Nigella Lawson's warm spiced cauliflower and chickpea salad




Nigella Lawson's warm spiced cauliflower and chickpea salad

Keiko Oikawa.

This is one of my favourite suppers, although there’s nothing that says you can’t serve this as a vegetable side as part of a more conventional meal. And you could also bolster it further by crumbling in some feta.- Nigella


  • 1 small head cauliflower
  • 3 tbsp regular olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups chickpeas , home-cooked or drained from a can or jar
  • 1 - 2 tbsp harissa paste , to taste (and depending on the heat of the harissa)
  • 4 smallish ripe vine tomatoes , (approx. 6 ounces total)
  • 1 tsp sea salt , or kosher salt (to taste)
  • 3 - 4 tbsp pomegranate seeds
  • 2 1/2 cups Italian parsley leaves



  • Preheat the oven to 425°F. Trim the cauliflower and divide into small florets. Pour the oil into a large bowl, add the cinnamon  and cumin seeds, and stir or whisk to help the spices disperse. Tip in the prepared  cauliflower  and toss to coat. Pour the contents of the bowl into a small oven pan (I mostly  use a disposable foil baking pan measuring 12 x 8 inches) and place in the oven for 15 minutes. Don’t wash out the bowl you’ve been using just yet.
  • Add the chickpeas to this bowl, and add the harissa, tasting it first to see if you want both tablespoonfuls, and, at the risk of being repetitive, toss to coat. Quarter the tomatoes and add them to the bowl, and shake or stir to mix. When the cauliflower has had its 15 minutes, remove the pan, quickly tip the chickpeas  and tomatoes over the cauliflower, and toss to combine before returning to the oven for a further 15 minutes until the cauliflower  is tender.
  • When it’s ready, remove from the oven and sprinkle the salt over the vegetables, then (and this isn’t the last time) toss to combine with half of the pomegranate seeds before dividing between 2 bowls. Divide the parsley leaves – without chopping them – between  the 2 bowls and toss to mix. Scatter with the remaining pomegranate seeds.


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For me, it is perfect  just as it is: the tomatoes almost ooze into a dressing in the oven, and the cauliflower softens, but not soggily. For choice, I’d always use home-cooked chickpeas  (I cook batches in my slow cooker and freeze them in 1½-cup portions for everyday use), but otherwise I like the pre-cooked Spanish chickpeas in jars. Yes, they are more expensive than the canned variety, but the cheapest option is always to buy dried. Don’t feel bad about using chickpeas out of a can, though – I have been known to, myself. One can’t always be so organized to have the freezer stashed with cooked chickpeas, and so I am always well stocked with canned chickpeas. They do work here, it’s just that they won’t be as soft; but then, you don’t necessarily need them to be. The cauliflower and juicy tomatoes can stand some nubbliness.

The parsley  is not a garnish – ugh, that word – but used, here, as a salad leaf. And this is also very, very good cold, so if you have some left over, it makes a fabulous box lunch, or provides instant gratification on those days you have to eat fridge-side, with your coat still on, you’re so hungry.

Excerpted from Simply Nigella by Nigella Lawson. Recipes copyright © 2015 Nigella Lawson, Photography copyright © 2015 Keiko Oikawa. Published by Appetite by Random House, a division of Random House of Canada Ltd., a Penguin Random House Company. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.