This recipe for Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Chickpeas, Tahini and Avocado has everything–good proteins, healthy cruciferous cauliflower, peppery watercress, and beautiful Cara Cara oranges. Did I mention there are avocados, too?
And, oh! those Cara Cara oranges!
I’ll admit that I’ve fallen head-over-heels in love with Cara Cara oranges of late. Sweeter and more nutritious than a regular naval orange, their intense pink color is spectacular. I don’t exaggerate when I say that you will gasp when you first cut into one. They are that pretty.
Cara Cara oranges have only been around for a short time. The orange was discovered in 1976 in Venezuela where an enterprising hybridizer crossed a Washington navel orange with a Brazilian Bahia navel. They were first imported commercially into the U.S. market in the 1980s and for awhile were available in very limited quantities. Now, however, they are grown in California, Florida and Texas and they are shedding their “boutique orange” label.
The flavor and beauty of this orange has not gone unnoticed among foodies. One website describes the Cara Cara this way: “…notes of berry flavors similar to blackberries and raspberries but overall taste like orange candy.”
I confess that quote about Cara Caras made me giggle. It reminded me of the florid prose you find on bottles of wine. You know the ones: ” Blessed with a bold, mouth-filling style and a concentration of ripe fruit flavors and silky supple tannins, this seldom-available cuvee boasts lush lingering jammy black cherry flavors complemented by the warm spicy notes of toasted oak, marshmallows and rich custard pie. With notes straight from the earthy wooded forest floor, this wine is blessed with an exceptional gout de terroir. There are no hard edges here but definitely a long, 35-second finish.” What?
Cara Caras have a relatively short season, winter to spring, so you need to buy them now.
And, trust me; this orange has absolutely no hard edges and a spectacular smooth finish that you won’t soon forget. Its gout de terroir? Words escape me.
Here is the salad recipe:
- 1 medium head cauliflower (cored and cut into small florets)
- 3/4 C. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/4 t. kosher (or to taste)
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 C. cooked chickpeas (rinsed and drained)
- 4 t. fresh lemon juice
- 1 T. fresh orange juice
- 1 T. tahini
- 3/4 t. rice vinegar
- 1/2 t. honey
- 3/4 C. fresh parsley leaves
- 3/4 fresh mint leaves
- 1 garlic clove (minced)
- 1/4 t. ground sumac (optional)
- 1/8 t. red pepper flakes (Aleppo pepper preferred)
- 1 bunch watercress
- 1 avocado (pitted, peeled and diced for garnish)
- Toasted sesame seeds (for garnish)
- 1/2 t. freshly-grated orange zest
- Cara Cara orange slices (peel and pith removed) for garnish
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Prepare cauliflower and toss florets in 1/4 C. olive oil, 1 t. salt and black pepper to your taste. Roast cauliflower on a large baking sheet for 35 minutes. Turn the cauliflower over a couple times while roasting it. When cauliflower is well-browned and tender, remove from oven and set aside to let cauliflower cool to room temperature.
- Blend 2 T. chickpeas, lemon juice, orange juice, tahini, rice vinegar, honey, remaining 1/4 t. salt, 1/4 C. parsley, 1/4 C. mint, garlic, sumac (optional) and red pepper until smooth. Keep the blender running and slowly drizzle the remaining 1/2 C. olive oil into the mixture.
- Using a large bowl, mix cauliflower, watercress and remaining chickpeas. Mix in the remaining parsley and mint. Toss the greens with enough dressing to evenly coat the greens and chickpeas. Season to taste if necessary.
- Serve garnished with avocado, toasted sesame seeds,slices of Cara Cara oranges, and freshly-grated orange zest.
Here is the Amazon link to Melissa Clark’s book, Dinner-Changing The Game: http://Amazon Link to Melissa Clark’s Book.