This Cauliflower and Squash Golden Salad is bright, colorful and crunchy. It’s guaranteed to become your favorite new side dish for grilled fish or roasted chicken!
I’ll be the first to admit it, I don’t usually enjoy summer squash unless it’s finely diced and covered in sauce. I don’t like when it gets soggy and floppy. I’ve always found the taste to be overwhelming. So why am I including it in this recipe?! Because I once heard on a cooking show that “there are no bad vegetables, only poor cooking techniques”. That has always stuck with me and challenged me to try new things.
This is a fresh, crisp take on summer squash and root veggies. Both the cauliflower and yellow squash are cooked until they are just done (read: still a little crunch). I think this is really the selling point for this salad.
Why should you keep your veggies a little crispy?
- Maintain those nutrients: If you boil the vegetables too long all of the healthy goodness will be drawn out of them, so they’ll be flavorless and lacking the original nutritional value.
- Texture: This is a BIG one! You wouldn’t boil a steak and let it sit in that water right? So why torture your veggies this way. Unless your doctor tells you to for health reasons, there’s no need to eat mushy food
- You eat with your eyes: If your vegetables are over boiled, they’ll flop onto the plate and look #sad. If you want them to perk up and look appetizing, stick to the recommended cooking time in the recipe below
Ever since I was a kid I’ve loved vegetables. I always used to ask my grandma for extra okra (weird I know)…my cousins did not make this same request. Or sometimes I would wake up for a late night snack and binge eat leftover garlicky string beans or cold cups of homemade tomato sauce. When we were dating Tim decidedly thought these late night veggie munchies were very strange. But I’m convinced that those eating habits were supported by lots of flavor and the right cooking techniques.
Pro tips for cooking your new favorite vegetables:
- Okra: If you’re stewing, sauteing or adding it to soups, include a splash of vinegar as well. That will eliminate the slimy quality that the okra sometimes has
- String Beans: After steaming them, always strain and rinse with extra cold water. This will stop the cooking process and keep them extra crunchy
- Homemade Tomato Sauce (technically fruit but it’s savory, so we’ll lump it in): If you normally by pre-made tomato sauce, you’re probably used to a sweeter sauce. If you want that familiar sweetness without the extra sugar, add a carrot to your simmering tomato sauce and remove it when you’re ready to eat
And now back to this golden salad…
I picked up the yellow squash because it was front an center in Trader Joes’s. Tip: Fruits and vegetables taste best when they’re in season. Not sure what’s in season in your area? Check out this handy chart from Seasonal Food Guide that has a fruit and vegetable seasonality chart that you can sort by your state!
The yellow squash has a milder flavor than other summer squash, so it’s great for mixing with other veggies. It has small seeds but I still like use a small pairing knife to remove the seeds from the middle (see pic below). Removing the seeds prevents the squash from getting too soft. The reason I call this a golden salad though is because all of the main ingredients are the colors of the sun; it’s summer after all! To give the cauliflower that beautiful golden color I used some of my favorite Jamaican curry powder in the boiling water.
The key to cooking this salad is having the right tools and simple techniques. We covered some techniques in the post and in the recipe, but if you want this to look expertly cooked I highly recommend these cooking tools:
- Colander: To strain the cauliflower
- Mandoline Slicer: For perfectly thin shallot and pepper slices
- Non-stick Skillet: So none of the flavor gets left behind in the pan
So are you gonna try this salad? Let me know what you think in the comments!
- 1/2 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
- 1 yellow squash, thinly sliced
- 1/4 orange bell pepper You could also use red or yellow
- 2 scallion, chopped
- 1 shallots, thinly sliced
- 1 tbs curry powder
- 1 tbs coconut oil You can use any other oil you have on hand, I just think the coconut flavor adds a unique flavor
- salt and pepper
- 1 lemon, juice only
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 scallion, chopped
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper
- Fill a deep skillet halfway with water. Add curry powder and salt to the water and put the heat on medium high. Add the cauliflower and steam, stirring occasionally, for 7-8 minutes (should be tender with a slight crunch). Strain the cauliflower and set aside.
- Heat a skillet to medium high heat. Add coconut oil and shallots. Cook 1-2 minutes while stirring. Add squash, 2 chopped scallions, orange bell pepper, salt and pepper. Cook while stirring 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and add to cauliflower in a bowl.
- Dressing: Add all of the dressing ingredients to a mason jar. Seal and shake vigorously for 1-2 minutes until a light dressing is formed. Drizzle dressing (as much as you like!) on veggies, toss and ENJOY!
- This salad tastes best at room temperature
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