Chickpea Cauliflower Salad with Basil Dijon Dressing

On any given day our lives can change. They can change for the better, and they can also change in a way that forces growth (aka something not so wonderful happens).

Many of us are here in the blog world because we seek something extra in this life. When I started IPOM I can honestly tell you I didn’t realize the sheer depth of the people & passion I would find here (but I surely did suspect & believe it existed). Friends from all over the world who are sharing tidbits of their lives with others.

Whether it is food, art, adventure, or just a few thoughts here and there, I’ve been so pleased to find such endless inspiration as a result of sharing my own passions. With friends, life is always made easier. And with passion, life becomes rich. When there is love and passion in life, there is nothing that can’t be overcome (IMO, of course).

This gorgeous salad is as simple as simple can be. Combine chickpeas with a few chopped fresh veggies and drown them in what is possibly the most delicious dressing on the planet.

This basil dressing is a variation on the dressing I shared at the Healthy Diva here, and features a little more basil this time to honor the bountiful basil plants that are gracing many a patio garden and planter at this time of year.

Basil makes everything it touches taste utterly sophisticated, and once you try this dressing, you’ll want to try it on everything from pasta salad to fresh greens to simple garden tomato salads. I highly encourage this, as we’ve been at it all week.

The Less:

Less heavy grain-based foods in summer means meals are as light as the summer nights. Less canned prepared bean salad means less preservatives and calories. Less bottled and preserved salad dressings means more flavor and real nutrition, without the added bottles, empty calories, and added cost.

The More:

More tasty veggie salads means more tasty easy meals. More homemade dressings means more inspiring reasons to eat salads. More high fiber vegetables and beans more movement in general, so lightness and health are yours all summer long.

Chickpea Cauliflower Salad with Basil Dijon Dressing:
  • (2) cups cooked chickpeas (one 398ml can)
  • (1) red pepper, diced
  • (1) head cauliflower
  • (1) bunch green onions, chopped (greens only)
  • (1) clove garlic, minced
  • (1) 398ml can artichoke hearts, quartered

Basil Vinaigrette:

  • (1) entire bunch basil
  • (1) cup good olive oil
  • (1/2) cup red wine vinegar
  • (4) tbsp Dijon mustard
  • (3) tbsp sugar (brown or white)
  • (1) tbsp salt
  • (1) clove garlic
  • (1/2) cup water

Start by cleaning and chopping the cauliflower into medium florets. Put up to steam in a little water, and cook 3-4 minutes until just soft. Remove from heat and rinse with cold water or in an ice water bath to cool. Set aside to drain in a colander until ready to use.

Combine all ingredients for the dressing in a blender (or in a large bowl with a hand blender) and blend until very well combined. Transfer to a clean jar.

Combine chickpeas, chopped red pepper, green onions, and minced garlic in a bowl. Add the cauliflower by hand, breaking into small pieces as you go with your hands.*

*When using cauliflower in smaller one inch pieces I prefer to break them organically with my hands versus cutting them with a knife. The presentation is more beautiful and natural, and it gives me a chance to connect with it – corny, yes, but awesome? YES.

Pour (1/3) to (1/2) cup of the vinaigrette into the bowl and mix gently with a large spoon to combine. If you are too vigorous with the mixing you can break the cauliflower pieces. Add more dressing as desired and save the remainder for later – there are so many uses for it – and this recipe makes a generous amount.

Serve in a lovely clean bowl garnished with quartered artichoke hearts. Set aside as many or as few artichoke hearts as you like and add to each serving on top or to the bowl. This fiber and flavor filled salad will keep in the fridge for up to a week and will get better with age. We enjoyed it several days later with some hot whole wheat pasta added. Amazing!

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ShiraChickpea Cauliflower Salad with Basil Dijon Dressing