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Mediterranean Roasted Cauliflower white bean salad recipe

Easy vegan Mediterranean grilled Cauliflower and white bean salad served on toast recipe – this simple savory, sweet, and sour with a hint of smoky flavor cauliflower caponata is a great make-ahead appetizer or salsa style dip. Featuring tender cauliflower, spicy sweet peppers, crunchy slices of celery, onions and buttery white beans it’s flavor texture combo that’s irresistibly good! 

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Salads don’t just have to be cold and refreshing. They can also be warm, savory and cozy like this roasted cauliflower with buttery white beans is. You can serve it as a healthy main meal, make it a warming cauliflower bowl, serve it as a side salad or top in on crusty toast. 

I affectionately call this my Cauliflower Caponata, although it’s not an authentic caponata. This easy cauliflower dish has all the same savory sweet and sour flavors with the telltale Italian seasonings that give the dish the same texture and taste as a authentic caponata. 

So why isn’t this caponata authentic? You may be wondering. Well, traditional caponata is a sweet and sour (and absolutely delicious) dish that’s always made with eggplants…and this roasted cauliflower salad doesn’t feature eggplants. It’s still just as tasty and has that same sweet and sour, cozy warm and savory feel as real Sicilian Caponata.

Why you’re going to fall in love with this warm savory roasted cauliflower side dish

  • 50% savory, sweet and sour and 50% warm and cozy magic. 
  • Hot, steamy tender roasted cauliflower 
  • Savory Mediterranean veggies wrapped in Italian seasoning 
  • Vegan and so irresistible everyone wants seconds
  • So many options – serve topped over crusty bread or make everyones favorite side dish 
  • Gluten-free 
  • Tasty irresistible warm Mediterranean flavors packed into a healthy salad bowl
  • Great meal-prep make in advance salad
  • Can be served hot or cold 

Ingredients for making tasty vegan warm roasted cauliflower salad

Cauliflower – tender roasted cauliflower is the star of this warm savory Mediterranean dish. Fresh or frozen, pre-cut into florets or whole, all ways work in this easy warm white bean salad. If you don’t have cauliflower you can replace it with broccoli.

Bell peppers – fresh, sweet and just a little spicy, the bell peppers gives the warm Mediterranean salad a delicious hint of spice. Any type of bell peppers will work for this salad. I used red bell peppers for my salad, but yellow or green peppers will also work – although the green peppers will make the dish less sweet.

Celery stalks – fresh, slightly crunchy with a little hint of licorice. Celery stalks gives the dish so much extra flavor and texture. 

Onions and garlic – I like to use shallots or white onions when I make this tasty warm cauliflower salad. The acidity and freshness of the onions give the dish a savory depth that enhances all the spices. If you don’t have shallots or white onions in the kitchen while making this dish, you can replace them with any other type of onions like red onions, leeks, spring onions or yellow onions. If you’re in a pinch, 2 teaspoons onion powder can also work as the onion flavor base of the salad.

Beans – canned cannellini beans or butter beans are my favorite when making this salad. They’re already cooked to tender perfection, all I have to do is rinse and drain the beans and they’re ready to go into my salad. You can, of course, boil your own beans if you prefer. Just boil until the beans are completely tender. 

Olives – green olives with the pits removed are my go-to olives for this salad. You can also just as easily use black olives or a mix of green and black olives if you want. 

Spices – smoked paprika, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper. We’re working with simple Mediterranean spices that makes a simple salad into a savory feast. Yum. 

Tips and tricks for making the best roasted cauliflower bean salad 

How to cut cauliflower into florets 

Pull off or carefully cut off the leaves from the base of the cauliflower. Next, being careful not to cut yourself, use a knife to cut off the cauliflower florets at the stem. As you cut the cauliflower florets should begin to fall off, making it easier as you go. Some of the florets may be quite big, and it’s a good idea to cut them into smaller chunks so all the florets are roughly the same size – same-sized cauliflower florets will make cooking them evenly much easier.

If serving with toasted ciabatta: Slice the bread and brush each slice with a little extra virgin olive oil on both sides. Arrange the bread on a sheet pan and toast in your heated oven for about 10 minutes until golden brown

Choosing the best White beans for salads

White beans as a category includes navy beans, great northern beans, cannellini beans, baby lima beans, butter beans, garbanzo beans, pinto beans, etc. Cannellini beans are the largest type of white beans. Because of the traditional kidney shape, they can also be referred to as White Kidney Beans. Cannellini beans are my favorite beans in salads because they’re meaty, tender and mild flavors that soak up the seasonings. 

How to cook cannellini beans 

If you’re cooking your own beans it’s important to cook until tender which is usually around 90 minutes and up to 2 hours. (Note: if you’re using canned beans you can disregard this advice. Your canned beans are ready to use. Just rinse and drain).

Cooking white beans on the Stovetop. Rinse beans well before cooking by pouring into a sieve and rinsing with water. Place 1 cup beans in a large pot with 3 cups water and 1 tsp salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until tender, about 90 minutes; drain well. The beans are ready to use in salads.

How to make the best easy Mediterranean roasted cauliflower salad with cannellini beans, peppers, and spices 

Preheat the oven to 400F (190 degrees Celsius) and line a baking sheet with baking paper. 

On the lined baking sheet place the cauliflower florets and onions. Drizzle with olive oil and seasoning and use to spoons to toss until all the veggies are covered in oil and seasoning.

