cauliflower salad with nectarines, avocado and pistachio dukkah - The First Messpin it!cauliflower salad with nectarines, avocado and pistachio dukkah - The First Messpin it!for cauliflower salad with nectarines, avocado and pistachio dukkah - The First Messpin it!pistachio dukkah - The First Messpin it!
I’m guilty of this, but it seems like cauliflower gets a lot of attention as a cold weather vegetable. It tends to do better with the cozy and winter-y cooking treatments (roasting, mashing, and simmering into a creamy soup, among other things), so I guess that’s why? Whatever the case, it’s in season right now where I live, and this salad just sort of came to me when I put a couple heads of it in my shopping bag the other day. I have a hunch I’ll be making it all summer though.

Have you ever had dukkah? It’s a mixture of toasted and ground spices with nuts and seeds. It kind of works like a spiced, savoury sprinkle. At its base application, you can dip a nice piece of bread into some olive oil and then dip it again in the dukkah. So delicious and satisfying in its simplicity. I like to make up batches of this mix, tweaking it a little bit every time in terms of nuts used and the ratio of spices/seeds.  I put it on all sorts of things that need a bit more flavour/protein/fat or a new textural element.

I thought about grilling the pieces of cauliflower for this at first, but then I also thought about tediously flipping all those little pieces and swearing when the wee ones slipped through the grates. So I went for a quick cast iron sear instead. This is a minimal effort but high impact sort of affair that fits just right for summer suppers. Once you have the dukkah out of the way, this one comes together in about 15 minutes. The nuttiness of the browned cauliflower with the juicy nectarines, fresh mint, lemon, and creamy avocado is really exciting when you get a well-selected mouthful. When I make a composed salad like this, I’m really careful to get every little component on my fork as often as I can ;)

With that, I’ll leave you to the recipe. It’s my man’s birthday this week so I have a beach trip to sort out and a million chocolate and peanut butter desserts to comb through before I decide what to make. If you’ve got a recommendation, send it over! All my hugs and love, all the time xo

for cauliflower salad with nectarines, avocado and pistachio dukkah - The First Messpin it!for cauliflower salad with nectarines, avocado and pistachio dukkah - The First Messpin it!for cauliflower salad with nectarines, avocado and pistachio dukkah - The First Messpin it!cauliflower salad with nectarines, avocado and pistachio dukkah - The First Messpin it!cauliflower salad with nectarines, avocado and pistachio dukkah - The First Messpin it!
Print the recipe here!
NOTESRoasting the cauliflower in the oven is a more hands-free option if you’re into that (it’s a little hot for me to turn the oven on these days). Just toss the cauliflower florets in about 2 teaspoons of olive oil, salt, and some pepper on a baking sheet. Then slide the whole thing into a 400 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes, or until the florets are evenly golden brown.

This salad doesn’t have a dressing, and that’s by design because I wanted to go minimal on the effort here (outside of some meditative pistachio shelling). I sauté the cauliflower florets in garlic olive oil and stir them up with lemon juice, so that treatment sort of becomes the “dressing” in a way.

Another thing: most dukkah recipes will have you roasting raw nuts and then salting the dukkah at the end. I skipped this and used roasted and salted pistachios. Call me lazy, but it IS summer right? ;) Ways to use extra dukkah: sprinkle it on your avocado toast, over plates of hummus, on roasted vegetables, stirred up into yogurt-based sauces, spooned straight into your face etc.

2 cups roasted & salted pistachios, shells removed (you should have about ¾ cup of nuts total)
1 tablespoon coriander seeds, toasted
1 tablespoon cumin seeds, toasted
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
1 teaspoon nigella seeds (optional)
½ teaspoon chili flakes (optional)

1 tablespoon olive oil (I used a garlic olive oil, but that’s optional)
1 head of cauliflower, cored and cut into small florets
Sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
juice of ½ a lemon, about 1 tablespoon
1-2 nectarines, pitted and sliced
1 small, ripe avocado, peeled and chopped
1 hearty sprig of mint, leaves thinly sliced
big handful of the dukkah

Make the dukkah: grind the shelled pistachios in either a mortar and pestle, a food processor, or a dry-blade blender pitcher. You want a chunky/chopped consistency with a few large bits of pistachio in the mix. Transfer the ground pistachios to a medium bowl. Grind the coriander and cumin seeds in a spice grinder and add them to the bowl with the pistachios. Add the sesame seeds, nigella seeds and chili flakes to the bowl as well. Stir to combine. Store dukkah in a sealable jar and set aside.

