This Roasted Leek and Cauliflower Salad is the epitome of fall flavors. It’s super quick and easy to make and perfect as part of an entree or as a light appetizer. This warm salad is a lovely mix of autumnal flavors and textures, simply seasoned and dressed with tahini sauce. It’s free of most allergens and suitable for almost all diets!
My diet revolves around lots of fresh veggies and some fruit with an emphasis on what’s in season. Eating seasonally has too many benefits for me to attempt to list here, but these are the top reasons I believe revolving your diet based on what’s available in each season is so impactful.
Why Is Eating Seasonally Good For You?
- SAVES MONEY – When you eat based on the season it typically means that you are eating locally as well. Eating produce that is harvested close to your market means that the conditions are suitable for growing that crop, making it easier to grow, which means there is more supply which means better prices.
- MORE NUTRIENT – Buying produce based on what’s available in that season also means your produce will not be imported and perhaps even better, be grown locally. Because the goods have to travel less of a distance they are harvested closer to their peak ripeness which means higher levels of nutrients.
- TASTE BETTER – Because seasonally available fruits and veggies are harvested close to peak ripeness they have more time to grow on the vine/tree/ground or original source making them more flavorful as opposed to those who have to ripen less on the vine and more on the counter or en route. Produce that has been imported is often harvested much before peak ripeness so it does not spoil during transport which leaves it lacking in flavor.
- MORE NATURAL – There seems to be a rhythm in which the produce grows to supplement what our bodies need. Lighter produce like watermelon, sweet stone fruit, berries grows in the summer when it’s warm and something juicy is what we crave. And winter months bring the citrus, packed with vitamin C, and pomegranate rich with antioxidants to protect us from winter illness. The food that grows naturally in those months brings additional support for what our bodies may need more or or lack.
- ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY – As I mentioned eating what’s in season means that produce is brought is from local sources. This means less environmental impact because there is less pollution caused from transportation methods. And you support local business!
I created this recipe while in Israel. During my 2 week trip, I visited 5 different food markets. And when I wasn’t exploring new markets I would make my daily trip to the open market near our apartment. It’s always so fun for me to walk down the aisles looking at all the daily fresh finds and talking to the people behind the stalls about cooking tips and favorite veggies. Going to a market is perhaps the easiest way to see what’s fresh and in season.
This recipe was an inspiration of fall flavors. The flavorful and hearty leeks, the tender and comforting cauliflower, laid on top of fresh and bright arugula, topped with touches of juicy, crisp sweetness from a ripe pomegranate and of course the light and creamy tahini sauce. I love a good warm salad because it provides such a lovely balance of tastes and textures that all complement each other. This is also super quick and would be a great main dish next to a protein or as a light appetizer that would go with almost anything.
paleo, keto, vegan, low carb, dairy free, gluten free, grain free
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Roasted Leek and Cauliflower Salad
This salad is the epitome of fall flavors. It's super quick to assemble and perfect as part of an entree or as a light appetizer. This warm salad is a lovely mix of autumnal flavors and textures, simply seasoned and dressed with tahini sauce. It's free of most allergens and suitable for almost all diets!
paleo (gluten/grain/dairy free), keto, vegan, low carb
- 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
- 3-4 leeks preferably thin stalks, if possible
- 2 cups fresh arugula
- 1/4 cup fresh pomegranate seeds
- 3 tbsp fresh cilantro leaves
- 3 tbsp fresh mint leaves
- 4-5 tbsp avocado oil
- sea salt
- black pepper
- 1/4 cup tahini (sesame paste)
- 1 fresh lemon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Prepare the leeks by cutting off the bottom bulb and the dark greens on the top. Also remove any thick outer layers of the stalk. Cut the leeks in half (lengthwise) and again into 3 inch pieces. Rinse very well while keeping the shapes in tact.
Lay the cauliflower on the baking sheets and drizzle avocado oil (about 2-3 tablespoons) over the florets. Add about 1 tablespoon each of fine sea salt and black pepper. Use your hands or spoon/spatula to coat and season the cauliflower.
Place in the oven and let cook for about 18 minutes or until just tender (a fork should easily go through it's thickest parts)
Cook the leeks by placing them on a baking sheet, adding about 2 tablespoons of avocado oil and 1 tablespoon each of salt and pepper. Again using hands/tool to coat the leeks. Bake in the oven for about 8-10 minutes. They will be soft and slightly opaque when done.
Make the tahini by adding 1/4 cup of sesame paste to a small bowl, add 1/4 cup water and mix well. The tahini will get thicker before it starts to get smooth. Add juice from 1/2 of the lemon and mix again. Adjust to your taste by adding more water, lemon, or sesame paste. (SEE NOTE BELOW)
Assemble the salad: Spread the tahini on the bottom of a large plate, add the arugula, then the leeks and the cauliflower, sprinkle the pomegranate seeds on top and finish off with fresh herbs. Add any more salt and/or pepper per your preference and enjoy!
I like the tahini on the bottom but pouring it over the top would be great too!
Tahini: I tend to like my tahini slightly thick with a lot of lemon, which is usually 1/4 cup tahini to 1/4 cup water to 1/2 lemon. At my house this is usually doubled to keep up with the rate of tahini consumption. You can thin by either adding more water or lemon or thicken by adding a bit more tahini. I suggest starting with these measurements and playing from there.