Napa and Kale Slaw with Crunchy BBQ Cauliflower & Pickled Jalapeño Ranch

Napa and kale slaw with crunchy BBQ cauliflower, crispy chickpeas, and pickled jalapeño ranch is a vegan, filling, healthy, and crowd-pleasing salad. The creamy dressing is naturally dairy-free!

An overhead shot of a Napa cabbage and kale salad topped with BBQ cauliflower, chickpeas, and creamy dressing.
Image shows ingredients for a salad on a butcher block countertop in a white tiled kitchen.
Image shows flour and water being whisked into a batter.
Image shows battered and baked cauliflower being coated with BBQ sauce.


It’s January and we’re all craving salads, vegetable-heavy stews, and green things galore (and pizza and bread over on my end, but maybe that’s just me). I love salad but the thing is… it’s COLD here. Like it was actually raining down ice pellets the other day. I would open the door to let the dogs out and they would just turn right back around in a loop to get back to the fireplace! So then I get the pleasure of picking them both up and wrangling them outside to do their business. Am I seeking out the comfort of a cold romaine salad upon my return indoors? Nope!

I like slaws made up of hearty winter-y greens this time of year. With warm roasted vegetables on top. And creamy dressing. What’s even better? A napa cabbage and kale slaw with pickled jalapeño ranch dressing, battered and crunchy BBQ cauliflower, and chickpeas! This is for all the salad haters. It has texture galore, sticky BBQ sauce goodness, and my favourite dressing ever I think.

You have to batter pieces of cauliflower and do a double bake on them. Oh and also remember to soak cashews for a dressing. If you make your dressing ahead of time, use a store-bought BBQ sauce, and have all of your napa cabbage and kale pre-sliced, this COULD be weeknight dinner appropriate. I really love my recipe for date BBQ sauce if you’re interested in making it yourself. Going from start to finish might require a bit more time though. Just being honest! I don’t want to lead people astray.

I know we’ve done battered and baked cauliflower recently, but can you ever really get enough? (Oops also got some here in this buffalo cauliflower pizza too!) Plus I do this version with chickpea flour for that extra protein hit. I also just love the way it tastes here with the BBQ sauce, and it’s definitely more affordable than cassava flour (my go-to in the previous recipe).

Also, I’m trying really hard not to buy any pantry stuff this month and instead just ripping through all the weird and wonderful flours (and grains, beans etc) that I
already have. I watched a few episodes of Marie Kondo’s Netflix show and it basically made me want to tear apart my entire house–even my sacred kitchen! I’m going to use up what I can before going KonMari on my cupboards and pantry stock.

So I’ll leave you to this sincerely epic salad with crunchy BBQ cauliflower, and the most ridiculously good creamy/spicy/sweet/ranch-y dressing. Pickled jalapeños are sweet and hot, and when you combine that with creamy cashews, garlic, a little lemon etc., it’s honestly perfect. I could be persuaded to eat it on almost anything. You could even bypass the salad and just dunk the cauliflower in the ranch as a little appetizer/game day nibble. Still sooooo healthy! ;)

Image shows Napa cabbage and kale being washed in a sink.
Image shows a tray of BBQ cauliflower and a second image of a bowl of creamy dressing.
An overhead shot of a Napa cabbage and kale salad topped with BBQ cauliflower, chickpeas, and creamy dressing.
An overhead shot of a Napa cabbage and kale salad topped with BBQ cauliflower, chickpeas, and creamy dressing.
NAPA AND KALE SLAW WITH CRUNCHY BBQ CAULIFLOWER & PICKLED JALAPENO RANCH
Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Napa and Kale Slaw with Crunchy BBQ Cauliflower & Pickled Jalapeño Ranch

Napa and kale slaw with crunchy BBQ cauliflower, crispy chickpeas, and pickled jalapeño ranch is a vegan, filling, and crowd-pleasing salad.
PREP TIME40 mins
COOK TIME55 mins
TOTAL TIME1 hr 35 mins
Diet Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 6
Author: Laura Wright

Equipment

Ingredients

PICKLED JALAPENO RANCH

  • ½ cup raw cashews, soaked for 4 hours and drained
  • ¼ cup filtered water
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 5-6 rings of pickled jalapeño, or more, to taste
  • Splash of pickled jalapeño brine
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 green onion, finely chopped

CHICKPEAS

  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • ½ teaspoon paprika

CAULIFLOWER

  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 small-medium head of cauliflower, about 2ish lbs, broken into thumb-sized florets
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce of choice (plus extra)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

SALAD

  • 1 bunch of lacinato kale, de-stemmed and sliced
  • 1 small head Napa cabbage, sliced
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, cut in half

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Make the pickled jalapeño ranch: In an upright blender, combine the cashews, water, lemon juice, olive oil, pickled jalapeño rings and brine, Dijon mustard, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Blend the mixture on high until completely smooth. Transfer ranch to a bowl. Stir in the green onions, set aside.
  • Crisp the chickpeas: Thoroughly dry the chickpeas with a clean tea towel and place them on one of the baking sheets. Toss them with the olive oil, salt, and paprika to coat. Slide the tray into the oven and roast until chickpeas are slightly brown, slightly shrivelled, and crisp on the outside, about 10 minutes. Remove chickpeas from the oven and let them cool.
  • Batter the cauliflower: In a large bowl, combine the chickpea flour, water, garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper. Whisk until totally smooth. It should be like slightly thick pancake batter. Drop the cauliflower florets into the batter and stir until all pieces are lightly coated. Using a fork or your fingers, carefully transfer battered cauliflower to the baking sheets, leaving 1 inch of space around each floret.
  • Bake the battered cauliflower for 20 minutes. While the cauliflower is baking, clean the large bowl and pour the barbecue sauce and tablespoon of oil in there. Whisk to combine and set aside.
  • After cauliflower has baked for 20 minutes, remove and let cool slightly. Once it’s cool enough to handle, transfer the par-baked cauliflower to the large bowl with the barbecue sauce. Toss to thoroughly coat the cauliflower. Return the cauliflower to the baking sheets with the same amount of space around each floret
  • Bake the cauliflower for another 20 minutes, or until the edges are starting to darken. Remove the cauliflower and let it sit for a full 5 minutes. Brush the florets with more barbecue sauce if you like.
  • While the cauliflower cools slightly, get the salad ready. In a large bowl, combine the kale, napa cabbage, red onion, half of the pickled jalapeño ranch, and some salt and pepper. Toss to combine and thoroughly coat all of the kale and cabbage. Top the salad with the barbecue cauliflower, crisped chickpeas, the grape tomatoes, extra drizzles of the pickled jalapeño ranch, and a few twists of black pepper. Enjoy immediately!

Notes

  • My favourite homemade BBQ sauce is this date-based one that can be found here.
  • This salad would be just as good over some cold and crisp romaine or iceberg lettuce.
  • This looks like a ton of ingredients and steps, but there’s a lot of overlap with the ingredients, and really the hardest thing is doing the double bake on the cauliflower.




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