauliflower. And right before the cauliflower is done cooking, you can go ahead and throw in the sliced halloumi on the same tray. I've tried to simplify this recipe as much as possible. Also, halloumi baked in the oven rather than on a grill tastes just as good. It will only need to cook in the oven for about 10 minutes. Although, even if you over bake it, it still tastes good, just a little extra crispy. If you can't find halloumi, feel free to use some feta instead. It won't be the exact same, but it will still taste delicious. Or if you need it to be dairy free, omit it altogether.
You can also work ahead by preparing the cooked rice ahead of time. And then you'll just need to bake the cauliflower and halloumi before assembling everything. I've also eaten this cold the next day many times and it's just as good, making it a great meal prep option too!
The additional ingredients such as pomegranate and pine nuts add a lot more flavour and crunch to the salad. And the California Prunes add some natural sweetness to round out the dish. A little extra sprinkle of sumac and some parsley make this dish pop with colour.
Let's get to it! I hope you enjoy this roasted cauliflower salad with California Prunes as much as I do!
If you make this recipe, please let me know by tagging me on Instagram, or leave a comment and/or review below!
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A delicious roasted cauliflower salad made with California Prunes, wild rice and halloumi.
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