Cauliflower Antipasto Two Ways

antipasto

If you’re searching for a salad that pleases a crowd, one that you can serve at any get together you might have, this cauliflower antipasto salad is the one for you.

This salad has all the mix of a traditional antipasto, it includes cheese, meat, marinated veggies, olives and other goodies. Quite a few antipasto salads include a pasta of some sort, but in this salad the star ingredient is cauliflower!

antipasto platter

This salad can be served cold or at room temp, it’s easy to pull together, it can be made ahead of time  and there’s no cooking of any kind.  Each bite is filled with hearty and zippy ingredients that have a nice crunchy texture.

Fioretto cauliflower

The cauliflower that I used in this recipe was a variety called Fioretto, it means little flower in Italian. It has a dense head with flowering tiny buds along with a pale green stem, it’s delicate and fluffy like a pretty bouquet.

Fioretto is a hybrid of broccoli and cauliflower, it is not GMO, it’s a hybrid. Of course you don’t have to use this variety to make this salad a regular head of cauliflower will be just as good, I was just lucky enough to come across this big beautiful head and couldn’t wait to use. it.

raw cauliflower

If you don’t see it in your grocery stores ask the produce manager if they can get it for you, you’ll love the sweet and tender florets it produces.

cauliflower antipasto

I blanched the cauliflower for 1 minute then ran some cold water on it to cool down, it was the perfect texture for this salad and you would do exactly the same with a regular head of cauliflower, there’s no difference.

What I like about cauliflower in general is that you can prepare it so many ways, you can steam it, stir fry, grill, saute and roast it as I did in the recipe below.

Italian roasted cauliflower

Here’s another way to prepare a nice, hearty antipasto dish. Roasted cauliflower with pecorino and parmesan which is served with a lemon aioli dipping sauce.

roasted cauliflower

Again you can use your favorite variety of cauliflower to make this, here’s how you do it.

Break up the florets from a head of  cauliflower and place them on a rimmed baking sheet drizzled with olive oil. Heat oven to 425.

In a bowl mix together 1/2 cup of bread crumbs and 1/2 cup mix of pecorino and parmesan.

Drizzle the tops of the cauliflower all over with olive oil, then sprinkle the crumb and cheese mixture covering each floret. Sprinkle with granulated garlic and a good handful of chopped parsley and black pepper.

Place sheet pan into the oven and roast the florets until tender and the cheese mixture is deep golden brown, tossing in between roasting to coat each side.

I like to serve this with an easy lemon aioli that I make by mixing mayo with lemon juice to thin it out, 1 small grated garlic clove, salt and pepper, that’s it!

roasted Fioretto

Two fun ways to serve up and eat a beautiful head of cauliflower, such a yummy and versatile vegetable!

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Cauliflower Antipasto Two Ways
 
Ingredient amounts can vary to your liking, this is a rough estimate, feel free to add more or less to your salad.
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 head of cauliflower, broken into florets I used the Fioretto variety but any variety will due.
  • a mix of green and black olives, 1 cup
  • ½ cup chopped red onion
  • ½ cup of sundried tomatoes in oil, sliced
  • a small jar of drained artichoke hearts in oil
  • 1 cup of sliced salami, pepperoni, or spicy sopressata, medium chunks
  • ¾ cup of sharp provolone, medium chunks
  • ½ of a red and yellow pepper diced into medium chunks
  • ½ can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • ½ cup of sliced pepperoncini strips
  • a hearty handful of chopped fresh parsley
  • DRESSING
  • 1 part fresh lemon juice
  • 3 parts olive oil
  • 1 small grated garlic clove
  • 1 dollop of Dijon
  • salt and pepper
  • whisk together
Instructions
  1. Blanch the cauliflower first into boiling water for 1 minute, then remove it and cool it down under cold water, let it drain and pat dry.
  2. In a large bowl place all the ingredients, including the cauliflower together, tossing very gently until all is incorporated.
  3. Drizzle some of the dressing on and taste as you go for the amount you want to use, adding salt and pepper as needed.
  4. Place onto a pretty platter if serving right away, or tuck it into a container overnight.
  5. This can be served cold or at room temperature.

 

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Faux Spaghetti

If you’re going easy on the carbs right now but have a craving for spaghetti, I have the perfect solution for you!
 Al’ dente strands of julienned zucchini tossed with roasted veggies of your choice flavored with shaved garlic, olive oil, basil, red pepper flakes and generous amounts of grated romano cheese.

You’ll love the flavor and texture and even if you’re not watching your carbs it can be the perfect meatless meal along with a salad.

I love my handy julienne slicer it works so fast, before you know it you’ll have a pile of zucchini “pasta” right before your eyes, just work the sides and when you reach the seeds, give it a turn.
 The core of the zucchini will be left which I then dice and roast up for future use.
I roasted two different color cauliflower for mine and added some cherry tomatoes, next time I’ll roast those too, I forgot, but it didn’t matter, it was so yummy anyway!
Here’s what you do:

First, roast off the veggies of your choice in a 425 degree oven tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper, then set aside.
Have your zucchini “pasta” all ready to go then heat up a large saute pan drizzled with olive oil, add shaved garlic and red pepper flakes, saute until garlic is light golden. Next, add zucchini and cook for only about 2 minutes tossing with some tongs just until wilted and still al’ dente. Remove pan from heat, add the roasted veggies, fresh basil, lots of grated romano cheese and of course another drizzle of olive oil!

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Cauliflower "Steaks"

This is an amazing first course or side dish. Roasted slabs of cauliflower topped off with a tomato olive type salsa. I read about this technique in an older issue of Bon Appetit. Taking a whole head of cauliflower, peel off the outer leaves, standing it on its core end and cutting slabs from it’s thickest part, a good half inch or a more keeping everything intact resembling a little tree. I decided to roast my “steaks” so I drizzled each side with olive oil, salt, pepper and a sprinkling of romano or parmesan cheese of course!

Bake in a 400F oven until tender and golden on each side gently flipping each “steak” over with a spatula. Don’t worry about the stem and core being attached you’re going to eat it all!

The end result gives you the perfect surface for a topping of your choice, think about it for a minute, the possibilities are endless! I might even stick a fried egg on top for some “steak” and eggs next time!

The topping I made had quartered grape tomatoes, sliced green and kalamata olives, finely diced red onion, fresh basil, parsley and olive oil, if I had a jar of artichokes I would have chopped a few in there and maybe even a couple sun dried tomatoes.

It was the perfect compliment to the creamy roasted slabs of cauliflower, and a definite WOW factor! I hope you give it a try.

Buon Appetito!

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