North African Cauliflower Salad with Charmoula Dressing

This North African Cauliflower Salad with Charmoula Dressing is packed with great wholesome ingredients and is huge on flavor. HUGE!

North African Cauliflower Salad with Charmoula Dressing from afarmgirlsdabbles.com

 

You know that I am a huge advocate of family meals – the whole shebang…shopping for groceries together, preparing the meal side by side in the kitchen, sitting down and saying grace before lifting our forks, and then cleaning up the dishes. All of us, together. We do this routine most every day. But I’ll readily admit that I look forward to a great meal out – breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee, cupcakes – whatever. It doesn’t always have to cost alot of money or be an over-the-top experience. Dining out, for me, just needs to be not ordinary (there are very few chain restaurants that I frequent), and worthy of my time and money. Because life is too short to eat bad food, and my wallet does not come with an unlimited supply of cash. I have to be choosey.

This North African Cauliflower Salad with Charmoula Dressing is my copycat version of a fabulous salad from a great local pizza restaurant, Black Sheep Pizza. A girlfriend requested to celebrate her birthday at this pizza place a couple years ago, and my family has been going back ever since. We can’t get enough of their awesome coal fired pizzas and tasty salads. Their offerings are definitely not ordinary, and worthy of opening my wallet!
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North African Cauliflower Salad with Charmoula Dressing from afarmgirlsdabbles.com

Whenever we visit Black Sheep, Blake and the girls have to order the House Salad. And that’s saying something for three people who very rarely touch a salad when dining out. It comes to the table in a stainless steel bowl, with a set of tongs, enough for our family of four. The greens are always cold and crisp and fresh. But I know for my three amigos, it’s really all about how the salad is dressed, with a super tasty, creamy Italian dressing. It’s delish.

I sometimes venture out of the House Salad realm and order one of Black Sheep’s daily Market Salads. They’re always inventive and flavorful. Take, for instance, this North African cauliflower salad with charmoula dressing…

North African Cauliflower Salad with Charmoula Dressing from afarmgirlsdabbles.com

At the base is a hearty mix of sliced fresh cauliflower florets and shredded carrots. Raisins add a chewy, sweet-tart bite, and arugula is folded in for bright and peppery green.

North African Cauliflower Salad with Charmoula Dressing from afarmgirlsdabbles.com

Then comes the flavorful charmoula dressing. When I saw the word “charmoula” on the menu, I had to look it up. This sauce/marinade was born in Morocco and has spread throughout the North African region, a seasoning for grilled meat, fish, and vegetables.  I found many different versions, but at the heart of charmoula is a blend of spices like coriander and cumin and fresh chilies, mixed with herbs, garlic, fresh lemon juice, and olive oil. Black Sheep’s salad was heavy on paprika and sprinkled with salty feta, and that’s what you’ll find with mine, too.

North African Cauliflower Salad with Charmoula Dressing from afarmgirlsdabbles.com

This salad is on my regular at-home lunch agenda. It’s packed with great wholesome ingredients and is huge on flavor. HUGE. I can easily do away with this bowl of cauliflower salad in two or three lunch sittings, no problem.

See how eating out works? So many times, it’s total inspiration for what we eat at home later. That, in and of itself, makes the dollars well spent.

North African Cauliflower Salad with Charmoula Dressing

Yield: 2 to 3 lunch-sized servings or 4 to 6 side-size servings

Ingredients:

for the charmoula dressing:

  • 1/2 c. olive oil
  • 3 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 T. freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red fresno chili, seeded and minced
  • 1 T. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 T. sweet paprika
  • 1-1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 c. chopped and loosely packed fresh cilantro

for the cauliflower salad:

  • 1 small head cauliflower
  • 1 c. shredded carrots
  • 1/2 c. raisins
  • 2 to 3 c. loosely packed arugula
  • kosher salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 c. crumbled feta

Directions:

for the charmoula dressing:

In a medium bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice, lime juice, and garlic. Add the fresno chili, smoked paprika, sweet paprika, cumin, coriander, salt, cayenne, and black pepper. Stir to combine. Add cilantro and stir again. Set aside.

for the cauliflower salad:

Core the cauliflower and separate into florets. Slice into 1/4″-thick pieces, starting at the stem end of the florets. Place cauliflower in large bowl. Add carrots and raisins, and fold to combine. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and fold to combine. Fold in arugula. Taste and sprinkle with additional kosher salt, if needed. Turn salad out onto a serving platter and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper, followed by the feta. Serve immediately.

** Note:  This salad makes great leftovers, not including the arugula. If you don’t think all of the salad will be eaten in the same day you make this, only add arugula to what you think you’ll eat that same day. Any leftover salad stored in the refrigerator overnight will turn the arugula soggy. When ready to eat the cauliflower salad the following day, simply fold arugula into the salad right before eating, or serve the cauliflower salad directly over a bed of arugula. 

Inspired by a salad served at Black Sheep Pizza.

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North African Cauliflower Salad with Charmoula Dressing from afarmgirlsdabbles.com

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