cauliflower slaw

Given my druthers, a word I’ve been looking for an excuse to type in a sentence for at least eight years, I would never choose a salad with lettuce in it over one that’s mostly shaved or shredded raw vegetables. I mean, lettuce — the dewy, freshly-plucked-from-the-earth stuff that spends a couple months a year gracing local farmer’s markets — can be absolutely delicious, but nine times out of ten, the same word is used to refer to that packaged stuff that doesn’t taste like a whole lot. And can we talk for just a second about that prematurely rotten red leaf that no bag of mesclun is ever without? Clearly I have spent an unnatural amount of time thinking about this. But in a world filled with avocado cup salads, broccoli slaw, butternut squash, carrot salads with harissa, feta and mint or tahini and crisped chickpeas, chopped salads with lime, sunflower seeds and radishes, crushed peas with sesame dressing and fennel with blood oranges* I’ve found little reason to worship solely at the salad altar of baby field greens.

what you'll neeed
thinly sliced raw cauliflower

Ever since I made one of my favorite salads to date, the broccoli slaw, I have wanted to make a cauliflower slaw companion for it, and I know this because I have listed it no less than five times on my sprawling To Cook list. I knew that I wanted it to be “mayo-free,” with a “sharp lemony dressing.” I knew that I wanted it to have “tiny dried currants” in it, and that maybe I’d soak/plump them in the dressing for a while so they added more than just sweetness. I knew that, like the broccoli slaw, it should have well-toasted almonds in it, and that I didn’t mind if it had capers in it, especially if they were crispy. But I couldn’t figure out the structure — I was convinced that cauliflower, shaved thinly, would be nothing but a pile of rubble, but not in a charming way. And then a couple months ago a cauliflower salad appeared on the menu of my favorite restaurant, Barbuto in the West Village (which also brought us this kale salad), and to my delight, it turned out to have many elements of the cauliflower slaw I’d been dreaming about — theirs with raisins, hazelnuts and a unholy helping of olive oil — and the cauliflower had been shaved thin on an adjustable-blade slicer and it was perfect. Sure, there was some rubble but there was an equal amount of nicely intact slices and all I wanted to go home and make it the very next second.

cooling the almonds outside

plumping dried currants in vinegar and lemon
hissing fried capers
draining fried capers in waning light

And then I moved. And then I went on vacation. And then my son started kindergarten. And then we had two birthday parties for him in one weekend. And, if you’re one of those people that can still get creative, wholesome meals on the table even when life is very, very busy, I envy you. I want you to teach me your ways. But for me, this meant, as usual, that there was a significant lag between idea and action and that I’m kicking myself for taking so long to get this in my belly. This salad is bright, crisp, a little sharp, sometimes punchy-sweet and never, ever soft, leafy or boring. It’s perfect work lunch fodder and please, don’t make the mistake I did and only make one batch of it. It won’t last. Make two. Plan ahead. Share some with me, maybe? I’m fresh out already.

cauliflower slaw components
cauliflower slaw

* and that’s just from the A-F in the salad archives. If you’re looking for more inspiration, there are 100 more salad recipes in the archives (here you go) so I guess Homer Simpson was wrong when he said “You don’t win friends with salad!”

Events: My Events page is woefully out of date (soon to be remedied) but there are events coming up that might be fun to stop by if you’re around and want to say hi.

  • This Sunday, 9/21 I will be in Toronto for the day, demo-ing three recipes from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook at the Word on the Street Festival. I’ll in an Onstage Conversation with CBC host Gill Deacon at 3:30 p.m., but the event goes from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The event is free. It’s in Queens Park Circle; much more information on their website.
  • Saturday, 10/18 I will be participating in the Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival on a panel about blogging and social media with Faith Durand (The Kitchn) and Joy Wilson (Joy the Baker) at 5:15 p.m. in The Grand Tasting Room. This is a ticketed event. More details over here.
  • Wednesday, 10/22 At 7 p.m., Melissa Clark (New York Times) and I will be talking to Leonard Lopate (WNYC) about how to write a cookbook as part of his Locavores series. It will be at The Greene Space, 44 Charlton Street, and it’s a ticketed event. More details over here.

One year ago: Fudgy Chocolate Sheet Cake
Two years ago: Crackly Banana Bread
Three years ago: Apple and Honey Challah
Four years ago: Skirt Steak Salad with Arugula and Blue Cheese
Five years ago: Chocolate Pudding Pie and Roasted Tomatoes and Cipolline
Six years ago: The Baked Brownie, Spiced Up and Braised Romano Beans
Seven years ago: Tortilla de Patatas

Cauliflower Slaw

Crispy fried capers are one of my favorite garnishes, ever. They are way more interesting than bacon bits — yes, I said it. When you drop capers (that you’ve patted out on paper towels as best as possible) in a little puddle of oil, magical things happen — their layers curl out and crisp, like the world’s tiniest blooming onion. Like all fried, crunchy things, they don’t keep long under the weight of dressing; I recommend adding them only right before serving. I usually use brined capers for this, but both brined and salt-packed will work.

