Easy Cauliflower Chickpea Salad

This is my new favorite cauliflower salad recipe. Thanks to a light lemony dressing, chickpeas, and lots of fresh herbs, this simple cauliflower salad tastes surprisingly delicious and lasts in the fridge for days.

Herby Cauliflower Salad Recipe Video

I love cauliflower, especially roasted cauliflower or when it is turned into cauliflower soup. But honestly, I’ve never been a fan of raw cauliflower. That changed after ordering a charcuterie plate with a raw, kind-of-pickled cauliflower salad situation. It blew my mind.

So here I am, someone who wasn’t the biggest fan of raw cauliflower, trying to convince you to try this raw cauliflower salad. It’s crunchy, fresh, delicious, and one of my favorite cauliflower recipes. Trust me.

Easy Cauliflower Salad Recipe with Chickpeas and a Lemon Dressing

Key Ingredients

  • Cauliflower: I love raw cauliflower in this salad. I break it down into tiny trees, as Heidi from 101 Cookbooks calls them. By breaking the cauliflower down so small, our salad is much more approachable, and the lemon herb dressing has a chance to get into every nook and cranny. This adds an extra minute or two of prep time, but it is worth it! (Yes, you can swap it for roasted cauliflower if you want to).
  • Chickpeas: I usually use drained canned chickpeas, but you can also cook your own. Here’s our recipe for cooking dried chickpeas.
  • Fresh herbs: This salad is all about fresh flavor, so I add a big handful of chopped fresh herbs. Try parsley, dill, cilantro, or mint.
  • Lemon dressing: I whisk fresh lemon juice with olive oil, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. This dressing is so simple and works wonders with the salad.
  • Pickled onions: These are optional, but woah do they add something special. I make my homemade pickled onions, which take about 1 hour (they are amazing!).
Simple Cauliflower and Chickpea Salad

How to Make Cauliflower Salad

Once you’ve cut your cauliflower into tiny trees, it’s time to season it. Now, you might be used to adding salt and pepper to meats, but what about salads? Trust me, for this cauliflower salad, you’ll want to season the raw cauliflower with a good amount of salt and pepper before adding the dressing. This not only helps to soften the cauliflower a bit, but it also really brings out its natural sweetness.

You can whip up the easy lemon dressing while the cauliflower hangs out with the salt and pepper. It’s similar to the dressing we use for our lemon herb couscous salad. Just whisk together lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, crushed red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt.

How to Make Cauliflower Salad - Mixing the ingredients

Finally, you’ll toss everything together: the seasoned cauliflower, chickpeas, dressing, and fresh herbs. And if you’re using them (which I highly recommend), chop up some pickled onions and throw those in, too.

How to Make Cauliflower and Chickpea Salad

I let my salad sit in the fridge for a while. It honestly gets better with time. You can enjoy it in as little as 30 minutes, but I love it the next day after the acid and salt have had a chance to work their magic on the cauliflower.

Storing Cauliflower Salad

You can store cauliflower chickpea salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. The chickpeas might begin to soften, but they will still be delicious. I do not recommend freezing.

What to Serve with Cauliflower Salad

This cauliflower salad works with so many dishes. I often spoon it over salad greens and call it a day, but it is equally delicious added to rice bowls.

Serve this next to more decadent dishes like baked salmon with capers, juicy pork chops, lemon chicken thighs, and Cajun shrimp. It’s also perfect served with other summery salads, such as watermelon salad, potato salad, creamy pasta salad, and bean salad.

Easy Cauliflower Salad Recipe with Chickpeas

Easy Cauliflower Chickpea Salad

  • PREP
  • TOTAL

Thanks to a light lemony dressing and lots of fresh herbs, this simple raw cauliflower salad recipe tastes surprisingly delicious and lasts in the fridge for days. The pickled onions are an optional ingredient, but they take the salad to the next level. Here’s our recipe for pickled onions, so you can see how simple they are to make.

We break the cauliflower down into tiny florets, but another option is to use a food processor and make a chunky cauliflower rice. Take a look at our cauliflower rice recipe to see how we do it.

Makes about 10 cups

Watch Us Make the Recipe

You Will Need

1 medium head cauliflower, 1 ¾ to 2 pounds (6 to 7 cups small florets)

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (from 1 lemon)

1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice, plus more to taste

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional for some heat

1 (15oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or use 1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas)

1/2 cup fine fresh herbs like parsley, dill, or mint, chopped

1/2 cup pickled red onions, chopped, optional, see our pickled onions recipe

Directions

    1Cut away leaves and the core from the cauliflower. Then, cut or pull the cauliflower apart into little florets and add them to a large bowl. Chop longer stems into small pieces and add them to the bowl with the florets.