Make the cauliflower salad: heat a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil to the skillet. Add the cauliflower florets and spread them out in an even layer. Let the cauliflower florets sear for a good two minutes. Stir the cauliflower up and season it with salt and pepper. Cook until the cauliflower is just tender and evenly browned. Turn off the heat and stir in the lemon juice.

Transfer the cauliflower to a serving platter. Top the cauliflower with the sliced nectarines, avocado, mint, and a hearty handful of the dukkah. Serve the cauliflower salad immediately.

  • Alexandra13/07/2016 - 8:16 am

    Ooh, I love your suggestion of using dukkah as a ‘dip’ for bread. So doing that at my next dinner party :)ReplyCancel

  • Tori//Gringalicious13/07/2016 - 8:49 am

    Simply divine! Cauliflower is one of my absolute favorite veggies so this salad has my name all over it. And your photos are stunning!ReplyCancel

  • Shelley13/07/2016 - 8:52 am

    The styling of this plate of salad is beyond stunning! Love all the different components, and totally feel you on trying to capture everything in one fork full/bite. Happy early birthday to your man, and have fun at the beach!ReplyCancel

  • Maya | Spice + Sprout13/07/2016 - 9:37 am

    So beautiful! Very into the cauliflower summertime love here, definitely a veggie that is good in all seasons <3ReplyCancel

  • Sophie | The Green Life13/07/2016 - 9:59 am

    Your salad styling skills are seriously on point. This is so stunning, Laura! And I bet it tastes just as delicious as it looks! Have a fabulous time at the beach and a happy birthday to your man. I can’t wait to see what dessert you end up making. <3ReplyCancel

  • Sawyer13/07/2016 - 10:41 am

    I’ve never heard of dukkah before! I wouldn’t have thought to use pistachios but that flavor combination sounds divine.ReplyCancel

  • Robin | CaliGirl Cooking13/07/2016 - 11:30 am

    Wow, this looks amazingly delicious!!! Sooooo many of my favorite things, especially the dukkah! Definitely adding this to my list to make ASAP :-)ReplyCancel

  • Julia @ Sprinkles & Saturdays13/07/2016 - 11:31 am

    Wow, this is gorgeous! I’ve never had dukkah but it sounds delicious, thank you for the explanation! I’m also very impressed by your artful cut of the avocado, mine is a total work in progress and rarely turns out that perfect :)

  • KayN13/07/2016 - 11:35 am

    Laura, we’ve never met but I officially love you…ReplyCancel

  • Lisa Bryan | Downshiftology13/07/2016 - 12:42 pm

    The flavors and ingredients in this salad have me seriously salivating. And that sliced avo pic – yes! So gorgeous Laura!ReplyCancel

  • Allyson13/07/2016 - 1:33 pm

    Oh, I love the look of this. I always think of cauliflower as a cold weather vegetable as well, but I think that’s because my default preparation is roasting. I can’t wait to try this and sear the cauliflower.ReplyCancel

  • Elenore13/07/2016 - 3:22 pm

    Love and hugs to you always as well. This salad holds a few of my favorites and I also think cauliflower is vastly underrated during the warmer months. Now off you go to have a fantastic birthday week with your man. Birthday wishes to him all the way from Sweden!ReplyCancel

  • Jessie Snyder13/07/2016 - 3:58 pm

    I know I say this (almost) every week, but you really do blow me away Laura. You’re creativity, the flavors, the textures, the photos – it all paints the most calming and inspiring picture. I’m so grateful for this space. I’ve never sautéed cauliflower before, and this sounds like it would pair so well with the summer stone fruit + avocados like you have here. Brilliant! xxReplyCancel