Although I love and prefer this salad exactly the way it is, I don’t think it would be bad with substitutions, whether you make them due to personal preferences or just what you have around. Raisins or another dried fruit would probably work for the currants; other briny things like chopped green olives or even cornichon could probably work instead of capers (don’t bother frying them), almonds could be swapped with any nut that you prefer, just toast them well, etc.

Makes about 3 cups which, for us, is never enough. 3 cups will be 2 large portions or 4 petite ones.

1/2 cup thinly sliced almonds
Juice of half a lemon (about 1 tablespoon), plus more to taste
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt or table salt, then more to taste
3 tablespoons (30 grams) dried currants
5 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for frying
2 tablespoons (about 25 grams) brined or salt-packed capers
oil for frying
1 small, compact-looking head of cauliflower (about 1 1/4 pounds)
Freshly ground black pepper
3 scallions, thinly sliced (use green and white parts)
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley (optional, mostly for color)

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread almonds on a tray and toast them until they’re a deep golden color, tossing them once or twice to ensure even cooking. This will take 10 to 14 minutes. Set aside to cool.**

Meanwhile, place lemon juice, vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Add currants; set aside and let them soak while you prepare the other ingredients.

If using brined capers, drain and spread them on paper towels until most of their moisture has wicked out, about 5 minutes. If using salt-packed capers, soak them in water for 10 minutes to remove the saltiness, then drain, rinse and pat dry on paper towels. Pour a 1/2-inch of olive oil or another oil that you prefer to fry in in a small skillet or saucepan. Heat it over medium-high. When hot enough that a droplet of water added to the oil hisses, carefully add the capers and step back — they’re going to sputter a bit for the first 10 seconds. Once it’s safe to get closer, give them a stir. Depending on how dry they were, it can take 1 to 2 minutes for them to get lightly golden at the edges and then crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon. Drain on paper towels.

Trim cauliflower leaves and cut head into quarters. Using an adjustable-blade slicer (this is mine; it takes up very little room) to cut cauliflower, stem and florets, into 1/4-inch slices. Add to a large bowl.

Scoop currants from vinegar mixture with a slotted spoon and add to bowl with cauliflower, along with almonds, capers, scallions and parsley. Slowly whisk 5 tablespoons olive oil into remaining vinegar mixture in a thin stream. Add several turns of freshly ground black pepper. Pour over cauliflower and other ingredients and turn gently to coat all pieces. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more lemon juice, salt or pepper to taste. Dig in!

** P.S. I really tried to avoid this pesky oven step by toasting mine in a skillet, the one I’d use to fry the capers in a few minutes. Twice, I failed because the little bits got black and smoky before the larger ones toasted, no matter how much I kept them moving. I’m pretty sure I could do better in the future, but I was running out of almonds. If you trust your pan-toasting skills, feel free to cook the almonds there instead.

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177 comments on cauliflower slaw

  1. Oooh that looks insanely delicious! Broccoli slaw, cauliflower slaw, it’s all good. Drooling over those pics. And I love the word druthers. Had to look it up, here’s the definition for the rest of y’all:
    plural noun: druthers
    a person’s preference in a matter.
    ‘if I had my druthers, I would prefer to be a writer'”

  2. Jennifer

    Yum! I can’t wait to make this for my boyfriend, cauliflower aficionado! I’m going to chance the pan toasting method, since we have no oven at the moment. I find that a non-stick pan on low heat works well. Thanks, Smitten!

  3. Betty

    Great news that you are coming to Word on the Street! I was already planning to go and this is the icing on the cake. Also this salad sounds great and Ontario cauliflower is very fine right now, so I’ll be making it soon.

  4. This reminds me of your fried cauliflower with the almonds you made when Jacob was a wee thing. It was everything cauliflower is supposed to be, so no complaints here.

    Last year I started seeing magazine articles proclaiming that cauliflower was the new kale. My husband said that food is just like any other product out there: The farmer cabal planted too much of it, so they decided en masse to push the product towards the consumer. I think he might be on to something. Most recently I’ve seen pickled cauliflower and stuffed into jars in small plates menus. Sometimes it’s grilled, and tossed with harissa.

    1. Vanessa

      I’m getting to this recipe 8 years late but had to say LOL to “farmer cabal”. I like the idea of sinister plans to get us to eat more things like cruciferous vegetables or ugly apples.
      I’m going to be laughing about that all day and daydreaming.

  5. Deanna

    I’m going to have to hope I can toast nuts on the stove without burning them, because there is no way I’m turning on the oven (it’s been 100+ for the last week). It’s hard enough to convince myself to turn on the stove.

    1. Karin Busch

      Is the oil you used to fry the capers the same oil you use in the dressing? (And, “druthers”, great word, comes as a result of stating what “I’d ruther[rather] do”. )

  6. Rosemarie

    Omg PREACH about salads not composed of lettuce! I work at an organic LETTUCE COMPANY and love, love, love greens… just not in salads (pasta! soup! rice!). I am always looking for that errant red leaf… yuck ;-)

  7. Jessica

    Yum….this looks fabulous. I’m also curious how long it would keep ( I know you mentioned to add the capers at the last moment) Looking forward to making this soon!!

