Cauliflower Salad with Pickled Grapes, Cheddar and Almonds

This cauliflower salad with pickled grapes, cheddar and almonds is perfect if you're in charge of bringing vegetables to a potluck, but aren't feeling a limp pile of lettuce again. #cauliflower #grapes #cheddar #almonds #vegetarian

i wish i could make people care. there are some friendships where i found myself instigating all of the time. one friendship in particular: we’d get dinner or food, and then i’d suggest something else – an activity, or dessert, or something. and they’d say no.


i’d understand if you were tired one day or if you had a midterm to study for once in a while. but do you not care about spending time with me? i can’t see myself keeping up this friendship post college, especially since there’s a good chance we won’t be geographically close to each other.

same goes for finding the new board for the club i’m president of. my term ends in a month, and we were looking for a new president and vp amongst the current board members who aren’t graduating. no one was willing to become president, and they were all waiting for someone else to do it. do you not care about how this club fares? (i’m also in general annoyed about the lack of initiative).


anyways, how about some cauliflower salad with pickled grapes, cheddar and almonds? my family was a little bit weary of this one (i grew up eating vegetables sauteed with a bit of garlic and salt and that’s about it), but i convinced them to care. or you know, the tender cauliflower, juicy sweet grapes, salty sharp cheese, creamy olive oil and yogurt, and crunchy raw cauliflower and almonds convinced them. same thing.

A smattering of scallions on top provides a bit more color amongst the cream-colored cauliflower and deep dark pickled grapes. #cauliflower #grapes #cheddar #almonds #vegetarian

1 year ago: eggplant parmesan melts, the lion king in san francisco
2 years ago: chocolate chip cookies a la flour bakery, squash carbonara with pancetta and sage
3 years ago: sidecar doughnuts, costa mesa, aunty m’s thai shrimp curry
4 years ago: espresso bark, artichoke chicken

Cauliflower Salad with Pickled Grapes, Cheddar and Almonds
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
1 hr 10 mins
This cauliflower salad with pickled grapes, cheddar and almonds is a delicious warm side dish that hits all the sweet, tangy, nutty, cheesy notes you're craving.
Course: Lunch, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 410 kcal
Pickled Raisins and Grapes
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 tsps kosher salt
  • 2 cups halved green grapes
Roasted Cauliflower
  • 2 heads cauliflower
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup crumbled sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 1 T white wine vinegar
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup walnut or olive oil
  • 1 tsp crème fraîche, sour cream, or Greek yogurt
  • 3/4 cup crumbled sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
Pickled Grapes and Raisins
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the raisins, vinegar, bay leaf and salt. Simmer for 5-10 minutes, or until the brine has reduced slightly.

  2. Place half of the grapes in a heatproof bowl. Add the hot brine and raisins. Cool completely to room temperature.
Roasted Cauliflower
  1. Cut 1 1/2 heads of cauliflower into small-ish florets. Toss the florets, oil and plenty of salt. Spread on two parchment-lined baking sheets. Roast at 425F for about 25 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the cauliflower is crispy-skinned and browned. Alternatively, you can pan-sear the cauliflower (this works well if you're running short on time).

  2. Add 2 T lemon juice to the cauliflower on the baking sheets and half of the cheese, distributing among both pans. Bake for 5 to 7 more minutes, until cheese has melted.
  3. Remove cauliflower from the oven and immediately stir it with the cheese so that the florets are coated and almost no cheese streaks remain on the parchment (don't allow the cheese to congeal!).
  1. Mix 2 T lemon juice with 1 T vinegar. Whisk in mustard. While whisking constantly, slowly pour in the oil. When your mixture is creamy and emulsified, whisk in the crème fraîche. Season with salt.

  1. To a large serving bowl, add the remaining grapes and cheese. Shave the remaining cauliflower on a mandoline into the bowl. Add the roasted cauliflower. Strain the pickled raisins and grapes (you can reserve the liquid to make salad dressing in the future!) and add them to the bowl. Add the almonds and mix it all together. Dress the salad with the vinaigrette, going slowly as to not overdress. Serve warm.

Recipe Notes

Adapted slightly from Sarah Jampel via Food52.

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All the leafy greens in this Swiss chard and sweet potato gratin get mellowed out by bubbly, browned cheese. #swisschard #sweetpotato #vegetarian #entree

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This cauliflower salad with pickled grapes, cheddar and almonds features pickled grapes and raisins, with plenty of melty cheddar. Unusual, but definitely tasty. #cauliflower #grapes #cheddar #almonds #vegetarian

50 Replies to “Cauliflower Salad with Pickled Grapes, Cheddar and Almonds”

  1. That sounds annoying!! I hate when no one wants to step up and do work. Ughh. But this cauliflower salad looks yummy! I am such a lover of cauliflower and the flavors in this sound amazing!!

    1. ugh ugh ugh. but at least the cauliflower’s tasty (;

  2. Aw, I hate when you invest so much time and energy into a person/thing and they don’t want to reciprocate. But know that your time is precious and there are more deserving people who will want to reciprocate and give you their time!!

