Roasted Cauliflower Kale Salad – Bites of Wellness

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Roasted cauliflower kale salad is a hearty, delicious, healthy salad that is perfect any time of the year. This kale cauliflower salad is filling enough to be a meal but can also be served as an appetizer or side salad for any meal. It’s full of texture, crunch and flavor.

Cauliflower kale salad in a large wood salad bowl.
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Why you will love this recipe

  • Easy to make – this recipe has a few steps, but they are all relatively simple steps. The end product is certainly worth the few minutes of prep.
  • Simple ingredients – roasted cauliflower kale salad is made with ingredients that are easy to find at any grocery store, many of which are pantry staples. You likely have everything you need except for the fresh veggies.
  • Great for meal prep – unlike traditional salads, kale can hold up to having dressing on it for days. If you need a hearty, filling salad for your weekly lunches, try out this kale cauliflower salad.
Ingredients for cauliflower and kale salad on a marble countertop.

Ingredients

Roasted cauliflower

  • Cauliflower – you can use fresh cauliflower florets or frozen cauliflower florets.
  • Olive oil – olive oil coats the cauliflower allowing the spices to stick and to help roast the cauliflower.
  • Spices: Salt, garlic powder – These simple spices help to ensure that the cauliflower is well seasoned for the salad.

Roasted beans and bell pepper

  • White beans – use any white beans you have on hand, I usually use cannellini or great northern white beans.
  • Red bell pepper – roasting the bell pepper in the oven will help it taste even sweeter and is the perfect compliment to the kale.
  • Olive oil – olive oil will coat the beans to help allow the spices stick to them and also helps to roast the beans slightly.
  • Spices: Salt, garlic powder – just like for the cauliflower, the salt and garlic powder helps to season the beans to ensure they are flavorful.

Salad

  • Kale – I like to use Tuscan kale (sometimes called dinosaur kale or lacinato kale) for salads, as it has a smoother texture than curly kale, but any kind of kale will work for this salad. If you can find kale already shredded or chopped, be sure to take a few minutes to pick out any thick stems (they are fibrous and tough to chew).
  • Pecans – chopped pecans add a crunch to the salad and I really enjoy the flavor of the pecans with the other ingredients. You could also use slivered almonds, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, cashews or sunflower seeds.

Balsamic dressing

  • Balsamic vinegar – balsamic vinegar is slightly sweet and makes up the main flavor of the dressing, so be sure you like the balsamic vinegar you are using. If you don’t have balsamic you could also use apple cider vinegar.
  • Olive oil – olive oil helps to make the dressing thick and helps to coat the kale, give it more flavor.
  • Dijon mustard – Dijon mustard is the emulsifier, helping the vinegar and oil come together (since they are water and oil which typically do not blend together easily). Dijon mustard also adds a little tangy flavor, which I really love.
  • Spices: Salt, garlic powder, italian seasoning – these simple spices help to create

How to make cauliflower kale salad

Preheat the oven to 425F.

Cut the cauliflower into bite size florets. Even If you buy cauliflower florets from the store, take a minute to cut down any large florets into bite size pieces. Place the cauliflower into a large bowl. Add the olive oil and salt and garlic powder. Stir well.

Pour the cauliflower on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 425F for 30 minutes.

Cauliflower florets on a baking sheet lined with parchement paper.

While the cauliflower is baking, rinse and drain the white beans. And chop the bell pepper. Add the beans and chopped bell pepper to the bowl that you stirred the cauliflower in. Add olive oil, salt and garlic powder. Stir well.

After 30 minutes, take the cauliflower out of the oven and stir well. Add the white beans and red bell pepper to the baking sheet along with the cauliflower and bake for an addition 10-15 minutes.

White beans and red bell pepper added to baking sheet with roasted cauliflower.

While the cauliflower and white beans are roasting, cut the kale and add it to a large bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar to the kale and massage the kale with your hands or tongs.

Chop pecans and add them to the bowl with the kale.

Chopped pecans on a wood cutting board.

Make the balsamic vinaigrette – combine the rest of the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, Dijon mustard and spices to a bowl, Stir well.

Once the cauliflower, red bell pepper and white beans are done cooking, add them to the kale salad along with the dressing. Stir well.  

Top tips

  • Time saving tip: use frozen cauliflower florets or buy cauliflower florets from the grocery store.
  • Take the time to massage the kale. (either with clean hands or tongs). Tossing/massaging the kale with balsamic vinegar helps to break down the kale, making it more tender and helps to soften the “earthy” flavor that is usually associated with kale. I find that adding hot/warm cauliflower and white beans also helps to soften the kale, making it easier to eat.
  • Great for meal prep – you can prep the salad, even pour the dressing over the salad 1-2 days in advance. This is a great salad to prep for lunch the next day (or two).
  • Use an extra large sheet pan to ensure that the cauliflower has a lot of room on the pan for air to circulate around everything. This helps to ensure that the cauliflower will get slightly carnalized and perfectly cooked.
  • For easy clean up, line your baking sheet with parchment paper.

Other ingredients

Forkful of kale cauliflower salad over bowl.