    1. deb

      Jessica — I expect it to keep well, again, just adding the capers at the last minute. I suppose you could skip the frying of them and mix them in sooner, but they are lovely fried.

      Jane — I’ve barely been using it! But I’m just getting started. There’s still too much kitchen counter clutter — I’m not done figuring out where everything will go. Photos will come. (FWIW, it took me about 3.5 years to get decent photos of my last kitchen. I’ll try to do better this time!)

  8. V

    What a great idea for a slaw. I love that you can turn any vegetable into a base for a great slaw, well, most vegetables! I’ll definitely try this out…sounds delicious!

  9. prinsas

    this one’s going into the rotation! while i adore a perfectly simple green salad (baby, with herbs and parsley, light-lightly dressed), i love sturdy salads with broccoli, bok choy, and/or cauliflower as the base! setting this one alongside some simply butter-basted broiled salmon with fresh dill for dinner later this week. thanks for the inspiration, SK!

  10. I love anything with cauliflower. It’s such an easy vegetable to work with and I’m really excited to see it gaining a bit of popularity in the food world!Toasted almonds and currants sound like just the right amount of sweetness too!

  11. Mermit

    If you have a toaster oven (and I know most people don’t) it’s a brilliant way to toast nuts. I put the nuts on the tray that came with the toaster, and then set it to “light” toast. They do tend to toast more on the top, but the “toast” function means that the heat turns off, so they’re less likely to burn if you forget them.

  12. Emma

    This looks delicious, though I think I’ll make a warm “salad” by roasting the cauliflower first. And fried capers are such a good idea!

  13. par_parenthese

    Laziness combined with not wanting to eat raw walnuts one morning at work meant I discovered how handy the microwave is for toasting nuts. 10-15 seconds at a time, stir/toss between each burst, do not even think about turning your back. Perfectly toasted nuts in about a minute. (Of course now that I am microwave-less…)

  14. Sarah U

    You are a MAGICIAN. No? Well, then how did you know that at 8am this very morning I stood in the veg aisle, marveling at the beauty of the orange and purple cauliflower, desperately wanting to bring one -or both- home? I walked away empty handed bc I didn’t have any idea of what to do with them. Until now. I’m not even scared.

  15. Kathrynn

    I have got to try this! You always come up with the best ideas! Though I’m waiting for this heat wave to pass before turning on my oven.

  16. Sarah

    You are so thoughtful to give those of us who bought capers for the first time last week for a certain tomato tart a new recipe to continue to use them up! Although I’m thinking another tomato tart while I can still get tomatoes wouldn’t be such a bad way to decrease my caper supply, either ;-)

  17. JP

    Really looks good and I am always looking for ways to eat a cauliflower which is a rather large vegetable for two and can be bland if not treated correctly. But this: capers! lemon juice! almonds! wine vinegar! Sounds as if the flavor is really pumped up. Thanks! May try have to try dried cranberries because never have had currants on hand. Still, I bet it will be great!

  18. This looks absolutely delicious, and I have everything on-hand to make it except the capers! But more importantly: KINDERGARTEN? Isn’t he still a toddler? What year is this? HOW LONG WAS I ASLEEP?!

  19. Ok, I hate cauliflower, yet this recipe makes me think maybe I should reconsider! Seriously as a kid we could name two veggies we didn’t like. My mom gave us a pass on those two only, all others had to be eaten, no whinning, etc.. Mine were Liam beans & cauliflower. I am going to give it a second chance. Thanks Deb!

  20. NYCJenniferC

    I don’t know why, but even the sight of capers anywhere near anything I am eating scares me. Maybe because I do not understand what the heck they are. But now you have me intrigued. I’m a recovering vegetarian, though I still won’t eat pork because I feel sorry for the piggies, so I’m very excited to try these “interesting” little guys. Thanks for always introducing me to great things! xx

  21. I’m totally with you – anytime I can eat my vegetables in the form of crunchy fun-textured slaw or salad without lettuce, I’m a happy girl. I never thought about cauliflower slaw, it sounds great! And the fried capers must be so good, did you come up with that?

  22. Bec

    Delicious?! I am loving cauli at the moment. may I ask.. what are you doing in the cast iron pan? With all the little bubbles.. I couldn’t figure it out for the life of me. Looks delicious and I am all for capers. Bec x

  23. TDH

    Delicious! Definitely a case of the sum being greater than the total of its parts! I made this for a friend, but only ended up taking half ;-) Thank you for sharing your recipes-you have a wonderful way of finessing ingredients so that they marry with the rest of the goodies and result in all kinds of deliciousness. Many blessings in your new home and in the new school adventure!

