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
FOR THE CHICKPEAS AND DRESSING
- 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
- 1½ teaspoons maple syrup/raw honey
FOR THE SALAD
- 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
- ⅓ 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.