roasted cauliflower salad with pomegranate and hazelnuts

roasted cauliflower and hazelnut salad on millys-kitchen.com

For those of you in the US, I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving! Ours was much better than I expected. As I wrote in my last post, I had been having a hard time getting in the holiday spirit after the election. A few days before Thanksgiving (with no menu whatsoever in place) I happened upon this article, which gave me the idea to draw on Middle Eastern flavors for our holiday meal. The bright flavors of Turkey, Iran, Lebanon and Israel felt like just what I needed to lift me out of my funk.

So I decided to scrap the turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce in favor of lemony leek meatballs; a basmati pilaf with chickpeas, currants and dill; homemade flatbread with za’atar; cucumber yogurt and a beautiful pink beet hummus. The star of the dinner, though, was this roasted cauliflower salad with pomegranate and hazelnuts. 

roasted cauliflower and hazelnut salad on millys-kitchen.com
roasted cauliflower and hazelnut salad on millys-kitchen.com
roasted cauliflower and hazelnut salad on millys-kitchen.com

The recipe comes from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi--one of my all-time favorite cookbooks. This salad is earthy, nutty, sweet and tart all at once. The silky texture of the roasted cauliflower is balanced by the crunch of raw celery and toasty hazelnuts. The fact that this salad sits at the unlikely intersection of so many contrasting flavors and textures is a large part of it’s appeal. The fact that it’s beautiful and healthy doesn’t hurt either.

After I made this for Thanksgiving, I realized how festive those jewel-toned colors are--perfect for adding a bright splash to your holiday table. Or a quick weeknight supper. Either way, you can’t go wrong. 

cauliflower and hazelnut salad on millys-kitchen.com

And in case you’re wondering, my post-election blues seem to be fading. I’ve been talking to friends about meaningful ways to take action and stand up for what I believe in. And gathering around the table with loved ones as often as possible. Which, in my opinion, is the best ways to cure any sort of blues.

roasted cauliflower and hazelnut salad on millys-kitchen.com

Roasted Cauliflower and Hazelnut Salad

  • 5 tablespoons hazelnuts, raw or toasted
  • 1 large head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
  • ¼ cup olive oil, divided
  • Kosher or sea salt, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 2 large stalks celery, cut on the bias into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1/4 cup celery leaves
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley leaves

*Note: I recommend toasting your own hazelnuts for this recipe so their dark, nutty flavor really comes through. But pre-roasted nuts will do in a pinch.

roasted cauliflower and hazelnut salad on millys-kitchen.com

If you are using raw hazelnuts: preheat your oven to 325° F. Spread the hazelnuts on a rimmed sheet pan and roast until the skins start to loosen and the nuts turn golden-brown and fragrant, 8-12 minutes  Transfer the hot hazelnuts to a clean tea towel. Gather the four corners of the towel and twist them together to form a parcel around the hazelnuts. Rub vigorously to remove as many skins as possible. Set aside until cool enough to handle.

Increase the oven temperature to 475° F. Place the cauliflower on a parchment lined sheet pan, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and toss with a generous pinch of salt. Roast until browned in spots and tender, 15-20 minutes. Set aside to cool.

In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, sherry vinegar, maple syrup, cinnamon, allspice and a pinch of salt. Set aside.

Roughly chop the hazelnuts and place them in a large bowl along with the cauliflower, pomegranate seeds, celery, celery leaves, parsley and the vinaigrette. Stir to coat, taste, and adjust seasonings.

Serve at room temperature.

Makes 3-4 side-dish servings.
Adapted slightly from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

roasted cauliflower and hazelnut salad on millys-kitchen.com

swiss chard and winter squash salad with pomegranate vinaigrette

swiss chard and squash salad // millys-kitchen.com
swiss chard and squash salad // millys-kitchen.com

I’m a little later getting this post up than I’d hoped. This is mainly because I was in a foul mood when I returned to Seattle from my trip to Portugal, Brussels and Paris. 

Monday was especially rough. I woke to a gunmetal sky and crushing rain. The idea of returning to the daily mundanities of doing dishes, answering email and paying bills left me huddled beneath the covers, imagining myself back to the limestone streets of Lisbon. Eventually, I managed to roll out of bed, dress and get on with the business of day-to-day life. 

home // millys-kitchen.com

Somewhere in the middle of this stormy week, a small shift took hold. I unpacked my suitcases and fell into the familiar rhythms of cooking breakfast, doing laundry, watering plants. I snuggled my cat and brewed pots of tea. I settled into being Home.

home // millys-kitchen.com

When I was finally ready to sit down and write this post, it occurred to me that those little rituals of home are what cured me of my post-travel blues. And none more so than the pleasure of being back in my own kitchen, cooking for loved ones.

home // millys-kitchen.com
home // millys-kitchen.com

Thanksgiving is right around the corner. And while I’m not a huge fan of all the holiday pomp, I am ever in favor of cooking for those you love. I made this salad for Beau and I this week and realized that it would be right at home on the holiday table. Any leftover salad is wonderful with pieces of roast chicken (or turkey) tossed in. And I have a hunch that a few spoonfuls of cranberry sauce would play right along with the sweet squash and toasty pine nuts. 

swiss chard and squash salad // millys-kitchen.com
swiss chard and squash salad // millys-kitchen.com

I’m finally feeling happy to be home. I’m looking forward to the traditions that make the holidays bright. And, more than ever, I’m appreciating the little rituals that connect our days. For me, one of those rituals is sharing my travels and photos and recipes with you. So thank you for being here, part of the home it feels so good to return to!

Swiss Chard and Winter Squash Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette

  • 2 lbs. delicata squash, halved lengthwise, seeded and sliced into 1/4-inch thick half moons
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for roasting the squash
  • Sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1 small shallot, minced (should yield 2-3 tablespoons)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, stems removed and torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed and torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly torn if large
  • 3 tablespoons mint leaves, roughly torn if large
  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta
swiss chard and squash salad // millys-kitchen.com

* Notes: I like the way the delicata looks in this salad and the fact that you don’t have to peel it , but any winter squash will work here. If you’re using a different squash, I recommend cutting it into 3/4 cubes (for a squash like butternut) or 1/2 inch slices (for a squash like acorn). Cook time will vary depending on the squash and how thickly you’ve cut it, but should range from 20-35 minutes.

- For this salad, I look for Swiss chard with white stems. The ones with red and orange stems have a mineral beet flavor that I don't like as well in this recipe.

- I use lacinato kale in raw salads because I think it's the most tender. 

swiss chard and squash salad // millys-kitchen.com

Preheat the oven to 475°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Place the squash on the sheet pan and toss with olive oil to lightly coat. Season generously with salt and pepper. Roast, turning squash after 10 minutes, until light golden-brown and cooked through, about 20-25 minutes total. When the squash is done roasting, set it aside to cool.

While the squash is cooking, make the vinaigrette. In a medium bowl, combine the shallot, red wine vinegar, pomegranate molasses, a generous pinch of salt and a few grindings of black pepper. If you have time, let this sit for 10-15 minutes to mellow the shallot. Whisk in 6 tablespoons of olive oil. Taste and adjust seasonings. Set aside.

swiss chard and squash salad // millys-kitchen.com

To assemble, place the Swiss chard and kale in a large bowl. Add the mint, parsley, 2/3 of the cooled squash and half the pine nuts to the bowl with the greens. Lightly dress the salad with the vinaigrette. Taste and add a bit more dressing if necessary. Arrange the salad on a serving platter and top with the rest of the squash and pine nuts. Crumble the feta over the top and serve.

Makes 4-6 servings.

home // millys-kitchen.com