  24. Oh my you make everything look so good. This cauliflower slaw is no exception. I admit, I had a tough time making my sons eat this vegetable when they were little. Nowadays, though, it’s easier to do when they’re grown up. But this slaw is one they will absolutely love. Bookmarked this to make for the family. Thanks for sharing, Deb!

  25. Karen

    Sounds wonderful. Just wondered if there was a preferred direction for slicing the cauliflower that would result in maximum nice slices and minimal rubble. I imagine it would matter.

    And another big plus for chopped salads (for me anyway): I eat them with a soup spoon. No unruly leaves and stems hitting me in the face or falling off of my fork.

  26. Annie

    Totally agree on the bagged lettuce, with one exception. Bagged Romaine hearts are beautiful and keep in their zip-lock bags for a full week. With none of those pesky red leaves. Great looking slaw!

  27. Valerie Crook

    Made the Cauliflower Slaw tonight. A fantastic salad – tasty, healthy & leftovers will not go soggy. Perfect accompaniment to the Lentil Chickpea Cheddar & Onion Burgers we had for dinner. Loved the new way of using capers! Thankyou.

  28. I’m always looking for salad inspiration in the form of chopped salads or slaw-esque versions. This one looks like a winner! Love the fried capers. BTW – are you going to be in Miami for the South Beach Wine and Food Festival in February? If so, I’m buying tix!

    1. deb

      Lisa — Thank you. No plans to, but oh, if I could only find an excuse to be in Miami in February… :) I’ll let you know if plans change.

      Lila — I’d expect this to keep well for a few days in the fridge except the fried capers. They will not stay crisp (although, soft, they won’t taste bad or anything). If you’d like to plan ahead, you can fry them and keep them separately, only adding as garnish, or you can just use fresh capers.

      A Knesal — I buy them! Here’s what they usually look like from the store. If you can’t find them, you can just toast your almonds well and then chop them to your desired side.

      Bridget — Funny, that reminds me of the cauliflower pesto that was in my cookbook, with raw cauliflower rubble, almonds, sundried tomatoes, pecorino, capers and garlic. (You can see that I have an ongoing love affair with the capers-almond-cauliflower combo!)

      Bec — Frying the capers.

      Kathy S. — And today he turns 5! I cannot handle it either.

      Rachel — I dwell on it here, or I try to, but definitely never enough. I completely agree that this is what’s missing from so much of the “homemade dinner every night is the most important thing in the world” genre of articles and studies (that we talked a little about in a comment section last week). Putting that kind of pressure on home cooking makes the exhausting even more exhausting… and the exhausted more exhausted. I have no shame whatsoever in what we eat on the nights I’m too tired to cook, which are definitely 2 to 3 times a week. Usually sushi, or we sometimes order from Otto because they’ve got a nice selection of salad and mini-vegetable dishes, plus their pasta portions aren’t too. Or we go out to neighborhood places that have good balance of kid food (steamed broccoli on the side, etc.) and adult food (mm, kale salad) etc. We also do mixed meals; some homemade vegetables or salad plus good sausages from a local butcher.

  29. augusta

    If you want to keep the lettuce fresh, put a stainless steel spoon in the packet. I don’t know why it works, but it prevents the red lettuce from getting slimy right away.

  30. Jasmine

    Looks great!
    Maybe you could try frying the almonds instead of toasting them? If fried in a very shallow hot oil, they brown evenly and become extra-crunchy. Just be carefull since they brown quickly, and drain excess oil on a paper towl.

  31. BRedhook

    The comment about the “red lettuce leaves” hit home with me. I HATE those and they are, indeed, everywhere. Having more time than tolerance, I keep an extra plastic salad box on hand and open the new box, remove the red leaves (yes, it’s tedious) and use those FIRST. That way you enjoy more of the purchase and don’t spend a lot of time being aggravated with yet another food prep nightmare. Of course you can mix in some of the other lettuces or some arugula in the first salads, but you can also toss JUST the red leaves when they get prematurely yukky.

  32. Adriana

    I have tried so many of your recipes, always with great results, everything. I will definitely be trying this one, I have lost count how many times I have done the broccoli slaw, I have tried it with friends and family who are not veggie fans and it unbelievably dissapeared from the plates. I even got later calls asking for the recipe. Thanks for sharing these creative ways to enjoy delicious food : )

  33. Rachel

    See this sentence, “And, if you’re one of those people that can still get creative, wholesome meals on the table even when life is very, very busy, I envy you”…? I implore you to dwell a bit here. This is our reality, all of us. And we need your unvarnished truth. Yes I relish all the times that I get to be wholesome and creative. You provide plenty of that and then some. But, what do you put on the table on the other nights? I dare you to tell it. I dare you to put together a week menu for us. Readers will chime in and we will be showered with riches and new ideas. We will return to our task of feeding our families refreshed and raring to go. Please.

  34. Diana

    I’m thinking the addition of chic peas could make this a great vegan main dish. Can’t wait to try it. And as a long-time lover of cauliflower (feeling alone in the wilderness) I’m delighted to see it get it’s 15 minutes in the spotlight.

