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Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower Salad

May 10, 2023 | 0 comments

Charred, golden cauliflower roasted with parmesan, piled onto Caesar sauce and topped with crispy parmesan and prosciutto makes a very luxurious salad the whole family will love. And the best part? It takes just 30 minutes to make.

Parmesan roasted cauliflower salad on an oven blue plate with crispy parmesan and prosciutto.

Cauliflower for me is the ultimate blank canvas. It’s a vegetable that loves to carry bold, strong flavours and I’m taking advantage of that with this salad.

This is one of my favourite ways to prepare vegetables – roast them until charred and golden, then pile them on top of some kind of flavour-packed sauce base (miso roasted sweet potatoes, crispy dukkah potatoes or whole roasted cauliflower with tomato pesto are more examples of this). It means every spoonful is loaded with all the lovely flavours, and creates a gorgeous mix of textures.

Here, I’m pairing parmesan-loaded roasted cauliflower with creamy Caesar sauce, crispy prosciutto and parmesan crisps. It’s a bit like a Caesar salad but with cauliflower.

Why you’ll love the salad

  • Absolutely PACKED with flavour – this is the cauliflower recipe for someone who thinks they don’t like cauliflower.
  • Quick and easy – it comes together in just 30 minutes, with minimal hands-on time.
  • Great hot or cold, and perfect for meal prep.

Ingredients

I always love the thrill of a SUPER flavour-packed recipe that uses very minimal ingredients, and this is definitely one of those!

Ingredients for parmesan roasted cauliflower laid out on a white marble background and labelled.
  • Cauliflower. This has to be one of my favourite vegetables. It’s incredibly versatile and can take on bold flavours, which is what we’re doing here. Cauliflower’s vary in size so for context I’m using a large cauliflower here.
  • Parmesan. This is almost as key as the cauliflower in this recipe. We’ll use it in three ways – on the cauliflower, in the Caesar sauce and as crunchy parmesan crisps for texture on top. Use freshly grated parmesan if you can – pre-grated doesn’t tend to melt as well. You could use another strong cheese like cheddar, pecorino or manchego instead.
  • Prosciutto. This soft, silky, paper-thin cured ham transforms into the ultimate flavour enhancer when you pop it into the oven to crisp up for about 10 minutes. If you’re vegetarian, leave it out and use more crispy parmesan (and perhaps add a dollop of basil pesto or wild garlic pesto). You could also use streaky bacon.
  • Caesar sauce. We’ll use aioli as the base (I love using my super easy egg-free aioli), and then parmesan, miso paste, Dijon mustard and a little fish sauce. This stuff is CRAZY good and I always have the sauce on hand in the fridge. Use more mustard if you can’t find miso paste.

How to make it

Slice your cauliflower into bite-sized florets. Cauliflower can be messy to chop (all those little crumbly bits flying everywhere!) so I often find the easiest, mess-free way to do it is to pull the florets apart by hand. You can literally tear them from the stem!

Toss them with olive oil and salt, then roast for 10 minutes. After that, scatter-grated parmesan all over, then pop it back in the oven for another 10 minutes until charred and lovely.

Pile more grated parmesan and the prosciutto onto another oven tray, and pop in the oven for 8 minutes with the cauliflower to crisp up, then mix the Caesar base sauce.

Spoon your Caesar sauce onto the base of a serving plate, then pile the roasted cauliflower on top. Finish by scattering the crispy parmesan and prosciutto on top, along with the fresh basil leaves.

Got a question?

Can I make the salad ahead of time?

Yes! Every element of the salad can be made beforehand. The parmesan roasted cauliflower can be cooked 5 days in advance, the Caesar sauce will keep well for at least 5 days, and the crispy parmesan and prosciutto will keep for at least 1 week, stored in an airtight container.

If you’re arranging it ahead of time, just leave the crispy parmesan and prosciutto off until the last minute so they don’t go soft.