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, then add the diced peppers, garlic, sliced celery stalks, and olives. Stir to combine and return the baking sheet to the oven to bake 15-20 more minutes or until the vegetables are golden brown and slightly crispy in places.

Remove the roasted vegetables from the oven, add the drained beans and stir to combine. Serve the warm salad with a generous garnish of fresh herbs and enjoy.

Easy way to make roasted cauliflower salad in an air fryer 

Place a baking sheet or baking bowl in the air fryer. Add the cauliflower florets and diced onions and drizzle with olive oil and all the seasonings. Stir to combine and coat the cauliflower in spices. 

Bake at highest temperature in the air fryer for 20 minutes, then add the diced peppers, garlic, sliced celery stalks, and olives. Stir to combine and return the air fryer bowl to the air fryer to bake 15-20 more minutes or until the vegetables are golden brown and slightly crispy in places.

Remove the roasted vegetables from the air fryer, add the drained beans and stir to combine. Serve the warm salad with a generous garnish of fresh herbs and enjoy.

How to make Mediterranean warm cauliflower salad in a skillet 

Don’t want to heat up the oven to make a salad? Don’t worry, you can still make this tasty Mediterranean salad on stove. All you need is a pan (skillet, sauté pan, cast iron pan or even a wok will all work).

Here’s how to make warm cauliflower salad on the stove.

Heat olive oil in a pan and add the cauliflower florets and onions. Season with salt and all the spices and stir to combine. Let the cauliflower florets and onions Sauté for 5-8 minutes while stirring occasionally. 

Next, add the diced peppers, garlic, sliced celery stalks, and olives. Stir to combine. Let the vegetables simmer for 5 more minutes before adding the drained beans. Combine everything and taste test. Add more salt or seasoning if necessary.

Serve the salad with a generous garnish of fresh herbs and enjoy.

What to serve with Mediterranean roasted cauliflower and bean salad

FAQs – all your warm Mediterranean salad questions answered 

How to store roasted cauliflower salad

You can store this cauliflower caponata in the fridge in a tightly-closed container or mason jar for 5 days or so.

Can I make cauliflower salad in advance?

Yes, this easy roasted cauliflower and beans salad is great when made in advance. Its hearty rustic textures and savory seasonings make it taste delicious whether eaten right away or several days later.

How many calories in cauliflower caponata?

There’s just around 120 calories per serving in this tasty low-calorie cauliflower salad.

Mediterranean Roasted Cauliflower white bean salad recipe

Easy vegan Mediterranean grilled Cauliflower and white bean salad served on toast recipe – this simple savory, sweet, and sour with a hint of smoky flavor cauliflower caponata is a great make-ahead appetizer or salsa style dip. Featuring tender cauliflower, spicy sweet peppers, crunchy slices of celery, onions and buttery white beans it’s flavor texture combo that’s irresistibly good! 
Course Lunch, Salad, Side Dish, Vegan Dinner
Cuisine Mediterranean
Keyword salad
Prep Time 8 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 – 6 people
Calories 120kcal
Author Simone – Munchyesta.com

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 head Cauliflower broken into florets 
  • 2 Celery Stalks sliced
  • 2 Shallots or white onions, diced
  • 3 cloves Garlic finely chopped
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper diced
  • 10-15 Olives sliced
  • 1 15oz can Cannellini Beans or Butter Beans rinsed and drained
  • 1 tbsp Smoked Paprika
  • 2 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 1 tsp Dried Thyme
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • ¼ tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 handful Fresh Parsley or fresh basil, chopped

Instructions

Oven roasting instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400F (190 degrees Celsius) and line a baking sheet with baking paper.
  • On the lined baking sheet place the cauliflower florets and onions. Drizzle with olive oil and seasoning and use to spoons to toss until all the veggies are covered in oil and seasoning.
  • Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, then add the diced peppers, garlic, sliced celery stalks, and olives. Stir to combine and return the baking sheet to the oven to bake 15-20 more minutes or until the vegetables are golden brown and slightly crispy in places.
    Remove the roasted vegetables from the oven, add the drained beans and stir to combine. Serve the warm salad with a generous garnish of fresh herbs and enjoy.

Easy way to make roasted cauliflower salad in an air fryer 

  • Place a baking sheet or baking bowl in the air fryer. Add the cauliflower florets and diced onions and drizzle with olive oil and all the seasonings. Stir to combine and coat the cauliflower in spices. 
  • Bake at highest temperature in the air fryer for 20 minutes, then add the diced peppers, garlic, sliced celery stalks, and olives. Stir to combine and return the air fryer bowl to the air fryer to bake 15-20 more minutes or until the vegetables are golden brown and slightly crispy in places.
  • Remove the roasted vegetables from the air fryer, add the drained beans and stir to combine. Serve the warm salad with a generous garnish of fresh herbs and enjoy.

Here’s how to make warm cauliflower salad on the stove

  • Heat olive oil in a pan and add the cauliflower florets and onions. Season with salt and all the spices and stir to combine. Let the cauliflower florets and onions Sauté for 5-8 minutes while stirring occasionally. 
  • Next, add the diced peppers, garlic, sliced celery stalks, and olives. Stir to combine. Let the vegetables simmer for 5 more minutes before adding the drained beans. Combine everything and taste test. Add more salt or seasoning if necessary.
    Serve the salad with a generous garnish of fresh herbs and enjoy.

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