  35. Ella

    Oh my gosh, this looks and sounds like such a good idea. I actually cannot wait for cauliflower to be in season again! And cooking the capers… you’re a very smart lady, Deb.

  36. stephanie

    i *love* your salad recipes! the mediterranean pepper salad is still something i make all the time (and taught me the vital skill of pickling red onions). i cracked up reading about the soggy red leaf in the mesclun mix…ugh, it’s so true. i keep hearts of romaine in the fridge in case i get lazy and need to have ceasar salad as a veg side for dinner, but yeah, otherwise lettuce is…eh. although in full disclosure, i am also still somewhat traumatized after living with a person who would routinely buy three or four of the same thing, not realizing they already had plenty, and then leaving the older ones to rot – boxes and bags of greens the biggest offender. oh, the slimy liquefied brown bags of mesclun i have tossed. bad chills! back to delicious crunchy veg salads!

  37. Madison

    Hooray for Toronto! I will be there with bells on, lugging my also well-used cookbook with me.

    And an amen for leaf filled salads. I usually make up a cucumber/tomato/red onion/ feta/lemony-vinagrette (a chunkier Greek-style salad without the leaves and olives) in the summer and a roasted brussel sprout/quinoa/cranberry/almond salad in the winter.

  38. Kaye L

    You’ve done it again with this fantastic salad. I send everyone I know to your site when they comment on something I’ve made from it. Thanks for all the great recipes. I’m currently making your zucchini bread 2-3 times per week (and taking most of it to work!)

  39. Maya

    It sounds like this would also be awesome with pine nuts instead of almonds and some za’atar sprinkled on the hot fried capers for a Middle Eastern twist. Thanks, Deb!

  40. Leah

    On a quasi-related note – Deb and anyone else: Have you ever gotten a scallion with a clear slime (I know, gross) inside the stalk? When making the cheddar-and-scallion strata a few weeks back, I noticed a strange substance oozing from the green ends as I chopped. Odorless and tasteless, it looked a little like the inside of an aloe plant. A search of the Internet didn’t help to identify it, so I just rinsed the scallions very well and hoped for the best, but I’d love input if anyone, especially some home growers, can tell me what it is.

    Oh, and this salad pretty much had be at “crispy capers,” which I will now be sprinkling on everything. Potentially even ice cream (hey, with the olive oil gelato at Otto, it could be amazing).

  41. Linda Lawson

    Made this last night, as soon as I saw it on the page. Absolutely wonderful. Will now be adding fried capers to absolutely everything.

  42. Kate

    Made a simplified version of this for lunch today while holding a fussy 6 month old so opted against using a mandolin or frying the capers. Subbed pine nuts for almonds and toasted them in the pan. Kept the vinegar/lemon juice currant soaking mixture and just poured that into the salad with a couple gluts of olive oil. And this was delicious! I’m sure it’d be even better with fried capers, which are a treat on their own.

  43. Maggie

    Just made this and it’s setting up on the kitchen counter. My cauliflower slicing needs major help. And I used a slicer like yours in the pic. But first taste test says this is a winner. Thank you.

  44. Bart

    In a new relationship with cauliflower, the honeymoon period, this had to be dinner.
    Working with what was around-
    subbed pistachios for almonds
    subbed dried cherries, raisins and a little birdseye chili for currants

    Fried Capers are an outrage
    I thought there would be left overs….

    Thank you

  45. Millette

    Dear GOD,

    A thank you request to Deb for another slaw delight.
    Broccoli slaw was SPOT ON and so addictive, can’t wait to start the new Cauliflower creation…..

  46. Marta

    Can you do a post on the Benriner mandoline?
    I bought one last Xmas and had a hard time getting used to it. Especially the hand guard, which I find very awkward. The mandoline is so handy for salads like this one and lots of “non lettuce” salads, it would be great to get your tips.

  47. Gladys

    Awwww…you said “druthers”…that was one of my dear departed mother’s favorite words…that said, I really want to try this slaw…sounds deepish and I know there will be other things to do with crispy capers…I grow my own greens in a horse trough out back so I do love them, but you are dead on about the bagged red leaf lettuce ALWAYS being icky…thanks for your amazing recipes and commentary.

  48. This looks wonderful! It has all of my favorite things.

    I want to say one thing in defense of lettuce: the crispy veins on the middle of stalks of romaine are perfect for snacking. I mean, they’re mostly water, but they’re very delicious water. Other than that, cauliflower over lettuce anytime.

  49. Kate

    Hi Leah!
    I’m not much help on the subject, but I get that all the time! I try to squash it out of the greens as gently as I can and then rinse. I always eat it still and I’ve never gotten sick so I’m assuming it’s fine :)

    1. deb

      Leah, Kate — I’ve totally seen it too. They’re usually just older. Like Kate, I’ll give it a rinse (if it’s all I’ve got left), or I’ll toss it and use one without the slime if I’ve got many left. I usually replace mine soon after that.