What can I serve with the salad?

This salad is lovely as a light meal in itself, but it works wonderfully as part of a larger spread. Serve with spiced lamb koftas, miso grilled chicken, harissa honey grilled chicken or maple glazed salmon. It also pairs well with salads like a crunchy Asian slaw, grilled peach and burrata salad, sesame soba noodle salad, miso roasted sweet potatoes or pesto potatoes.

How can I make the salad vegetarian?

Just leave out the crispy prosciutto (and skip the fish sauce in the Caesar sauce). You can use more crispy parmesan, or add some fresh basil pesto.

Like this recipe? Here are more you might enjoy

If you make this recipe, I’d love to hear from you! You can leave me a comment below.

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Parmesan roasted cauliflower salad on an oven blue plate with crispy parmesan and prosciutto.

Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower Salad


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  • Author: Kate Alexandra
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Diet: Low Fat

Description

Charred, golden cauliflower roasted with parmesan, piled onto Caesar sauce and topped with crispy parmesan and prosciutto makes a very luxurious salad the whole family will love. And the best part? It takes just 30 minutes to make.


Ingredients

Units Scale

For the salad –

  • 1 large cauliflower
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup grated parmesan
  • 3 slices prosciutto (or use streaky bacon)
  • A handful of fresh basil leaves

For the Caesar aioli sauce –

  • 1/2 cup aioli (or use mayonnaise)
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan
  • 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon miso paste
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Instructions

  1. Prepare the cauliflower. Heat your oven to 220C/430F fan and line two oven trays with baking paper. Chop the cauliflower into bite-sized florets. I find the easiest, mess-free way to do this is to tear the florets off by hand – but chopping is fine too. Lay them out on one of the oven trays, then drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of salt on top. Toss to coat the cauliflower well, then transfer to the oven for 10 minutes.
  2. Scatter with parmesan. After 10 minutes, remove the tray from the oven and scatter 1/2 cup of grated parmesan on the cauliflower. Toss to combine well with the cauliflower, then put the tray back in the oven for another 10 minutes, until charred and lovely.
  3. Make the crispy parmesan and prosciutto. Lay the prosciutto pieces onto the bottom half of the other lined oven tray, then scatter the other 1/2 cup of grated parmesan on the top half of the tray, spreading it out onto a thin layer. Transfer it to the oven with the cauliflower for 8 minutes, until the prosciutto is dark and crispy, and the parmesan is deep gold. 
  4. Make the Caesar sauce. In a small bowl, mix ½ cup of aioli with 2 tablespoons of grated parmesan, 1/2 teaspoon of fish sauce, 1 teaspoon of miso paste and 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard. 
  5. Assemble the salad. Spread the Caesar sauce out on a serving plate. Pile the parmesan roasted cauliflower on top, then break up the crispy parmesan and prosciutto with your hands, and scatter them on top. Finish by topping the salad with fresh basil leaves, and enjoy.

Notes

INGREDIENT NOTES: Try to grate the parmesan yourself here, rather than use pre-grated. Pre-grated parmesan won’t melt as well so you’ll find the parmesan crisps have a strange texture. 

SUBSTITUTIONS: Swap the prosciutto for streaky bacon, or leave it out and add extra crispy parmesan for a vegetarian version. You could use another strong cheese like pecorino, manchego or cheddar in place of the parmesan if you like. If you can’t find miso paste, use more Dijon mustard in the Caesar sauce.

STORAGE INSTRUCTIONS: The salad will keep well for 5 days, stored in the fridge in an airtight container. If you want to prepare it ahead of time, just leave the crispy prosciutto and parmesan off until you’re ready to serve, so they don’t get soft. 

  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Category: salads
  • Method: oven
  • Cuisine: mediterranean

Welcome!

I’m Kate, the creator behind Dished. I love creating flavour packed, simple (ish) recipes for you, designed for every day and special occasions.

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