Sweet Pepper and Cauliflower Salad

Ok, I’m not gonna lie to you. What would be the point? This is a beautiful salad and you should enjoy it.  It’s hearty and delicious, but it takes time. Let’s think about this logically – it’s a Monday night. It was a long day at work. It was raining and dreary (there was a tornado warning in DC!). So, did I hustle home after work, put on some relaxing music, an apron, and make this from scratch for everyone in the neighborhood? No. Did I cave for crackers, red wine, and leftover mezze (cheese, hummus, and yogurtlu havuç … recipes coming soon) for dinner instead? Yes.

So, now that that’s out there, I’ll be honest with you. I made this salad a week ago, and loved it. So, I took pictures of it and bookmarked the recipe because it’s worth sharing! It stores well (read: quick and easy lunch for the work week) and it’s not that tricky. The chopping and dicing does take some time, but the payoff is worth it. This would be a great side to a fish dinner or chicken dinner.

One of the main ingredients, cauliflower looks boring, don’t you think? But, actually … it’s a pretty impressive vegetable and the added colors from the peppers and spices really jazz it up. Cauliflower’s got more than enough Vitamin C and a fair chunk of your daily value of magnesium, vitamin B-6, and potassium. There’s also a hint of calcium thrown in there, which I will never argue with.

This recipe is adapted from David Tanis’ book: Heart of the Artichoke. It’s an inspiring book that takes food photography to a different level. He’s one of my inspirations in the food world. I’ll tell you about the others at a later date as well…

For now, enjoy this sweet pepper and cauliflower salad (and don’t feel guilty if you don’t have time to cook and you’re having cheese and crackers instead. it happens!):


  • 1 small cauliflower
  • ½ pound yellow wax beans, cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 1 large shallot, chop finely
  • 2 Tbsp red wine (or apple cider) vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp sherry vinegar (or whatever’s in your cupboard)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed into a paste
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp roughly chopped capers (if you don’t have them, skip this step)
  • ¼ cup cold pressed olive oil
  • *12 small sweet red/yellow peppers (cut into ½ inch pieces)
  • Fresh basil
  • Fresh parsley

*Alternately, you can use 2 large sweet peppers

Bring a medium-sized pot of (salted) water to a boil. Cut the cauliflower into small florets and add to the boiling water. Cook for 1 minute. Remove from the water and spread on a baking dish to cool to room temperature. Follow the same process for the green beans, though they may need an extra 30 seconds- 1 minute to cook. Let cool as well.

For the dressing: Combine the shallot, vinegars, and salt/pepper in a small bowl. Let it sit for 5 minutes -this will allow the shallot to be “cooked” by the vinegars. After 5 minutes, stir in the garlic, mustard, and capers. Whisk in the olive oil slowly and then taste test.

Place the cauliflower, beans, and peppers into a large mixing bowl. Season with a twist of salt and some fresh cracked pepper and mix well. Add the dressing now, and toss well.

Now comes the hard part, set this aside in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes and up to one hour to let the flavors evenly distribute and become absorbed. Scatter fresh basil and parsley leaves on top and just before serving. Serve with tavuk shish or rice dish.


About chelseaeva

recipe developer, nutrition guru, food policy geek.
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