      Marta — I’m not sure if I have a whole post worth of tips but here’s my big one: the last inch of whatever your slicing isn’t worth it. It’s just not. I actually never use the hand guard. I find it clumsy/cumbersome. So, I slice my stuff down to the last 1/2 to 1 inch and then I hand chop the rest. It’s the only way to 100% guarantee intact fingertips and fingernails, if you have long pretty ones. Or, as a few commenters have mentioned to me in the past, you can get gloves like this!

  50. meredith

    made a variation of this last night- so yummy!!

    steamed the cauliflower a bit since the head i bought wasn’t very fresh and subbed raisins for currants. still delicious!

  51. Ada

    Actually, I’ve found I can win quite a few people over with salad as long as it doesn’t contain baby greens or lettuce – and the credit goes to you since your salads are usually an inspiration. Have you ever considered doing a salads cookbook?

    1. deb

      Word on the Street on Sunday, Toronto — Both a demo and a signing. Yay. Hope to see you there. :) (Going to try to dig out my boots and warmer coats now!)

      Ada — Heh, thanks. :) I think it would be fun. But I also get bored focusing on one thing for too long, which is why I like writing cookbooks with 15 salad recipes, then 15 breakfast, 15 dinner, etc. Maybe an article on my 5 favorite greens-free salads? If only there were publications still paying writers living wages, sigh…

      emily — I just scrolled through that whole post and all of my comments and I promised the recipe, didn’t I, and never gave it? And now… I mean, I think I remember it but I’d need to get back in the kitchen to make sure I remember it correctly. For research. Gosh, this job is the worst. ;)

  52. NicoleP

    Made it as soon as I could, since I’m on the lookout for new lunch ideas because I try to eat less bread and more veggies. Loved it! Swapped the capers for a thinly sliced gherkin. Worked a treat! Thank you!

  53. Gerley

    I made it and it was great (eventhough I had really salty capers, wasn’t aware and didn’t soak them…now my mouth is tingly)- what a satisfying and healthy dinner!

  54. witloof

    I made this for dinner this evening with dried cherries and pecans, which is what I had, and muscat vinegar. It was surprisingly delicious, and the fried capers were a big hit.

  55. Leslie

    Um, not to offend the cauliflower salad, but where’s the post on your adorable son’s birthday and the amazing-looking rocket cake you made?! I look forward to his cake recipes every year :)!!! I do hope you intend on posting it soon!

    1. deb

      Leslie — Thank you! I’d planned to put it on the site but… it’s not actually enormously (though a bit) different from last year’s and, I can’t believe I’m saying this, I want to play around with the proportions and ingredients a little more and differentiate it a bit. I’m happy to answer any questions about it, though. I hate to be a tease.

  56. Margie

    This was wonderful! I added some crumbled blue cheese to it, which was delicious…also didn’t have currents, so used a combination of dried cranberries and cherries…yummmmm. Thanks!!

  57. Eden

    I made this over the weekend, and it was a big hit… even for my brother in law who claims to hate cauliflower. I appreciated the almond toasting tip… I too have failed with stovetop toasting. Conveniently, the oven was already hot with a big beef roast. (How’s that for a fall menu)

  58. Trent

    Fantastic slaw! Took 15 min and most of the time was toasting the almonds. Slicing the cauliflower was a breeze using a food processor with an adjustable slicing blade. This is a keeper, thanks.

  59. Teyani

    Made this tonight. <3. Love it
    Couldn't find dried currants, so picked up some seedless raisins, and tossed them in the oil with the capers. It worked great.
    LOVE the roasted almond taste with the crispy capers.

  60. Nikki

    Great recipe – a funny story for you all. a friend had new neighbours to dinner. He made them Thai Beef and Spring Onion Stir-fry. They had a few drinks but then at dinner he thought the onions were a bit hard. After dinner in the kitchen he realised that the “tough” spring onions were actually the stems his wife had cut from the chrysanthemums the guests had brought for them as a gift. No one said a word! Ha !

  61. Amy P.

    Made this for lunch today. Sliced the cauliflower with a knife, added a dab of Dijon mustard to the dressing, used toasted pistachios instead of almonds and reduced the olive oil by 2 TBS. It was still fantastic. The fried capers were a REVELATION. I considered omitting them but they really make the slaw. Love the way they turn into crunchy little flowers. Thanks for a salad that will keep me going through the long tomato-less months ahead.

  62. Joanne Richards

    I made these and realised I used baby caper-not big enough but delicious just the same (for baby capers I’d use 3 or 4 times the amount-taste testing before adding :). I made the mistake of adding some leftover dill (as per the kale salad) and eh, the cauliflower flavour is not robust enough to handle dill! So my bad. The rest is delicious though-I’d definitely add some red chilli next time as per another commenter!

  63. Cathy

    Was trying to think of something different to make for dinner and voila! You are an inspiration.. We eat a lot of cauliflower since we eat Paleo about 95% of the time (must have pizza & pasta sometimes!). This looks great. I even have everything in the pantry. Thanks!!

