I saw this post way back in mid-September at Cara’s Cravings for “Roasted Cauliflower and Winter Squash Salad with Arugula and Pomegranate Seeds” and earmarked it for a time when the weather would cool and my thoughts (and appetite) would grow hungry again for all things roasted. Last year was my first year really going roasted vegetable crazy and it introduced me to a lot of things I never knew I would like including Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and mushrooms (well, I knew I would like those but had never roasted them before).
Working with winter squash was new for me and I must admit, I need more practice. I was just sort of winging it for peeling and dicing and eventually got to the point where I said whatever was done was going in the bowl and that was it. Same with the pomegranate which I hadn’t peeled or opened or whatever technically you would say since I was maybe ten years old. When I was at the store, I saw the containers of already peeled pomegranate seeds and thought, ‘nah, I can do that myself!’ and of course, I did, but I will spend a few days tracking down all the juice splooshes.
I altered Cara’s recipe slightly in that I didn’t have access to pomegranate molasses so I just used the store brand. I also wanted to add more protein to the mix so roasted up some chicken spiced with turmeric, salt, pepper, cinnamon, and a dash of chili powder, sliced very thin to match the thick portabella mushrooms I added to the roasted veggies portion. I didn’t have any ground cumin but I did have cumin seeds so I gave those a good crushing before adding to the recipe.
The last time I worked with roasted cauliflower, I didn’t get the florets into quite even pieces so I made sure they were all relatively small. I ended up extending the roasting about 3 minutes total but I also didn’t stir halfway through — yes, I get lazy…
This salad, if you can even put it in a salad category, is amazing! So many wonderful flavors and colors and textures all converging for a substantial meal. I really didn’t feel like I needed anything else and every mouthful was something different and excellent. I am definitely putting this one in my file for things to take to special occasions or just when I want to feel like I’m eating something divine. It really wasn’t very hard to prepare, just a few parts to throw together and the clean-up wasn’t bad either. I think it would be a fun salad to make with a date or your family too as there is something everyone could participate and help with.