There are lots of plant foods you can use to create salad toppings that are, for lack of a better word, “meaty.” Portobello mushrooms are of course the most popular option, along with tofu or tempeh. But vegan cuisine, and the business of meal-sized salad creation on the whole, becomes a lot more interesting when you start thinking outside of the mushroom-tofu box, and start coming up with alternative sources of hearty texture in dishes. A few of my favorite ideas:
-Roasted root vegetables
-Crumbled veggie burger
And now, roasted crucifers are going to be a new “meaty” option for me in big salads. Don’t get me wrong, cauliflower’s not nutrient dense in the same way that lentils or crumbled veggie burgers usually are (not quite as much iron or protein). But it’s got a crispy, satisfying texture that really elevates a salad from a simple vegetable medley to something that feels substantive and special. With the right spice rub–like the incredible one I’m about to share–cauliflower’s destined to be your new salad topper.
This salad has taste, texture, and an incredible array of phytonutrient-rich, colorful plant foods. It’s beautiful to look at, and I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do.
And voila. To save a little time, you can roast the cauliflower a day in advance. But if you do that, you’ll of course have to resist the temptation to eat it all before you ever get to the salad!
I’d probably serve this salad with a solid protein source, like some legumes, some tofu or tempeh, or a quinoa pilaf. A side of brown rice or toast would also be a nice complement. No matter what, enjoy this festive and colorful dish!