  64. Liz

    I’ve been living on non-lettuce shredded vegetable salads this summer (the carrot and chickpea has been a staple the last couple months), and am giving this a go this weekend. Thanks! BTW, is there any chance you were on a slightly-delayed sort of rainy Air Canada flight out of Toronto last Sunday evening? Someone I identified to my husband as “that’s maybe Smitten Kitchen” sat behind us — anyway, we were on our way home to NYC from a family wedding in Alberta, where we contributed dozens of salted browned butter Rice Krispie squares to the rehearsal BBQ. They were super well received.

  65. Mary

    I made this over the weekend but roasted the cauliflower and added some roasted carrots as well (kind of a combo of this recipe + an old cauliflower recipe of yours from 2009!). It was fantastic! The perfect blend of autumn-is-coming but not-quite-done-with-summer.

  66. Oh my goodness gracious, this looks so good. My family has made this broccoli “sunshine” salad for years with either a mayonnaise-based dressing or sweet vinegar dressing, and it’s magical. But this looks really, really good. I love the idea of adding fried capers. And the lemony dressing. I’ll be having sweet dreams tonight. Thank you!

  67. Mia

    Deb, I am a proud owner of your cookbook and had a question about one of the recipes. I’m making Pork Chops with cider, horseradish and dill for dinner and was wondering what I should serve with it. Any suggestions?

  68. this looks phenomenal! i’ve made your broccoli slaw before and loved it (as did the bf, who is not so enamored of slaw-y things what is wrong with him srsly) and i am obsessed with cauliflower everything (including your caramelized onion and cauliflower tart omg that is so good). i can’t wait to try this!

  69. Pacha

    Thank you for this recipe : we’ve just eaten it and really enjoyed it!
    The crispy fried capers is definitely a great idea : it tastes like fried bacon.
    I keep this in mind for other recipes. (=^.^=)

  70. Amanda

    Long time SK reader & recipe lover, first time commenter. I love cauliflower and am always looking for the *perfect* recipe. I am pleased to say that I will look no longer! I’m not at all embarrassed to admit that I made it as a side dish and ate the entire bowl in one sitting! The crunchy cauliflower and almonds, the sweet yet tart raisins (I didn’t have currants), the bite of the dressing, and the capers! Oh the capers! This recipe is beautiful in the bowl (I can’t wait for colorful cauliflower to arrive at the farmers market) and heaven on the tongue. This entire salad is pure brilliance, thank you Deb!

  71. I am now experiencing salad envy. My dogs (the other eight legs in the kitchen) love cauliflower so what a perfect thing to make for dinner tonight. Whilst (always wanted to say that, even though I’m not British) I am dousing ours with vinaigrette, I will feed them raw cauliflower, perfectly and evenly sliced (because they will appreciate the slim texture). Looking forward to dinner, thanks.

  72. Sandy

    I made this last night this and it was delicious. I substituted dried Morency cherries from Trader Joe’s for the currants. I would recommend adding the fried capers just before serving as they lose their ‘crisp’ somewhat quickly when they are combined with the other ingredients. Thank you for posting this excellent recipe.

  73. Steve

    I made it last night true to the recipe except for golden raisins instead of currants to test for Thanksgiving and it was great. I just had it again with dinner tonight with no degradation in enjoyment. While the flavors melded together and the capers and steeped raisins did not stand out as much, it remained as refreshing and delicious as when it was first made.

  74. Terry

    I made this for Thanksgiving (I am a vegetarian) and it was a huge hit. I could not find currants so I used dried cranberries but otherwise I followed the recipe exactly. I’ve made several of your dishes but this is one of my favorites to date. Thank you!

  75. saskia

    Absolutely delicious. The sweet almonds, together with the sweet and sour currants, the crunchy cauliflower. Thank you for this recipe!!

  76. Bacchis

    Hi Deb, thank you so much for this recipe, I tried it and it’s been a big success, even people who don’t like cauliflower just loved it !
    I just had a problem with the capers which I coulnd’t make crispy : how much time do you usually cook it and does it have to be crispy ? Maybe I didn’t use enough oïl… Thank you for advicing me

  77. Cat

    Made this for company last night and it was a huge hit–truly a salad that is greater than the sum of its parts. I ate the leftovers for lunch and they were still delicious. This is going into our regular cauliflower-rotation, since I love the stuff and this is one of the few recipes my cauliflower-averse partner has also enjoyed.

  78. ballardelle

    Instead of currants, I used dried cherries to finish off a bag I had on hand. The salad was a success the night I made it the leftovers were even better 2 days later, after the cherries had had time to infuse the whole salad. Thanks for another winner!

  79. Katherine Keena

    I made this for dinner last night. It is amazing….delish…..may have to make again tonight. Everything I have tries for cookbook and form blog has been good, but this takes the cake!

  80. Yvonne

    I made this last night with pumpkin seeds and cranberries instead of almonds and currants. It was delicious! Thank you for posting this recipe.

  81. Leslie in Southwestern Ontario

    Hi, liked the flavours thought it might have come together a bit more if the cauliflower had been blanched. Next time.

