Shaved Cauliflower Salad with Pickled Onion, Pears, Brussels Sprouts, Watercress, Medjool Dates and Cashews is crunchy, juicy, sweet and tangy – it’s a party in your mouth.
Recently, my husband and I sampled a shaved cauliflower salad at a local restaurant. I’ve eaten my share of roasted cauliflower, and made salads with cauliflower florets, but I’ve never tried shaving it before. It was an interesting combination of cauliflower, Medjool dates and cashews in a white balsamic dressing. I recreated my own version at home, adding pickled onions, brussels sprouts, and watercress served with a honey white balsamic dressing.
Shaving cauliflower is fairly labor intensive, so I would highly recommend making this for two people as opposed to a crowd. Although I have a regular size mandoline, I used my mini mandoline (OXO makes a mini hand-held mandoline) to shave both the cauliflower and brussels sprouts. The trick is to cut the cauliflower in half before shaving it so you have a flat surface to work with. For the brussels sprouts, I sliced off a bit of each sprout to make a flat surface too before shaving it.
You’ll be left with lots of smaller pieces of cauliflower and brussels sprout ends, but don’t throw any of this out. I tossed all the little bits and pieces together with olive oil, salt and pepper, and roasted them for dinner.
This salad is full of textures and balances sweet and bitter flavors. Watercress adds some brightness and a little bitterness that’s balanced with sweet Medjool dates and honey, juicy pears, and toasted cashews. The dressing is a simple combination of flaxseed oil, honey and white balsamic vinegar (Trader Joe’s carries this).
If you’re looking for a new way to enjoy cauliflower, give this Shaved Cauliflower Salad with Pickled Onion, Pears, Brussels Sprouts, Watercress, Medjool Dates and Cashews a try – you won’t be disappointed, I promise.
- ½ cup unfiltered apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon organic sugar
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 red onion, halved, thinly sliced
- 2 cups cauliflower florets (larger ones)
- 2 cups brussels sprouts, bottoms trimmed and loose outer leaves removed
- 2 cups watercress
- 1 pear, peeled, sliced
- 2 tablespoons toasted cashews
- 4 Medjool dates, pitted, chopped
- 1 tablespoon flaxseed oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
- Mix together vinegar, salt and sugar in a small container until sugar and salt dissolve; add sliced onions and toss gently; let sit at room temperature for an hour; refrigerate if you're not using right away.
- Thinly slice cauliflower florets and brussels sprouts using mandoline. You will have smaller pieces that break off (save these and make Roasted Cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts for another meal).
- Lay watercress in bottoms of 2 individual salad bowls. Layer shaved cauliflower, brussels sprouts and pears on top. Add a few slices of pickled onion. Sprinkle with toasted cashews and chopped dates.
- Whisk together Dressing ingredients. Drizzle on top of salad and serve.