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A gorgeous, bright and colorful salad made from tender Arugula, spicy harissa glazed roasted cauliflower, crunchy chickpeas, sweet and juicy roasted grapes, and cool Persian cucumbers. Topped with salty brined feta crumbles and a citrusy Lemon-Tahini dressing, this one of a kind salad has all the right flavors!
This is not your ordinary ‘House Salad’.. far from it in fact! It’s sophisticated, elegant, and exotic with Middle Eastern ingredients and spice. The dressing is made from a combination of tahini paste and lemon juice, providing a refreshing reprieve from the spicy, smokey heat of the Harissa chili pepper paste which is glazed on the cauliflower steaks and roasted.
This Middle Eastern Salad with Roasted Grapes, Harissa Cauliflower and Lemon Tahini Dressing is perfect for any dinner where you are looking to be a little creative and think outside of the box! The answer to your boring, basic salad woes.
Ingredients in Middle Eastern Salad with Roasted Grapes, Harissa Cauliflower and Lemon Tahini Dressing
Arugula: or other lettuce of choice such as a baby green mix or baby kale. I like the bite of arugula for this salad though.
Persian cucumbers: These are the smaller cucumbers that you may have seen sold in packs in the grocery store. English cucumbers would work too. However if you can only find traditional hot house cucumbers, I suggest removing the seeds.
Cauliflower, Olive Oil and Harissa: A whole cauliflower is used in this recipe. I chose to cut them into steaks since to make it easier to brush the harissa glaze on. However if you used cauliflower florets, I would recommend tossing in the harissa before roasting. Harissa paste can be found in the speciality isle of the grocery store. However I purchased mine from Trader Joe’s. Amazon also sells it..
Red grapes, Olive Oil and Thyme: Make sure you use the seedless variety. Roasting the grapes intensifies the sweetness and softens the texture. It’s almost like candy! So wonderful to balance the heat from the Harissa cauliflower.
Crispy chickpeas: You could store buy them, but it would be even better if you followed my simple recipe for homemade Chili Lime Chickpeas!
Feta cheese: A high quality brand will always be worth it, in my opinion. The pre crumbled variety often seems a bit flavorless.
Lemon Tahini Dressing Ingredients
Tahini Paste: This is a sesame seed paste commonly found in Middle Eastern cuisines. Be sure to give it a stir before using, as it has a tendency to separate the way natural peanut butter and oil does.
Water: Is used to thin out the dressing to a consistency that is more conducive to a salad dressing.
Lemon Juice: freshly squeezed, of course!
Olive Oil: the fat needed to emulsify the dressing.
Salt: just a pinch should do it, but feel free to add to taste.
Instructions to Assemble Middle Eastern Salad with Roasted Grapes, Harissa Cauliflower and Lemon Tahini Dressing
First preheat oven to 425°F. I like to set to “convection roast” to circulate the air and give a more accurate cooking temperature. Next prepare the cauliflower and grapes for the oven on two different baking sheets.
To roast cauliflower: Combine harissa paste, 2 tbsp olive oil and 1/4 tsp salt, whisk to incorporate. Set aside while you slice the cauliflower in half to remove stems and core. Then slice lengthwise into steaks. Place on baking sheet and brush with harissa glaze.
For the roasted grapes, rinse them and then pat dry with a paper towel. Then, place on baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tsp olive oil and ¼ tsp salt and 2 sprigs of fresh thyme.
Place both baking sheets, cauliflower and grapes, in oven. Roast the grapes for 15 minutes and roast cauliflower for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
While the cauliflower and grapes are roasting prepare the dressing by simply combining fresh squeezed lemon juice, olive oil, water, tahini paste, and a pinch of salt in a small bowl and whisking all ingredients to combine.
To assemble the salad choose a large bowl and add arugula and sliced cucumbers. Decoratively layer on the crispy chick peas, feta cheese, roasted grapes, roasted cauliflower steaks and drizzle with lemon tahini dressing.
Middle Eastern Salad with Roasted Grapes, Harissa Cauliflower & Tahini Dressing
- 5 oz Arugula
- 3 Persian cucumbers thin sliced
- 1 head Cauliflower cut into steaks
- 2 cups red grapes roasted
- ½ cup crispy chick peas recipe here
- 2 oz feta cheese
- 3 tbsp olive oil divided
- 1 tbsp Harissa paste
- ½ tsp salt divided
- 2 sprig thyme fresh
Lemon Tahini Dressing
- 2 tbsp tahini paste
- 2 tbsp water
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp salt
- Preheat oven to 425°F
- To roast cauliflower: Combine harissa paste, 2 tbsp olive oil and 1/4 tsp salt, whisk to incorporate. Set aside. Slice cauliflower in half to remove stems and core. Then slice lengthwise into steaks. Place on baking sheet and brush with harissa paste.
- To Roast Grapes: Rinse, pat dry and place on baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tsp olive oil and ¼ tsp salt and 2 sprigs of fresh thyme.
- Place both baking sheets, cauliflower and grapes, in oven. Roast Grapes for 15 minutes and roast cauliflower for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
- Make lemon- tahini dressing by whisking all ingredients in small bowl. Set aside
- In large bowl, add arugula, sliced cucumbers, crispy chick peas, feta cheese, roasted grapes, roasted cauliflower steaks and drizzle with lemon tahini dressing.