  82. Karen

    Really great salad! My currents seemed especially dry and hard but plumping in the dressing took care of that. I appreciate how they offered more than just sweetness to the salad after soaking in the tangy dressing. I successfully sliced the cauliflower with a sharp knife and had just a reasonable amount of “rubble.” I will be serving this again and soon! Thanks.

  83. ooooohhh this recipe was so good! All I want to do now is watch old episodes of Barefoot Contessa, with a glass of white wine and eat these amazing fried capers! Doesn’t that sound wonderful!?

  84. gayle

    Oh my! I just tried this, using a bag of the riced cauliflower from TJ’s. I also substituted honey roasted sliced almonds to save a step. It was fabulous. I followed the recipe exact. Wow! Those fried capers are dangerous! Might double them next time. :)

  85. Jordyn

    Great use for cauliflower! We eat a ton of roasted cauliflower but it gets a bit repetitive, so this was great. I didn’t have currants on hand so subbed some chopped up raisins and that worked well. Completely burned the almonds the first try (it’s amazing how fast they go from on-their-way-to-golden to completely blackened. oops), so subbed in walnuts and that worked well too. End result was one of those salads that I just couldn’t stop picking at after dinner was over :)

  86. Sara Harris

    I have made this wonderful slaw half a dozen times. Absolutely delicious. I have taken it to neighbors and it is frequently requested as my pot luck contribution! I follow the recipe and add lightly sautéed chopped prosciutto and either add a handful of arugula mixed through or serve on a bed of arugula. Highly recommend any time of year.

  87. BarbaraV

    OMG–This is so delicious! I just finished it and hope there is some left later for dinner. Can’t stop “tasting”. I didn’t think of it until too late, but what would you think about using the caper-frying oil for the 5 tablespoons of vinaigrette? Why not?

  88. Yael

    This salad is a winner–I served it with ribs of all things and loved how refreshing and light it tasted in contrast. Used a food processor with the slicing attachment to cut the cauliflower… Loved the fried capers before I added them to the salad but once in there, they lost their crispness and am not entirely sure if the frying step was worth the effort. Overall, delicious though!

  89. Christina

    Hi, I’m a low-fat, plant-based whole foods eater. I love your recipes and wonder if you have ideas on making this salad without the oil? Thank you.

  90. Emily

    I just have to add that I’ve been wondering what’s up with those slimy red lettuce bits in the ubiquitous “field greens” mix also… I’m so glad it’s not just me!

  91. Karen

    I made this yesterday for my Women’s Walking Group annual Christmas party. I was a little dubious about how it would be received, but they loved it, and asked for the recipe! There were no leftovers, that’s for sure. I felt that the dressing was too tart, so I added a little honey to it. That’s the only change I made. Your site, and cookbooks, are always my “go to” when I am looking for something new! I’ve been a follower for a long time…..since before babies and cookbooks. ;) Thanks, Deb!

  92. Anne


    I made this today and enjoyed it. Question: are the dried currants supposed to add a little sweetness to the salad? I don’t like raisins or currants so I substituted dried cranberries. They were unsweetened and the salad seemed to be missing a little something. Was thinking I should have added a little sugar?

  93. SHelly

    I always toast almonds in the microwave. Turns out much better than the skillet or the oven. And if life (meaning kids) distract me, they don’t burn if it takes 10 minutes to get back to the kitchen.

  94. Kali

    I love this recipe! I used the leftover oil from frying the capers as part of the dressing for a little extra flavor and added a touch of agave syrup for sweetness. Great new take on a veggie side!

  95. Bernadette

    This was one of the best salads I ever made. Didn’t have all the ingredients at home so used some orange zest in the dressing and a touch of sugar instead of lemon juice and currants. It was delicious! Thank you Deb!

  96. Isabel

    This was fantastic! I’ve been meaning to make this for a really long time. Finally remembered to make it. Didn’t have any green onions, so used a large shallot. Loved this. Will definitely go into our rotation. Thank you Deb!

  97. Jennifer

    This was so good! I used cranberries because I had them, and ate it with some leftover sliced steak on top so I could call it dinner. Looking forward to lunch leftovers.

  98. Jen

    I was intrigued when I saw this salad,loving cauliflower capers and currants. It delicious! Crunchy and zesty, the toasted almonds add the perfect finish! Loved using the mandolin to get thinly sliced cauliflower😋 Also very easy to assemble 👍

  99. Alene

    This is delightful! Made it for myself for lunch. Perfect! I could be a vegetarian if left to my own devices. But I have someone else to cook for, and he would not be happy. I don’t have a benriner because sometimes good sharp knives work. Plus, I cut the recipe in half and it could easily feed two or three. Next time, though, I will make a little more vinaigrette. Thank you for a delicious and easy recipe. Pretty fast too!

  100. Chris

    This is one of my favorite salads ever. The capers, almonds, currants and cauliflower go so well together! Love, love this crunchy, tasty salad.