  • valentina | sweet kabocha13/07/2016 - 5:08 pm

    In Italy, I used to have a big jar of dukkah which l sprinkle everywhere – as I commented on the last Green Kitchen Stories’ post, over nice-cream too! – but I haven’t done it here in California yet. Thanks for the remind!ReplyCancel

  • renee (will frolic for food)13/07/2016 - 5:37 pm

    perfectly seared cauli situation! i LOVE your composed salads. they’re always such a treat to look at (and even more of a treat to eat!). loving this mix of macro shots and more composed shots. that gorgeous textural salad against the soft white cloth is perfect :)ReplyCancel

  • renee (will frolic for food)13/07/2016 - 5:38 pm

    also happy birthday to your love! i hope all his choc pb dreams come true.ReplyCancel

  • Chelsey13/07/2016 - 9:41 pm

    Delicious and visually appealing as always. Perhaps a raw chocolate tart with peanut butter crust and sauce?ReplyCancel

  • VEGANCHEATER14/07/2016 - 4:12 am

    This salad looks absolutely delicious :) So summery and fresh, love it!ReplyCancel

  • Jodi14/07/2016 - 12:24 pm

    That avocado! I can’t stop looking at it. The way you’ve styled this salad is crazy beautiful Laura, perfect pre-peanut buttter chocolate feasting :) Happy days to you + yours xReplyCancel

  • Sarah | Well and Full14/07/2016 - 3:28 pm

    My favorite way to have dukkah is on top of avocado toast – the creamy avocado + the crunchy texture of the dukkah is a match made in heaven! Also, that shot of the mint is sublime. You have such a gift for capturing food in its purest form. :)ReplyCancel

  • Chelsea19/07/2016 - 10:19 pm

    Oh, I could stare at these pictures all day! I can’t wait to make a big batch of dukkah and start sprinkling it on everything!ReplyCancel

  • Kris21/07/2016 - 11:29 am

    I made this for dinner last night and it was divine! What a lovely combination of flavours and totally unexpected! <3ReplyCancel

  • mia21/07/2016 - 3:44 pm

    I’ve never heard of dukkah but this sounds like something I would love to try. Looks so amazing and I love all of the ingredients!ReplyCancel

  • Amy | The Whole Food Rainbow25/07/2016 - 3:41 pm

    Oh wow that salad is just beyond beautiful, it really is. So tantalising too. Dukkah is wonderful isn’t it, great idea of having it with bread and oil too :)ReplyCancel

  • Cassie27/07/2016 - 11:07 am

    I love cauliflower, nectarines and pistachios! I never would’ve thought of combining all three of them :)ReplyCancel

  • Sophie Holdstock31/07/2016 - 8:41 pm

    Holy. Shiz. Is all I can say about this. Well, okay, not really. Thank you again Laura for rockin’ my food world. Often when I see fruit and veg mixed, I’m liked “aww man, seems complicated.” I don’t know where I got that notion. This is the opposite of complicated and the most delicious thing I have eaten in a while. Thank you thank you for dukkah-ing up my routine.ReplyCancel

  • […] Vegan cauliflower salad with nectarines and pistachio dukkah […]ReplyCancel

  • […] right? It’s a chill weeknight dinner that makes totally excellent leftovers. I keep making pistachio dukkah, so I sprinkled some over mine–amazing! Hope you guys try this one […]ReplyCancel

  • Carol Peterson08/09/2016 - 2:40 pm

    I’m kinda obsessed with cauliflower lately, I’m making it everyday for lunch and this recipe just made me even more into it. I tried it today and it is soooo delicious! I’m doing it again this weekend so my mother can try it. Thank you so much for it!ReplyCancel

  • Kim17/08/2017 - 12:13 pm

    Wow, this receipe is f***ing awesome!!! I just couldn’t stop grinning eating this, because every bite I took was so freaking full of different flavors, which blended perfectly together. Even the Mr. said – really strange, but tasty! Thank you so much for this great inspiration! Best KimReplyCancel

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