roasted cauliflower caprese salad

Posted on Aug 20, 2012 in Food

I’m kinda obsessed with cauliflower recently.

For some reason, white vegetables get such a bad rap. I’m not sure when that started but I’m not a big fan of discriminating against anything that grows in the ground. I think cauliflower in particular gets lumped in with white potatoes. And I think the only problem with white potatoes is that the American diet is a little too focused on them. In a wide and varied diet, I think all veggies should have a place—regardless of color.

From one serving of cauliflower, you get 85% of your daily vitamin C and 20% of your vitamin K intake. We don’t hear a lot about vitamin K but it’s a powerful anti-inflammatory. Studies show that many of the major life-threatening diseases (cancer, heart disease, etc.) can be traced back to inflammation in the cells. Getting adequate amounts of vitamin K can help put a stop to that.

Cauliflower is also a digestive rockstar. For 200 calories worth of cauliflower, you get half your daily value of dietary fiber. Which helps, you know, keep things moving. And beyond that, cauliflower has almost as much glucosinolate per serving as kale. Glucosinolate helps protect our cells from damage and helps protect the lining of our stomach and intestines to help make digestion easier.

You should eat more cauliflower. And this salad can help you do it.

It’s actually remarkably simple. It’s just your basic caprese salad (basil, fresh mozzarella, tomatoes) tossed with some roasted cauliflower and topped with a hefty drizzle of good olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Even though it’s simple, there is something really special about the combination. When roasted, cauliflower becomes sweet and caramelized and paired with the sweet tomatoes and creamy mozzarella, you’ve got one rock-star of a dish.

Roasted Cauliflower Caprese

by Cassie Johnston

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Makes: 4 servings


  • 1/2 large head cauliflower, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves, chiffonade
  • 6 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese (ciliegine-size balls)
  • Olive oil and balsamic vinegar, for drizzling


  1. Preheat oven to 425°. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray, spread out cauliflower pieces in one layer. Drizzle with tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until cauliflower is softened and browned.
  2. Meanwhile, combine tomatoes, basil leaves, and mozzarella in a mixing bowl and toss. Add in roasted cauliflower and toss to combine.
  3. To serve, spoon onto plate, drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
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What’s your favorite way to eat cauliflower?


  1. I love cauliflower, and that salad looks fabulous!

    • Thanks, Athena! I love cauliflower, too. A giant bag of it raw is my favorite healthy road trip snack.

  2. I cannot wait to try this! I still have half a head left from the cauliflower bake recipe you posted a while ago, which was awesome I might add! Thank you :)

    • Awesome, Julie! I’m glad you’re liking all the cauliflower recipes. :) Expect more!

  3. You just combined 2 of my favorite things! I can’t wait to try this. Will make a great quick meal on a school night.

    • Definitely! And the leftovers rock, too. We’ve been eating on it for days now and it keeps getting better!

  4. I love hearty salads like this in the summer time… they are so easy to throw together and yet so satisfying. Definitely trying this!

    • They are, aren’t they? I’m not a huge fan of standard lettuce and veggie salads, but salads like this I could eat everyday!

  5. I’m still trying to find my favorite way to eat it. I’ve tried cauliflower “rice”, roasting it, steaming it, and even a cake made with it. It’s all okay, but I can never go through a whole head because I get bored of it. I’m not giving up, though!

    • We make mashed cauliflower a TON in our house, too! It’s one of our favorite ways to eat it. Just like mashed potatoes!

  6. This is soooooo good. 1/3 cup of xvo is way too much but I use the extras in other recipies. The cauliflower cake from ottolenghi is outstanding but also asks for a lot of oil. Hmmmm I am sensing a theme….

    • Mmmm! That looks SO good!

  7. I think my favorite way to eat cauliflower with a little nutmeg and sea salt sprinkled on it, then roasted. But that’s a really tough call, because I love it pretty much every way you can prepare it (though I wouldn’t choose to just eat it steamed with nothing on it…)

    • Mmm! Nutmeg! That sounds totally intriguing. Must try it next time I roast some. :)

  8. I love cauliflower but I mostly just eat it raw. Sometimes in a salad, sometimes on it’s own.

    • I love it straight up, too. :) It’s my favorite choice on the veggies trays at parties.

  9. Cauliflower is my favorite vegetable. Try my cauliflower “vichysoisse.” It’s creamy with no cream. Just boil together cauliflower with some leeks and a potato (I throw in celery if I have it.) Puree it in a blender (don’t forget the nutmeg and s&p) and chill. So refreshing and delicious. I use chicken stock, but I guess veg stock or water would do. Since you’ve been so good, top it with a little sour cream or Mexican crema and toasted pepita seeds. I could eat it all day, and I do!

    • Oh that sounds so good! I’ll definitely have to try it out. Thanks!

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