Greek Cauliflower Pasta Salad


I love a classic pasta salad, but this one has a fun, healthier twist.

greek cauliflower pasta salad on a plate

Instead of using boring pasta, it features gently steamed cauliflower–> making this a grain-free and vegetable-packed dish!

I had momentarily considered using spiralized zucchini pasta for this recipe, which would definitely work as well, but the gently steamed cauliflower provides a more authentic texture, with a pretty neutral flavor, similar to traditional pasta. The key for this particular recipe is not overcooking the cauliflower. It needs to be fork-tender, but not mushy! When properly steamed, this cauliflower “pasta” will maintain its firm texture and is sturdy enough to marinate in the fridge for a few days, perfect for a portable packed lunch or dinner.

There’s an added nutritional benefit to steaming you cauliflower, too. Raw cruciferous vegetables, such as cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage, can actually suppress your thyroid’s hormone production, creating fatigue, coldness in your body and a slowing of your metabolism. [source] Gently cooking these types of vegetables will allow you to avoid these negative thyroid symptoms. To maintain all of the essential nutrients found in cauliflower, steaming is the optimal cooking method, so no vitamins or minerals are thrown out with the cooking water. It also creates the perfect texture for this pasta-like dish!

Paired with lemon juice, garlic, olive oil and fresh herbs, this recipe is bursting with flavor and is a fantastic way to pack more vegetables into your day!

Greek Cauliflower Pasta Salad
serves 4

Adapted from this recipe

Ingredients:

1 head of cauliflower (about 2 lbs.), chopped into bite-sized florets
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups fresh spinach, tightly packed
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
6 large basil leaves, cut into thin ribbons
3 springs of fresh oregano, leaves only
6 ounces of crumbled feta cheese (preferably goat’s milk)
1/2 cup pitted olives, sliced (optional)
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Arrange a steam basket in a large pot (4 qt. or larger), and add about an inch of water to the bottom of the pot. Place the chopped cauliflower florets in the steam basket, bring the water to a boil, then cover with a lid and reduce the heat to a simmer for about 7 minutes. You want the cauliflower to be fork-tender, but not mushy!

*Note: If you don’t own a steam basket, you can simply place the cauliflower directly in the pot with an inch of water (no need to cover the cauliflower with water completely). Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and cover the pot to allow to “steam” for 7 minutes and drain. Some of the nutrition may be lost through contact with the water, but it’s nothing to worry about!

making greek cauliflower pasta salad

Remove the steamed cauliflower, drain the cooking water, and return the cauliflower to the large pot. Add the fresh spinach and sliced tomatoes immediately, allowing the heat from the cooked cauliflower to gently wilt the spinach and soften the tomatoes. Next, add in the olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, fresh basil and oregano leaves, sliced olives (if using), plus a generous sprinkling of sea salt and pepper. Toss well to coat.

Allow the dish to cool before adding the crumbled feta, to avoid melting the cheese. Serve immediately at room temperature, or allow to marinate in the fridge for a later meal.

I personally prefer this dish served at room temperature for best flavor and texture, but it’s delicious directly from the fridge, as well!

greek cauliflower pasta salad on a plate

4.84 from 6 votes
Print
Greek Cauliflower Pasta Salad
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 

A pasta-like salad that's bursting with classic Greek flavors!

Course: Side Dish
Servings: 4
Calories: 280 kcal
Author: Detoxinista.com
Ingredients
  • 1 head of cauliflower (about 2 lbs.), chopped into bite-sized florets
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic , minced
  • 2 cups fresh spinach , tightly packed
  • 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes , sliced in half
  • 6 large basil leaves , cut into thin ribbons
  • 3 springs of fresh oregano , leaves only
  • 6 ounces of crumbled feta cheese (preferably goat's milk)
  • 1/2 cup pitted olives , sliced (optional)
  • salt and pepper , to taste
Instructions
  1. Arrange a steam basket in a large pot (4 qt. or larger), and add about an inch of water to the bottom of the pot. Place the chopped cauliflower florets in the steam basket, bring the water to a boil, then cover with a lid and reduce the heat to a simmer for about 7 minutes. You want the cauliflower to be fork-tender, but not mushy!
  2. Remove the steamed cauliflower, drain the cooking water, and return the cauliflower to the large pot. Add the fresh spinach and sliced tomatoes immediately, allowing the heat from the cooked cauliflower to gently wilt the spinach and soften the tomatoes.
  3. Add in the olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, fresh basil and oregano leaves, sliced olives (if using), plus a generous sprinkling of sea salt and pepper. Toss well to coat.
  4. Allow the dish to cool before adding the crumbled feta, to avoid melting the cheese. Serve immediately at room temperature, or allow to marinate in the fridge for a later meal. I personally prefer this dish served at room temperature for best flavor and texture, but it's delicious directly from the fridge, as well!
Recipe Notes

*If you don't own a steam basket, you can simply place the cauliflower directly in the pot with an inch of water (no need to cover the cauliflower with water completely). Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and cover the pot to allow to "steam" for 7 minutes and drain. Some of the nutrition may be lost through contact with the water, but it's nothing to worry about!

Substitution Notes:

  • If you don’t care for cauliflower, spiralized or chopped zucchini would probably work well in this dish.
  • Grated Parmesan can be used in place of the feta cheese (my husband prefers it this way), or you could skip the cheese all together in favor of some nutritional yeast and an extra seasoning of salt.
  • If you have access to a rosemary-infused olive oil, I highly recommend trying it instead of plain olive oil in this recipe. It takes the flavor over the top!

Enjoy!

Reader Feedback: Any other pasta substitutes you enjoy? Are you a fan of pasta salads?

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Comments

Sylvia

This recipe is GREAT! Thanks I’m eating asi type it’s Delicious!!

Meghan

AMAZING! I tweaked it a bit by adding a bit more lemon juice, a bunch of fresh parsley, roasted red peppers, a few shakes or red pepper flakes, and a can of organic garbanzo beans for added protein. This is fabulous!

Cheryl

I made this last night and it’s delicious! I didn’t have fresh oregano so I added chive blossoms – my new favorite herb. I even put them on my cauliflower crust pizza this weekend. Thanks for the wonderful recipes!

Cassidy

Mmm, just made this for my family’s 4th of July BBQ. I love getting my parents to eat their veg. 🙂 Haha!

Isabella

Just made this. What a great combination of flavors. I took your suggestion and made rosemary infused olive oil. Love picking the rosemary, basil and oregano from my garden. Thanks again

Ashley

I make this all the time… even those who are VERY skeptical and picky with healthy eating LOVE THIS. Great for your toughest critics! 🙂

Bethany

Megan, I love your site and cookbook! Today, I brought the greek cauliflower pasta salad (a favorite of mine) for a potluck at work, and it won a prize for tastiest healthy dish 🙂 Now 50 of my co-workers know about detoxinista.com!

I look forward to continuing to find great recipes and inspiration on your website.

    Megan Gilmore

    Wow, I’m so happy to hear that! Glad you all enjoyed it. 🙂

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