    2Season with 1/2 teaspoon of fine sea salt and 1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper, and then toss the cauliflower around the bowl to mix.

    3To make the dressing, whisk the lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt until creamy and emulsified.

    4Add the chickpeas, herbs, pickled onions, and the dressing to the cauliflower. Toss until everything is evenly coated.

    5Taste, and then season with additional salt, pepper, or lemon juice.

    6This cauliflower salad tastes best when given some time to marinate. Let the salad marinate covered in the fridge, stirring occasionally. (I think this tastes better the next day, but you can enjoy after 30 minutes). It will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • Roasted cauliflower salad: Roast the cauliflower tossed with olive oil, salt, and pepper until tender and light brown on the edges. Then, toss with the remaining salad ingredients. Use our roasted cauliflower recipe as a guide.
  • Low carb or keto cauliflower salad: Leave out the chickpeas and substitute with diced ham or turkey.
  • Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates.
Nutrition Per Serving Serving Size 1 cup / Calories 140 / Total Fat 7.2g / Saturated Fat 1g / Cholesterol 0mg / Sodium 237.7mg / Carbohydrate 15.8g / Dietary Fiber 4.9g / Total Sugars 2.7g / Protein 5.3g
AUTHOR:  Adam and Joanne Gallagher
Inspired Taste Newsletter Signup
66 comments… Leave a Review
  • Erin May 8, 2024, 2:07 pm

    I absolutely love this salad ! I used a red onion chopped fine instead of the pickled onions . I used parsley and cilantro for fresh herbs . I also added garlic powder and cumin and the red pepper flakes ! Wowza this salad is soo addicting ! Absolutely great !

    Reply
    • Joanne May 18, 2024, 7:53 pm

      Yum, your version sounds wonderful. Thanks for sharing, Erin.

      Reply
  • Kim T March 3, 2024, 1:51 pm

    I made this salad last night, and it was very good, but today it is fabulous! The flavours have melded and the lemon tartness has mellowed. It’s light, but satisfying. For herbs, I used dill and cilantro. I didn’t pickle the red onion, but added some very thin slices.

    Reply
    • Joanne May 18, 2024, 7:52 pm

      Yes! This salad is so much better on day 2. Glad you enjoyed it, Kim!

      Reply
  • Meghna February 22, 2024, 10:39 am

    I love salads and this was one of the best recipes! Quick and easy and so yummy! I recommend it to everyone I know looking for salad/new recipes!

    Reply
    • Joanne May 18, 2024, 7:52 pm

      Wow, that’s amazing! Thank you so much for coming back.

      Reply
  • Kristy September 4, 2023, 2:23 pm

    This is amazing!! Loved this so much. It will most definitely be one of my regular salads I make.

    Reply
    • Joanne May 18, 2024, 7:52 pm

      Yay! Just what I love to hear!

      Reply
  • Mary Kay Holland August 7, 2023, 1:44 am

    This is FANTASTIC, I loved it! Stood in the kitchen eating it right out of the mixing bowl! Thank you for posting it.

    Reply
    • Joanne May 18, 2024, 7:52 pm

      Haha, the sign of a great salad. So happy you found us, Mary. Thanks for coming back.

      Reply
  • Janet July 28, 2023, 11:28 am

    Love your recipes! I made the salad for company tomorrow night and found the lemon was a bit. overpowering. Is there a way I can tame down the lemon a bit?

    Reply
    • Joanne August 8, 2023, 4:06 pm

      Hi Janet, try reducing the lemon a little. It is possible your lemon was on the sour side (some are stronger than others).

      Reply
      • Kristin August 14, 2023, 6:41 am

        Loved this recipe! Especially the dressing! I added a tablespoon of wild honey to the lemon and whisked in til creamy. Sweet finish to the lemon! Yum….

        Reply
        • Joanne May 18, 2024, 7:50 pm

          Oh I love you addition of the honey! Thanks for sharing.

          Reply
  • Anna July 15, 2023, 9:35 am

    I love this recipe! It’s perfect for summer meals when it’s too hot to cook. I don’t love cooked cauliflower because of the smell, but I didn’t imagine raw would be tasty – this proved me wrong. Thank you!

    Reply
  • Trish July 14, 2023, 7:47 pm

    I just made this for my husband, he loved it. Thanks When the hubby is happy then you’re

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Leave a Review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe!

 

All comments are moderated before appearing on the site. Thank you so much for waiting. First time commenting? Please review our comment guidelines. You must be at least 16 years old to post a comment. All comments are governed by our Privacy Policy & Terms.

Previous Post: Next Post: