This make-ahead Cauliflower Fennel Salad recipe is just perfect for potlucks. The tangy vinaigrette transforms this simple salad into a taste sensation!
Crunchy cauliflower, refreshing fennel, and a tangy lemon vinaigrette is the basis for this tasty make-ahead salad.
If you are familiar with the licorice-like flavor of fennel, you know it pairs wonderfully with citrus fruits as well as roasted vegetables.
If you are not particularly fond of adding raw fennel to salads, you can always try adding grilled fennel. The taste transformation from licorice to sweet when grilling this vegetable is truly spectacular.
As in most salad recipes, the most time-consuming part is chopping all the vegetables. So grab your cutting board and the sharpest knife you have so that we can begin..
Let’s Prep our Refreshing Salad:
Before we begin chopping, place a couple of liters of water in a pot of water, cover and bring to a bowl.
Just a gentle reminder to properly rinse your fruit and vegetables under running water and pat them dry.
Separate 1 head of cauliflower into florets and place in a nonreactive bowl. Glass or ceramic works well.
Next, cut 1 organic lemon into very thin slices and place it in the same bowl with the cauliflower.
Finally, cut the stalks from one fennel bulb. Trim a very thin slice from the base of the bulb and remove any of the outer tough layers if they appear to be blemished. You can use a peeler to remove any spots.
Dice the fennel and set aside. Reserve the fronds to garnish the salad.
HOW TO MAKE THIS CAULIFLOWER FENNEL SALAD:
You can now proceed with the unconventional method of pouring boiling water and totally submerging the cauliflower and lemon. Allow standing together for about 8 minutes.
In the meanwhile, let’s prepare the vinaigrette by simply shaking all of the ingredients together in a mason jar.
The vinaigrette ingredients are ½ cup olive oil, ¼ cup white vinegar, juice of 1 lemon, 2 tablespoons of chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley, 2 teaspoons of freshly chopped oregano, 1 teaspoon of dry mustard, 1 minced garlic clove and of course salt and pepper.
Strain the water from the cauliflower and lemon. Add the diced fennel and 1 cup of pitless olives.
Add the tangy vinaigrette and toss everything together.
Refrigerate for a couple of hours or up to 2 days in an airtight container. When ready to serve, just toss in about 2 cups of cherry tomato halves.
Taste and adjust seasonings.
Garnish with fennel fronds and serve.
Aren’t the bright colors of this fennel salad recipe just wonderful?
Tips and Tricks:
- There is an idle refrigeration time of 2 hours in order for the flavors to marinate. Do not skip this step.
- Add the tomatoes just before serving the salad, this prevents them from becoming mealy.
- Feel free to use your favorite herbs and spices.
- Refrigerate for up to 3 days.
What goes well with this salad?
Italian Salads we Love:
- Italian Tomato Cucumber Salad
- Arugula Cherry Tomato Salad
- Italian Potato Salad
- Tomato Mozzarella Salad
- Italian Chopped Salad
Origins of this Cauliflower Salad Recipe:
Ever since I can remember and still to this day, I am a big fan of Elizabeth Baird, one of the former food editors of Canadian Living Magazine.
As a result, I have countless cookbooks that she authored. One such cookbook is “Vegetarian Dishes, Canadian Living’s best”, which was first published in 1997.
I immediately fell in love with the simplicity, convenience, and adaptability of this recipe.
I tweaked the ingredients of the vinaigrette to suit my families’ taste – feel free to do the same. The other change I made was the addition of green olives and fennel.
This is one of my go-to fennel salad recipes for potlucks or buffet parties…, especially in the summer.
Hopefully, you will enjoy it as much as I do.
THANKS SO MUCH for following and being part of the She Loves Biscotti community where you will find Simple & Tasty Family-Friendly Recipes with an Italian Twist.
Ciao for now,
★★★★★ If you have made this refreshing salad, I would love to hear about it in the comments below and be sure to rate the recipe!
Cauliflower Fennel Salad
- 1 head cauliflower separated in florets
- 1 lemon thinly sliced
- 1 head fennel chopped
- 1 cup olives green and/or black
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes halved
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup white vinegar
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons Italian parsley fresh
- 2 teaspoons oregano minced, fresh or 1 teaspoon dry
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 clove garlic minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a non-reactive bowl, pour boiling water over the cauliflower and lemon and allow to stand together for about 8 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine all of the ingredients for the vinaigrette together in a mason jar. Set aside.
- Drain water from cauliflower and lemons and place in a non-reactive mixing bowl.
- Add the fennel.
- Pour the vinaigrette over the vegetables and toss everything together.
- Cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours or up to 2 days in an airtight container.
- Just before serving, add sliced tomatoes and toss together.
- Taste and adjust seasonings.
- Garnish with fennel fronds and serve.