Cauliflower & Roasted Garbanzo Rice and Peas Salad with Apple & Avocado

Created by Laura Wright
5 from 4 votes

Cauliflower and roasted garbanzo rice and peas salad is super fresh, nourishing, clean-tasting, and super versatile as the base of a meal.


We’re trying for a winter-to-spring feel with this cauliflower and roasted garbanzo rice and peas salad today.

There’s only one green and edible thing out back right now and even though some heavy rain made for a solid foot of water between me and some chives, I had to have those little emerald green blades. They were certain proof that the world was at work once again, all despite the lump of icy grey grit-filled snow in the shadiest part of the yard, just uglying it all up.

So I’ve been going out to the spot under the old apple tree to get my spring-y fill of that onion-y flavour. It’s been cool and wet, the kind of cold that is so penetrating. Sometimes I forget to put a jacket on, but it’s always worth it.

I mostly feel like I’m just thinking about things more, and a noticeably more active mind seems to equal a solid stream of creative ideas. Somewhat predictably, those ideas dabble in food a lot and that’s how I ended up with this non-rice and non-peas cauliflower and roasted garbanzo rice + peas.

If you have a partial understanding of what a food blog is, you’ve probably heard of a) processing cauliflower so that it can eat like rice/couscous and b) roasting chickpeas for a crunchy snack. I originally thought of pairing this cauliflower rice with fresh peas, but they’re just so far off and that’s just as well. If you’re looking for more cauliflower inspiration, I have it in a salad with nectarines and dukkah here, as an entire veggie “roast” with romesco here, and as a crunchy BBQ topper to a slaw here.

The warm and golden garbanzos add to the transitional feel of this dish. I use herbs in their whole leaf form with a heavy hand for brightness. Thin radishes, apples and avocado bring it all together. The dressing couldn’t be simpler either. I wrapped big scoops of it into little radicchio lettuce cups and it was a nice lunch!


Cauliflower & Roasted Garbanzo Rice and Peas Salad with Apple & Avocado

Cauliflower and roasted garbanzo rice and peas salad is super fresh, nourishing, clean-tasting, and super versatile as the base of a meal.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings 6



  • 1 ½ cups fully cooked chickpeas, dried thoroughly
  • 2 limes, zest and juice divided
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • chili powder (chipotle, ancho), to taste
  • sea salt & ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon grainy mustard
  • teaspoons maple syrup/raw honey


  • 1 small head of cauliflower, core removed
  • 3-4 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup flat parsley leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh mint, leaves sliced
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • ¼ cup chopped chives
  • 1 crisp apple, like fuji or pink lady, sliced thin
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled and cut into chunks
  • cup sunflower seeds, toasted


  • If you don’t have a food processor, some milling with a knife will get the cauliflower florets small enough, as long as you have the patience :)
  • Also, I wrapped up some of this mix in radicchio leaves for a handheld version. I feel like some chopped up pickled jalapeños would just be so great here, if you have them around.


  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spread the chickpeas out on a parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle them with a bit of lime zest, chili powder, salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Toss the chickpeas to coat and slide the tray into the oven. Roast until lightly crispy and golden, about 20 minutes.
  • Whisk together the remaining lime zest, lime juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, grainy mustard, and maple syrup. You can also shake this up in a sealed container. Add a splash of water if it seems quite thick. Set aside.
  • Start turning the cauliflower into rice in batches. Place a few handfuls of the florets into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the “S” blade. Pulse the florets until you have small, rice-like bits of cauliflower. Scrape the riced cauliflower into a large bowl. Repeat with remaining cauliflower.
  • Pour the dressing over the cauliflower rice, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat.
09/04/2014 (Last Updated 09/02/2023)
Posted in: autumn, chickpeas, earthy, gluten free, main course, nut free, quick, refined sugar-free, roasted, salad, salty, side dish, sour, spring, summer, sweet, vegan, winter


Recipe Rating

  • Jane Jolson

    Thanks for share.

  • Jane @ Wellness Warrior

    5 stars
    OMG this looks ever so interesting! Cauliflower is the new kale! I can’t wait to try this dish out

  • Scarlet

    My daughter to trying to eat more plant based meals so I always love running across recipes like this one that I think the whole family can enjoy. Pinning now to try soon.

