vegan salad
5 from 2 votes
-
Noha Elbadry-Cloud

This Vegan Salad recipe is excerpted from Noha’s cookbook ‘The Vegan Middle Eastern’. Noha Elbadry-Cloud is the recipe creator, writer, and photographer behind @leeksnbeets on Instagram. Noha enjoys crafting recipes focused on showcasing the beauty of whole food plant-based eating, often with a Middle Eastern twist. In addition, she loves sharing quick, easy, and delicious vegan meals in short videos. Her work has been featured in Vegan Bowls’ cookbook Simple Swaps and on the Vegan Bowls website. It has also been featured on the Instagram accounts for the feedfeedvegan, THRIVE magazine, Best of Vegan and Pop Sugar.

Roasted Cauliflower Vegan Salad

This salad combines everything I love about Middle Eastern and vegan cooking, and it is as far away from boring as it’s possible to get. It combines freekeh/freek, a whole grain made from unripe durum wheat, with perfectly roasted cauliflower, peppery arugula and a sweet and intensely savory date and sun-dried tomato salsa. The salad is drizzled with a chia seed–preserved lemon dressing that’s equal parts sour, salty and crunchy. I used North African, Levantine and Arabian Peninsula ingredients here to show how homogeneous various Middle Eastern cuisines can be, and this salad has become a mainstay in my household ever since.

Ingredients You’ll Need

For the Salad

  • Cauliflower florets
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Coarse freekeh
  • Vegetable bouillon
  • Arugula
  • Pine nuts

For the Salsa

  • Medjool dates
  • Tomatoes
  • Shallot
  • Parsley
  • Green olives
  • Serrano pepper
  • Lime juice
  • Sea salt

For the Dressing

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Lemon
  • Lemon brine
  • Lemon juice
  • Maple syrup
  • Thyme leaves
  • Black pepper
  • Sea salt
  • Chia seeds

How To Make This Vegan Salad

Step 1: Roast the Cauliflower

Preheat the oven to 400°F (205°C) and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the cauliflower, olive oil and salt. Mix well and transfer it to the sheet pan. Roast, flipping once halfway through, until golden and crispy, about 25 minutes. Remove the sheet pan from the oven, and let the cauliflower cool to room temperature.

Step 2: Cook and Cool the Freekeh

In a medium pot, combine the freekeh, bouillon and 2¼ cups (540 ml) of water. Bring it to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and cook until all or most of the water has been absorbed and freekeh has softened, 35 to 40 minutes. Drain any leftover water; the freekeh should be a bit chewy, similar to barley or brown rice. Remove it from the heat and let it cool to room temperature.

Step 3: Craft the Salsa and Dressing

To make the salsa, place the dates, sun-dried tomatoes, shallot, parsley, olives, serrano pepper (if using), lime juice and salt in a medium bowl. Mix well to combine. Set it aside.

To make the dressing, add the extra virgin olive oil, preserved lemon, lemon brine, lemon juice, maple syrup, thyme, black pepper and salt to a food processor. Pulse it until smooth and creamy. Transfer the dressing to a jar with an airtight lid and stir in the chia seeds. Refrigerate any leftovers for up to 5 days.

Step 4: Assemble Your Salad

Combine the cooked freekeh, roasted cauliflower and arugula in a large bowl along with half the dressing. Toss the ingredients to mix. Serve at room temperature topped with the salsa and a handful of pine nuts and with extra dressing on the side.

Freekeh Medjool Date Vegan Salad – Recipe Card

vegan salad

Freekeh Medjool Date Salad

5 from 2 votes
Delight Your Palate with a Vegan Middle Eastern Salad. Roasted cauliflower and perfectly cooked freekeh combine with peppery arugula, all dressed in a zesty chia seed–preserved lemon dressing. Topped with a sweet and savory date and sun-dried tomato salsa, and garnished with pine nuts, this salad is a harmonious blend of textures and tastes that's anything but boring.
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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Author: Noha Elbadry - Cloud
Servings: 3 to 4 servings

Ingredients

For the Salad

  • 3 cups 100 g cauliflower florets
  • 1 tbsp 15 ml olive oil
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup 165 g coarse freekeh, rinsed
  • 1 cube vegetable bouillon
  • 3 cups 60 g arugula
  • Pine nuts to serve

For the Salsa

  • 5 jumbo Medjool dates pitted and chopped
  • cup 60 g jarred sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (a little oil is fine)
  • 1 small shallot chopped
  • ¼ cup 15 g chopped fresh parsley
  • 6 medium green olives pitted and chopped
  • 1 small serrano pepper chopped (optional)
  • 3 tbsp 45 ml lime juice
  • ½ tsp sea salt

For the Dressing

  • ¼ cup 60 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 preserved lemon seeded and halved
  • 1 tbsp 15 ml preserved lemon brine
  • 1 tbsp 15 ml lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp 15 ml maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp 2 g fresh thyme leaves (or sub 1 tsp dried thyme)
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp 10 g chia seeds

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F (205°C) and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, combine the cauliflower, olive oil and salt. Mix well and transfer it to the sheet pan. Roast, flipping once halfway through, until golden and crispy, about 25 minutes. Remove the sheet pan from the oven, and let the cauliflower cool to room temperature.
  • In a medium pot, combine the freekeh, bouillon and 2¼ cups (540 ml) of water. Bring it to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and cook until all or most of the water has been absorbed and freekeh has softened, 35 to 40 minutes. Drain any leftover water; the freekeh should be a bit chewy, similar to barley or brown rice. Remove it from the heat and let it cool to room temperature.
  • To make the salsa, place the dates, sun-dried tomatoes, shallot, parsley, olives, serrano pepper (if using), lime juice and salt in a medium bowl. Mix well to combine. Set it aside.
  • To make the dressing, add the extra virgin olive oil, preserved lemon, lemon brine, lemon juice, maple syrup, thyme, black pepper and salt to a food processor. Pulse it until smooth and creamy. Transfer the dressing to a jar with an airtight lid and stir in the chia seeds. Refrigerate any leftovers for up to 5 days.
  • Combine the cooked freekeh, roasted cauliflower and arugula in a large bowl along with half the dressing. Toss the ingredients to mix. Serve at room temperature topped with the salsa and a handful of pine nuts and with extra dressing on the side.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Reprinted with permission from The Vegan Middle Eastern Cookbook by Noha Elbadry – Cloud. Page Street Publishing Co. 2023. Photo credit: Noha Elbadry – Cloud.

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About The Cookbook

Unlock a whole new realm of plant-based cooking as you celebrate the rich, vibrant flavors and traditional ingredients that make Middle Eastern fare so diverse and delicious. From Noha Elbadry-Cloud, creator of the popular food account @leeksnbeets, comes the ultimate guide to cooking perfectly veganized meals from this vast, enthralling region.

This collection of 60 mouthwatering recipes is filled with iconic basics like The Best Ever Pita Bread, magnificent mains like Baby Potato and Jackfruit Tagine, and Beef-Style Seitan Shawarma Wraps with sumptuous sides like Baba Ghanouj. And with delectable desserts like Walnut Pecan Baklava and Basbousa, there’s something here for every taste and occasion. So what are you waiting for? Embark on an inspiring culinary journey through the flavors of the Middle East, all while staying true to your vegan lifestyle.

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Vegan Salad

More Vegan Recipes You Might Like

If you enjoyed this Vegan Salad recipe, you might also like this Kebab Skewers by the same author. Click here for the recipe.

vegan Kebab Skewers
Noha Elbadry-Cloud

Connect with Noha on Instagram.

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