I think my absolute favorite way to enjoy cauliflower is by roasting it. The only problem is that it shrinks down so much! A full pan becomes half a pan. On more than one occasion, the whole head of cauliflower that was meant to be part of a bigger dish, once roasted with olive oil and salt, has ended up in my belly before anything else could be done with it. I know I am not the only one with a cauliflower munching problem. What if movie theaters had the option that instead of popcorn, you could get a big bag of roasted cauliflower? I think that would get me to go to the movies more often...
Now imagine roasting cauliflower with grapes. The cauliflower becomes golden and nutty, and the grapes get a little sweeter, a little juicier. Sunflower seeds get tossed on the pan just to get toasty. While everything is still warm, some sharp aged cheddar gets sprinkled on top and just starts to melt. Heaped over some greens with a Dijon-based vinaigrette, you have a delicious, easy salad and only one pan to clean.
One Pan Roasted Grape and Cauliflower Salad with Aged Cheddar
1 medium head cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 1/4 cup red seedless grapes, washed
2 teaspoons honey
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 cup grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese (I used Cabot extra-sharp)
1 head red leaf lettuce, leaves washed and dried
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
scant 1/4 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat. Mix cauliflower, grapes, honey, olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper on baking sheet. Spread out in even layer and bake for 25 minutes. At 25 minutes, sprinkle sunflower seeds all over pan and continue baking for 5-8 minutes or until cauliflower turns golden and sunflower seeds get toasty. Remove pan from heat and sprinkle hot pan with grated cheese and allow it to melt.
Meanwhile, make dressing. Whisk dressing ingredients in small bowl or add to jar and shake. Taste and adjust salt and pepper.
Lightly dress lettuce with 3/4 of the dressing. Top the lettuce with the cheesy, warm cauliflower and grape mixture. Drizzle all with the remaining dressing and serve. Enjoy! Serves 4 as a starter or 2 as a main.