  • Sam

    I make this with pearl couscous instead of cauliflower rice, and it’s delicious! I’ve already made it three times since April.

  • Tina Davis

    FYI, Trader Joe’s now sells the riced cauliflower in a bag. I can’t use my Cuisinart because of the blade recall, so that is a good option.

    • Laura

      Great tip! :)

  • Federica

    Very beautiful pictures!

  • christine

    Have just discovered this lovely recipe – it was the sight of the chopped avocado that caught my eye! I eat avocado almost every day – yummy:) I keep meaning to try cauliflower “rice”, ‘cos I love cauliflower every which way, so will give this a whirl next time I have a decent cauli to hand. I have been venturing out to crop the new chives for a couple of weeks now, it is so worth the effort – those and fresh marjoram leaves are the freshest things in the garden at the moment:)

  • pbest

    Had this for dinner this evening. Wow! wonderful flavors and just right to bring in the Spring weather. Thank you once again for a great successful meal to share with my hubby.

  • Marla

    Just made this for lunch. It was so good. Thank you!!

  • Kathy Patalsky

    LOVE this! Beautiful photos as always. Would love to see it on!

  • thefolia

    Yum, yum, yum can’t wait to make this! I use a cheese grater to get the florets into crumbs–less cleaning of items. Happy Nesting.

  • Carla

    Made the cauliflower salad today and it was delicious. Although I just chopped the cauliflower – and the dressing was fabulous. My two sons every every bite.

  • Jenny Depa-Karl

    OMG! Everything looks delicious… I want to make it ALL!!!! I may add a little of my farm fresh [goat muilk] feta to this recipe (:

  • nancy allen

    I am in salad heaven after discovering The First Mess, can’t wait to pass this onto my son. Thank you so much!

  • Ani {@afotogirl}

    This looks absolutely delicious! Can’t wait to try it.

  • Deb

    Made this yesterday with roast. Was delicious!

  • kanwal singh

    Omg this looks ever so interesting- it is going to be made tomorrow -I cannot wait

  • Phoebe Lapine @ Feed Me Phoebe

    This is such an interesting mix of ingredients! I can’t wait to try this dish out.

  • Margaret

    I made this for lunch today and it’s delicious! No radishes because Trader Joe’s didn’t have any, but still great!

  • Katie

    Made this for dinner tonight – both the boyfriend and I loved it! I didn’t use any parsley or mint just because I didn’t have any on hand and it was still very flavorful. I’d been meaning to try cauliflower rice for awhile and now I’m so excited about the possibilities. Thanks!

  • Lynn @ The Actor’s Diet

    Cauliflower is the new kale. I can’t get enough!

  • Phoebe Lapine @FeedMePhoebe

    I’m always looking for new, healthy GF dinner recipes…will be keeping this in mind for the future. :)

  • Anna

    This looks absolutely amazing, I’m obsessed with cauliflower right now. Congrats on your Savuer win, you absolutely deserve it.

  • P. Cruickshank-Schott

    1. My raw variation of this dish was totally yum… so thanks…
    2. Congratulations on your Saveur award. I sure voted for you!! How great!

  • Kristen

    Congrats on your win!!!!!!!!

  • Brittany

    I’m loving cauliflower rice and this salad looks absolutely delicious! Can’t wait to try it.

  • Alexandra @ Made to Glow

    Wow, this is gorgeous! Just found you from Pinterest and so glad I did. I just happen to have a cauli head ready to go and can’t wait to try. Thanks so much! Will be sharing on my social media – I know my readers will love this!

  • Stephanie @ Everyday Feasts

    This looks delicious! I love using radicchio leaves as cups :)

  • Patti

    This looked so yummy to me, but I’m a raw vegan… so here’s a version I wrangled up for supper… broccoli instead of cauliflower cuz I didn’t have any cauliflower in the house. Raw sunflower seeds, soaked buckwheat groats instead of chickpeas, persimmon seeds instead of apple, coconut aminos instead of sweet… The rest basically the same…. Really, really yum… Thanks.

