Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Hummus
This roasted cauliflower salad with hummus is one of those meals I like to call #lazyhealthy. Meaning… there's a (healthy) shortcut and you should take it. For this recipe, you can buy store-bought hummus so all you have to do is throw the cauliflower in the oven, shake up an easy balsamic dressing and ✔️ dinner is done.
Hummus is one of my favorite foods; full of plant-based protein and healthy fats (tahini! extra virgin olive oil!) and good on EVERYTHING. But there’s a caveat. Most store-bought hummus isn’t made with the best ingredients. I always look for hummus made with ✔️ extra virgin olive oil instead of ✖️soybean, ✖️canola oil, or ✖️sunflower oil.
Why? Because vegetable oils, like soybean oil, canola oil, and sunflower oil, are often highly processed with chemical solvents, extreme heat, bleach, and deodorizers, which damage the oil. Soy, rapeseed (what canola oil is made from), and sunflower are cheap to grow, which explains their prevalence, but they are two of the most highly pesticide-sprayed crops - not to mention usually genetically modified. All this to say: these vegetable oils can be very inflammatory to the body and I encourage clients to avoid them when possible.
Extra virgin olive oil, on the other hand, is cold-pressed. The cold press process guarantees that chemicals or heat aren’t used so that all the delicate fatty acids and nutrients in the oil remain intact. Olive oil has been shown to be beneficial for heart health protect against certain types of cancer (source and source).
So what’s a hummus-lover to do? Don’t worry, you have options!
The most delicious and rewarding solution is to make your own. This hummus recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks of all-time, Jerusalem, takes some work but results in the best, creamiest hummus ever. For a quicker hummus, try this 3-Minute Hummus.
You can also go the store-bought route. Here are three Loveleaf Co. approved brands that use extra virgin olive oil (no processed vegetable oils). You should be able to find one - or all - of these brands at Whole Foods Market or your local health food store.
Because you know we’re all about digestion for optimal health, a quick note about chickpeas. Chickpeas (and beans in general) can be difficult for some people to digest because of the presence of phytic acid. Phytic acid is a natural antioxidant compound found in plants that can lower the nutrient availability of food. Soaking beans helps eliminate phytic acid, which can help increase mineral absorption and make beans more digestible. Traditional cultures always soaked legumes, grains, nuts, and seeds - all relatively high in phytic acid - and this simple process can make all the difference.
To reduce the phytic acid in chickpeas, simply soak dried chickpeas in cold water for twelve hours, and then drain and rinse several times before cooking (and then eating or turning into hummus). This hummus recipe has the soaking process built in.
Note: Canned chickpeas are not soaked but many people can digest chickpeas without issue as they have a lower phytic acid content than most legumes. If you have digestive issues start here.
Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Hummus
1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for roasting cauliflower
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1 (10-oz) container hummus (see my favorite brands here)
1 (15-oz) can chickpeas, drained
1 large avocado
4 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
mint leaves, for garnish, optional
Roast the cauliflower. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Arrange cauliflower florets evenly on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with a bit of extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast 30-35 minutes or until starting to crisp and brown, flipping halfway through. Set aside.
Meanwhile, make the dressing. Add 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, and chopped parsley in a small jar and shake until well combined. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Serve the salad. Spread 2 tablespoons hummus on each serving plate. Top each plate evenly with roasted cauliflower, a few tablespoons of chickpeas, and the sliced avocado. Drizzle with balsamic dressing and garnish each dish with 1 tablespoon sesame seeds and a few leaves of mint, if using.