Common questions

What are the best white beans to use

This salad is very versatile, any cooked white beans you have on hand would work well, including:

  • Cannellini beans
  • Great northern white beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Butter beans (fava beans)
  • Navy beans

How to destem kale

Kale has a thick stem that is fibrous and hard to chew. It’s important to destem the kale before chopping for salad. Even if you buy kale that has been chopped or shredded already, go through it and remove any thick pieces of stem that are remaining.

To destem kale, hold it by the stem. With your other hand, wrap your pointer finger around the stem, making a circle over the kale stem. Sometimes its important Holding your hand that way, pull the kale by the stem through your finger. This will rip the leaves off the stem quickly.

Once the kale is destemmed, chop or tear it into small pieces to make it easier to eat as salad.

How to break down a head of cauliflower easily

  • Turn the cauliflower upside down so the stem is facing up. Remove all the green leaves.
  • Use the tip of your knife, trace around the stem of the cauliflower at a 30 degree angle. This will remove all the cauliflower florets from the stem easily.
  • Chop the florets into bite size pieces.
Steps on how to cut a head of cauliflower.

Can you use frozen cauliflower

Yes, you can use frozen cauliflower florets instead of fresh. You will likely need 2 bags to equal a medium head of cauliflower.

Note that it’s important to break down large frozen cauliflower florets into bite size pieces so that they will cook evenly and the salad is easy to eat.

Can you make this salad in advance

Yes! This recipe is great for meal prep or preparing in advance because the kale doesn’t wilt like lettuce. Although the cauliflower will be cold, it’s still very delicious.

Storing leftovers

Fridge: Store leftover kale cauliflower salad in the fridge for up to 3 days in a airtight container.

Wooden spoon resting in bowl of cauliflower kale salad.

Substitutions

  • Cauliflower – use fresh or frozen cauliflower florets for this recipe. Roasted potatoes or roasted sweet potatoes would be a good substitute for cauliflower. You could also use broccoli, however it will cook much quicker (cook for 15 minutes, remove the broccoli from the oven, add white beans and cook 10-15 minutes).
  • White beans – you can use any white beans that you have on hand – great northern white beans, cannellini beans, chickpeas, navy beans, butterbeans. You could replace the white beans with tofu, shredded chicken, shrimp, salmon.
  • Olive oil – replace the olive oil with avocado oil for the salad dressing. You could also replace the olive oil with melted coconut oil, melted butter or melted ghee in place of the olive oil.
  • Spices – if you don’t have italian seasoning, you can make your own. If you don’t have garlic powder, you can also use onion powder or simply omit it.

If you love this recipe, you should try

Kale Brussel Sprouts Salad

Creamy Balsamic Shredded Brussel Sprouts

Balsamic Tahini Dressing

Buffalo Cauliflower Salad with Tahini Ranch Dressing

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  • Preheat the oven to 425F.

  • Chop the cauliflower florets into bite size pieces.

  • Add cauliflower to large bowl. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon garlic powder. Stir well to coat cauliflower.

  • Add cauliflower to parchment paper lined baking sheet. and bake at 425F for 30 minutes.

  • While the cauliflower is baking, rinse and drain the white beans and chop the red bell pepper into bite size pieces.

  • In the same bowl you stirred the cauliflower in, add the white beans and bell pepper along with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder. Stir well.

  • When cauliflower has roasted for 30 minutes, take it out of the oven and and stir well. Add the white beans and bell peppers and bake at 425F for 10-15 minutes.

  • While everything is roasting, destem and chop the kale, adding it to a large bowl.

  • Pour 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar over the chopped kale and massage with your hands or tongs until the kale starts to break down (this can take 2-3 minutes).

  • Make the balsamic dressing by combining the remaining balsamic vinegar (2 tablespoons) with the rest of the dressing ingredients in a bowl. Stir well.

  • Chop the pecans.

  • When the cauliflower, white beans and bell pepper is done (the cauliflower will be golden brown and roasted), take it out of the oven and assemble the salad. Add the cauliflower mixture to the massaged lake along with chopped pecans and balsamic dressing. Toss to coat the veggies with the dressing.

Top tips

  • Time saving tip: use frozen cauliflower florets or buy cauliflower florets from the grocery store.
  • Take the time to massage the kale. (either with clean hands or tongs). Tossing/massaging the kale with balsamic vinegar helps to break down the kale, making it more tender and helps to soften the “earthy” flavor that is usually associated with kale. I find that adding hot/warm cauliflower and white beans also helps to soften the kale, making it easier to eat.
  • Great for meal prep – you can prep the salad, even pour the dressing over the salad 1-2 days in advance. This is a great salad to prep for lunch the next day (or two).
  • Use an extra large sheet pan to ensure that the cauliflower has a lot of room on the pan for air to circulate around everything. This helps to ensure that the cauliflower will get slightly carnalized and perfectly cooked.
  • For easy clean up, line your baking sheet with parchment paper.

Storing leftovers
Fridge: Store leftover kale cauliflower salad in the fridge for up to 3 days in a airtight container.

See how I calculate food cost.

Nutrition Information

Nutrition Facts

Amount per Serving

Where does nutrition info come from? Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy, sourced from the USDA Food Database.

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