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Roasted Cauliflower & Orzo with Meyer Lemon Parsley Dressing

Okay, okay, I will just go ahead and admit it: I'm a huge fan of roasted vegetables (can you tell?), most notably those beautifully soft & elegant cruciferous types. You know, the ever adorable green brussels sprouts (aka. mini cabbages), and the soft & sophisticated cauliflower that provides us with so much goodness that our bodies crave and benefit from. It helps that they are still available locally here, as our generally mild winters allow growers to pick just 2 hours out of frost, as I learned from one of the farmers I've come to rely on for freshly picked broccoli, cauliflower & kale of all kinds at our local winter market this year.

Another thing I've found I'm a huge fan of? Working, it seems. I've gotta tell you all that the one side effect I did not anticipate from having some time off was something I haven't experienced since my angsty days of teenage drama: the strange and unfamiliar lack of desire to do much of anything at all. It seems disconnecting in general can foster a disconnection from many things, and while I've cherished beyond measure the past months of reflecting, re-booting & general recalibration, I'm pretty comforted and confident in knowing that I'm a workhorse who thrives when juggling multiple challenging projects, and I do best when confronted with well populated to-do lists and the stimulation that comes from constant problem solving. We're all different, after all, and everyone's 'slow' can surely mean different things. I'm the type that happens to find the purest form of meditation on a long cold run, moving swiftly and stepping forward boldly as I go. Turns out my slow is not so slow at all and after trying out a new and different way, I'm okay with that. Really :)

Do you find strength in power or in softness? Are you calmest in stillness or in movement? We are all so different, but there is one thing that is woven consistently through our fibres : our hearts don't lie, and I've been listening to mine (as hard as it is sometimes). This weekend brought back a welcome spark and flurry of creativity, one that has been burning rather slowly lately. My house in order, and my mind is rested. It's the end of another year. Wishing you all warm thoughts and gratitude for your support - this year saw some epic & wonderful accomplishments and I simply cannot wait for this coming year and all that's to come!

This peppy salad combines many of my favorite things: roasted cauliflower, feta & orzo with a zesty Meyer lemon dressing. Perfect for a holiday gathering or to keep in the fridge for a quick lunch on the go. You could easily sub any pasta in for the orzo, and an addition of roasted nuts might be lovely too. Feel free to leave out the feta entirely and add some Capers in for a fully vegan option too. Either way, listen to your heart on what to do and be ready to go where it calls you. It won't lead you astray, not ever, I promise. It just takes some courage, and it's in you, that I know. xx

Roasted Cauliflower & Orzo with Meyer Lemon Parsley Dressing:

Adapted from Bon Appetit:

  • (1) head cauliflower
  • (3-4) tbsp olive oil
  • (black pepper & (1/4) tsp salt for roasting cauliflower
  • (1) cup orzo (my favorite is an Italian spelt orzo)
  • (1) cup cubed feta, cut as large or small as desired
  • (1) large handful of greens such as arugula or baby spinach

Meyer Lemon Parsley Dressing:

  • (1) large Meyer lemon (or 2 small regular lemons)
  • (1) cup flat leafed parsley leaves, removed from stems
  • (1/4) cup olive oil
  • (1) tbsp Caper juice
  • (1/4 - 1/2) tsp salt or to taste
  • (1/2) tsp lemon zest
  • Black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Wash and cut the cauliflower into small florets, discarding the core or saving it for a soup. Toss the florets in a bowl with the olive oil and salt & pepper and spread on a flat rimmed cookie sheet. Roast at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes, tossing here and there. The florets should be browning and smelling wonderful before being removed.

While the cauliflower cooks, put up a pot of water to boil. Once boiling, add the orzo and cook according to package directions, for an al dente pasta. Prepare your greens and feta and set aside.

To make the dressing, pulse the parsley in a blender and add the lemon juice, oil, caper juice, salt & pepper. Blend until smooth, it is okay to have some rustic bits of parsley in there and there is no need for a perfectly blended mixture.

Combine the warm cauliflower, lemon zest, and feta together and toss gently with half of the dressing to coat. Add the cooked orzo & the remaining dressing and toss again to mix. Just before serving, add your greens and mix again. Serve with extra parsley or feta as garnish and plenty of extra pepper. This salad will keep in the fridge for a few days, and even the hardy fresh greens will hold up once dressed. This makes an incredible next day lunch with some hardboiled egg, toasted cashews, and a little extra dressing. Perfection!

Recipe should easily serve 4-6 as a side, 2-4 as a hearty lunch.

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