Super Crunchy Salad. Photo by Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post.
You can never have too many crunchy, cruciferous salads in your summer repertoire. They’re essential at cookouts where they provide contrasting texture and complementary nutrition for grilled proteins. They’re built to hold up, resisting wilting and mushiness, so they can be proudly passed around at picnics, or refrigerated for several days for an instantaneous meal with, say, chickpeas, a hard-cooked egg or leftover chicken.
Cabbage is arguably the most common starting point for this kind of salad, with slaw variations galore, but it can be fun to explore other vegetables in the family, using shredded, raw Brussels sprouts or blanched, chopped broccoli as a base, for example.
For this recipe I was aiming for maximum crunch and a package of already-riced cauliflower at the grocery store was calling my name. You could pick up a bag of it, or rice cauliflower yourself using a box grater or food processor, if you prefer.
Combined with a colorful medley of diced red bell pepper, red onion, kohlrabi (or broccoli stems or celery,) plus lots of fresh, chopped parsley and nutty sunflower seeds, all tossed in a lemon-olive oil dressing, it makes for a salad that brings that essential, hearty crunch in a delightfully unexpected way. I think you’ll agree it deserves a top spot in the summer salad lineup.
Super Crunchy Salad
6 servings (makes 4 1/2 cups)
This colorful, crunchy salad, made with a base of cauliflower rice, which you can buy prepared or make yourself, is a refreshing alternative to a slaw at a summer cookout or picnic, and it holds up well in the refrigerator for an instantaneous meal with some protein added.
Make Ahead: The salad may be assembled, minus the toasted sunflower seeds, up to 2 days in advance of serving; refrigerate until ready to serve.
Storage Notes: Refrigerate leftovers for up to 2 days.
NOTE: To rice cauliflower, cut the half-head of cauliflower into two or three large pieces, each with some stem attached. Holding each piece by the stem, grate the top part of the cauliflower on the large holes of a box grater to form rice-like pieces, until you have about 3 cups Alternatively, you can cut the half cauliflower into florets, removing as much of the stem as possible, and grate the florets in a food processor using the grater attachment. Save the stems and any remaining cauliflower for another use.
1/2 cup raw unsalted sunflower seeds
3 cups (8 ounces) fresh riced cauliflower (store-bought or from 1/2 head cauliflower, see NOTE; do not use frozen)
1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 red bell pepper, finely diced
1/2 cup finely diced, peeled kohlrabi, broccoli stems or celery
1/3 cup finely diced red onion
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
In a small dry skillet over medium-high heat, toast the sunflower seeds, tossing frequently, until golden and fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and let cool completely.
In a large bowl, toss together the riced cauliflower, parsley, bell pepper, kohlrabi, onion, oil, lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper. (If not serving right away, refrigerate in an airtight container.)
When ready to serve, stir in the toasted sunflower seeds.
Nutrition information per serving (3/4 cup) | Calories: 172; Total Fat: 15 g; Saturated Fat: 2 g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 216 mg; Carbohydrates: 8 g; Dietary Fiber: 4 g; Sugar: 3 g; Protein: 4 g
This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not substitute for a dietitian’s or nutritionist’s advice.
From cookbook author and registered nutritionist dietitian Ellie Krieger.