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May 5, 2013

Recipe for cauliflower salad with white beans, feta and pine nuts {vegetarian, gluten-free}

Enjoy this cauliflower salad with white beans, feta and pine nuts warm or cold.

The Year I Learn to Love Cauliflower continues to challenge me, and nothing scares me more than the prospect of raw cauliflower, undisguised by potatoes or hot sauce. Recently I decided to take the plunge, with this salad that pairs the vegetable of the year with creamy white beans, salty feta and crunchy pine nuts. Not a disguise, exactly. More like a distraction, with so much texture that I really didn't concentrate on the cauliflower. If you're a cauliflower lover, adjust the proportion of ingredients to highlight the vegetable. If you're a cheese-a-holic, add more feta. The lemon vinaigrette wraps everything together. The longer it sits, the more tender the cauliflower becomes, thanks to the mustard in the dressing. My husband Ted approved this salad for you; I can't say I'm in love with raw cauliflower, yet, but I'm working on it.

Cauliflower salad with beans, feta, pine nuts:picnic perfect!

Cauliflower salad with white beans, feta and pine nuts

From the pantry, you'll need: canned cannelini (or small white) beans, feta cheese, pine nuts, lemon, Dijon mustard, olive oil, parsley.

Serves 6.

Ingredients

2 cups roughly chopped cauliflower florets
15-oz can cannellini or small white beans, drained and rinsed
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp Greek seasoning
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup feta, broken into chunks
2 Tbsp roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
3 Tbsp pine nuts

Directions

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cauliflower and white beans.

In a small measuring cup, whisk together the lemon juice, mustard and Greek seasoning. Slowly add the oil, and whisk until the dressing emulsifies. Pour it over the cauliflower and beans, and toss gently to make sure everything is coated. Set aside and allow the cauliflower to marinate for 15 minutes.

Set a small nonstick frying pan on the stove over low heat. Add the pine nuts, and spread them into a single layer. Toast, stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes, until the nuts are lightly browned and fragrant. Remove the pan from the heat.

Add the feta and parsley to the cauliflower mixture, and then stir in the nuts. Taste, and season with black pepper if needed.

Serve at room temperature or cold. Can be made a day ahead.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]


More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Broccoli, basil and pasta salad
Roasted cauliflower and potato soup
Slow cooker aloo gobi
Cannellini vinaigrette
Greek hummus with white beans and feta

Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Pasta with cauliflower, walnuts and feta, from Smitten Kitchen
Edamame and cauliflower pasta salad with feta, from The Kitchn
Chili roasted cauliflower and feta salad, from Bron Marshall
Cauliflower feta fritters, from Anne's Food
Green cauliflower with red onions, feta and pine nuts, from Albion Cooks

Need more ideas for how to create salads with pizzazz? Get Dress Up Your Salad, my e-book packed with easy mix-and-match recipes, full-color photos and a few fun videos. Exciting salad recipes from everyday ingredients can be just one click away, on any computer, tablet or smart phone, with the FREE Kindle Reading app. Click here to learn more.

Comments

Ooh, my brain is whirring here. While she was visiting last month, my mom discovered a lemon feta dip at Dorothy Lane Market, the local grocery store down the street. It's tangy and creamy and salty, and delicious on wheat thins or bread or . . .
Now I'm wondering if it would make a dressing for a vegetable salad such as this.

Thanks for the inspiration, Lydia. I'm glad you are continuing your cauliflower journey.

I do love raw cauliflower, so I'm pretty sure I would love this, especially if the cauliflower marinated in the dressing for a while before I ate it. Funny you're making this right now too, because I just saw a raw cauliflower salad that I put on my "must try" list recently. Such a healthy choice.

Kirsten, that sounds delightful. Share the recipe???

Kalyn, it's hard work, learning to love this vegetable, but at some point I knew I'd have to confront it raw!

yum - I think this might be delicious with walnuts too - or perhaps pistachios?

I think your journey with cauliflower is admirable, and this is a fantastic stop along the way!

I saw this recipe just before I went to the grocery store this morning, so I picked up the ingredients and made it for lunch! Yum. I added a clove of garlic to the dressing and substituted toasted almonds for pine nuts. I am already a HUGE fan of cauliflower, but my husband needs a little persuasion, and this made both of us happy.

Carol, pistachios? Great idea!

TW, every journey, even the cauliflower journey, begins with a single step.

Scarlett, I understand your husband's hesitation. Maybe he'd like to join me in this year of learning to love cauliflower.

A unique but delicious looking salad :D

Cheers
CCU

CCU, I hope you like it.

I have to say I'm not a fan of raw cauliflower - but I might like it in a salad like yours as I do love Greek salads. I give you a lot of credit trying to like cauliflower and trying it in different ways.

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  • My name is Lydia Walshin. From my log house kitchen in rural northwest Rhode Island, I share recipes that use what we keep in our pantries, the usual and not-so-usual ingredients that spice up our lives.

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