blissful eats with tina jeffers: Cauliflower salad with quick pickled cherries

Cauliflower is the poor stepchild of the vegetable world.  I love to eat it roasted with just a touch of olive oil until it is golden brown and crispy but had never really been into eating it raw.  I think it was from years of seeing those huge florets sitting in a heap on the vegetable tray, always the last to get consumed after all the carrots and broccoli were gone.  This salad is a revelation; cauliflower gets pulsed in the food processor until it resembles fine grains of rice and tossed with fennel almonds, parsley and some quick pickled cherries.  The longer the cherries sit the more pronounced the flavor, they make a great addition to a cheese plate or spooned over vanilla ice cream or oatmeal in the morning.  I’ve eaten the salad with fresh sliced cherries and it is still delicious but pickling the cherries and the addition of the spices makes this a salad that will stay in your memory for more than just a meal.  Visit me during the rest of the week at for more recipe inspiration.   

Cauliflower salad with quick pickled cherries           


For the salad:

1 medium head cauliflower

1 fennel bulb

1 cup Italian parsley

½ cup roasted almonds

1 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon honey

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

For the pickled cherries:

 Makes 2-3 half pint jars

½ cup sugar

½ cup white balsamic vinegar

1 cup water

½ pound cherries, stems and pits removed

1 cinnamon stick

1 teaspoon whole cardamom pods

2 whole star anise

1 pound cherries, stems removed and pitted 


For the salad: 

Break the cauliflower into florets and place in the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse the cauliflower until it is broken into small rice sized pieces. Alternatively you can chop the cauliflower finely with a sharp knife. 

Shave the fennel with a mandolin or as thinly as possible, reserving some of the fennel fronds for garnish.   Place the fennel and cauliflower in a medium bowl along with the almonds, parsley and fennel fronds.

Prepare the dressing by combining the vinegar, lemon juice and honey and stir until the honey is dissolved.  Slowly whisk in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine.  Plate the mixture  and top with a ¼ cup of pickled cherries.

For the pickled cherries:

Combine vinegar, sugar water and spices in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat and cook for 5 minutes uncovered. 

Pack cherries into jars and pour the brine over the top to cover.  Let cool to room temperature before using; cover and store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 months. 

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