  • Katie

    Where does the grainy mustard fit in the recipe? I see it as an ingredient.

    • Laura Wright

      Katie, it’s in the dressing! I think I might have been a bit snoozy when I wrote this recipe out.. :/ Sorry about that. Fixed it in the recipe.

  • Mila

    This looks perfect for summer- light and fresh.

  • molly yeh

    aren’t fresh chives the BEST?! ok and i have never made cauliflower rice (the thought has kind of confused me until now?) but seeing your pictures, it allllll makes sense now!

  • Hanna Woeking

    Ive recently re-fallen in love with cauliflower, this looks amazing :)

  • Emma

    Haha “If you have a partial understanding of what a food blog is…” Well, cauli rice and roasted chickpeas are popular for a reason I guess! Love your creative take on them.

  • Eileen

    What a beautiful bowl of food! I love the mixture of all the different herbs. So good!

  • Kathryne

    I’m a little behind on the cauliflower couscous thing, but if it gets your stamp of approval, I’ll surely try it soon. I finally have my own yard so I think I’ll try to grow some herbs, greens and tomatoes this year. Better get on that, huh?

  • Chelsea // The Naked Fig

    What a delicious mix of flavors! So Fresh!

  • Sini | my blue&white kitchen

    This is such a perfect spring dish! I could live in these pictures (except in that puddle).

  • Kristen

    These photos are beautiful. I’ve been in such a salad rut lately, so much so that I’ve almost completely avoided them. I think this will drag me out of that. :)

    Thank you. xx

  • Betty Jo

    Hi Laura,

    I followed your link from Ashley’s Edible Perspective, and am I ever glad I did! Your blog and photography is wonderful. So is your recipe index. I eat basically Paleo but I see scads of recipes here I can adapt. I just tried cauliflower rice for the first time last week, stir fried, and “WOW!” was it incredible. I will definitely be trying your dish from this post. I have a sensitivity to dried beans, “sob”, so will substitute chicken which should work nicely with the other ingredients. Now I’m going to explore your lovely site further.

  • Ashley

    It is 7am and I want to make this now!

  • Deena Kakaya

    What a hearty and colourful take on a classic. I love the variety of textures in this dish. Beautiful pics too x

  • Ashley

    These are some of my favorite photos of yours, ever. Especially the 3rd from the top and 2nd to last. Framers! Also, your words. I feel like we are in a bit of the same place right now and while work is hectic + crazy(good) I’m trying to slow down my mind a bit. Taking more time to notice daily life happenings. Hugs, lady friend. (And…voted :))

  • Ali @ Inspiralized

    The food looks so fresh – I love the use of chickpeas here, very creative. HI, spring!

  • Jo from yummyvege

    Wow that is a salad I can’t wait to try. I take it the chick peas in this recipe are preboiled? I’ve seen other recipes where they are just soaked.

    • Laura Wright

      Hi Jo! The chickpeas are fully cooked. Made a note in the recipe :)

  • Francesca

    The maple syrup seems a little too sweet here. I just can’t imagine it with these other ingredients.

    • Laura Wright

      Hi Francesca, I almost always include some sort of sweet component in any dressing/vinaigrette I make, just to balance flavours and whatnot. You could just leave it out if it’s not your thing.

  • Katie @ Whole Nourishment

    Wow, this is a gorgeous salad, well-worth the schlep to retrieve the chives. ;-) I love everything about it, especially the chipotle and maple additions!

  • Amy @ wrapped in newspaper

    I love how versatile cauliflower is. It’s like, there’s nothing I can’t do you just go and try and I’ll deliver!! I made a roasted cauliflower and garbanzo salad a few weeks back but I think I’ll have to get my food processor out and try this recipe with riced cauliflower this time! Thanks for sharing and congratulations on the nomination!!! X

  • Skye

    I have seen lots of recipes recently with ‘cauliflower rice’, but this one really has me wanting to make it – I love all the colours of the fresh herbs and crunchy chickpeas sound like a heavenly combination. Thanks for the recipe inspiration!

    PS Congratulations on the nomination – so well deserved! :)