    Have not had cauliflower salad with grapes before, but it sounds delicious and fresh! I love the addition of the almonds too! Have a great week, Heather! 🙂

    1. daw thanks 💕 it’s easier (sometimes!) when it’s a friend and you can choose, but it’s harder when you have to work with that person. sigh.

      i put fruit in all of my salads (i’ve been doing blueberries in my couscous salad recently lol), so i didn’t miss this salad when i saw it had grapes (;

  3. Such an intriguing salad. I’ve never had cold cauliflower, but I’m sure it’s delicious with all this dressing 🙂

    1. you can have it warm! i like meal prepping salad for the week so i didn’t melt the cheese onto the cauliflower + served it cold, but if you click on the link to the original recipe within the notes of the recipe, you can make the warm version (:

  4. Pickled grapes have got me very curious, I need to give these a try!

    1. they’re great! (but also i’m just a pickle fiend haha).

  5. I’m with you about lazy friends and club members – wish I knew what it takes to get people to participate in life sometimes. (GRRR). But, this salad sounds so so good – and like nothing I’ve ever had. So much YUM!

    1. yeah, being a motivator and a cajoler is a skill i don’t quite have yet. sigh. i need salads that are interesting- if it’s just lettuce and dressing, i’m eating a bite and then switching to something more complex (and probably unhealthier haha).

  6. Yummy! Such a delightful, appetizing, and nutrient-dense salad recipe, Heather! Perfect for immune boosting. 😉

    1. thanks, agness!! (:

  7. I have an old friend who I hear from once in a while. She always says I we need to get together, but there is always some life complications that make it hard for her to do so. As much as I like to maintain that friendship, it is just not worth chasing. This salad looks delicious and full of texture and flavor. I never thought of pickling grapes, but it sounds wonderful in this dish!

    1. yeah, this is one of those friendships. i’m not that close to them anymore, so it’s not as hard/painful to step away from it, but it’s still kind of a disappointment.

  8. Wow, this looks mouth wateringly delicious! I love cauliflower but don’t have a lot of ways to prepare it.. this looks great! –

    1. thanks, gingi! my mom used to roast it with a bit of parmesan, too; that was the only way my brother ate it growing up (;

  9. I find it frustrating to have people in my life like that!

    1. yeah. we used to have some good times together, but i don’t think it’s worth trying to cling onto those memories and trying to recreate similar experiences.

  10. Fabulous…these dish looks soooo good & delicious with most beautiful color, this is one of my favorite recipe as well. I will try to making this in upcoming few days. Thanks for sharing……!

    1. thanks! i love the deep purple grapes and the vibrant green onions in here too (;

  11. It’s tiring to be the one who always initiates things! I have a few friendships like that too. At least we have this delicious salad to keep us company 😉

    1. HAHAH yes us + salads sounds like a great night (not even being sarcastic). salad is healthier anyways (;

  12. You always put together the most interesting flavor combinations. And I mean interesting in a good way! I love everything in this salad! Yum!!

  13. Okay, now I am 100% curious as to what PICKLED GRAPES taste like!

    PS: If you are always initiating hanging out with your friend, she/he mayyyyy not be worth your time!

    1. try them!!! if you like pickles, and you like grapes, you’ll probably like them (; (or maybe not).

      yeah, agreed. sigh.

  14. Loving all those intriguing flavors! Pinning! 🙂 Happy Weekend!

  15. Ahhh I think I’m on the other side of that friendship right now tbh Heather! It’s good to know what the other side thinks 🙂 Perhaps back off a little for a bit of time? Distance makes the heart grow fonder 😉 Also any plans for after uni?
    On the lighter side of things, this salad looks fab and I wanna eat it alll right now!

    1. yeah, i’m hanging out with other people + going on solo adventures! (: it’s all good.

      not totally sure! 99% sure i’m moving back home bc most of the opportunities that interest me are there instead of near school, plus can’t beat that free rent (; going travelling for a few weeks after graduation though, so super excited about that!

  16. Love roasted cauliflower, and the pickled grapes and raisins sound fantastic! Such a great idea for a salad!

    1. thanks, leanne! i normally do sauteed cauliflower (when i’m in a rush, cooking on the stovetop is so much faster than in the oven), so roasted feels like a treat (;

  17. Love all the different flavours and textures in this salad, especially the roasted cauliflower and grapes. What an unique combination of ingredients; it looks delicious!

    1. thanks, marie!! (:

  18. Yeah, it’s always a letdown when your actions aren’t reciprocated.
    This recipe sounds crazy town delicious! I’ve never pickled grapes before so I’m all kinds of curious about what they taste like!

    1. you should try pickling some! and it’s so easy to just pickle a handful, in case you’re not so sure about pickling a whole bunch (;

  19. Navigating this kinda stuff is really tricky. So I hear you 😉
    Thanks for sharing tis lovely recipe. It sounds really super yummt :).

  20. It’s not cool when you’re doing things that other people want but when you wanted to pick something out, they’re not down. Like what is the issue?? You definitely deserve friends who would make an effort and meet you almost halfway. Sending you good vibes with finding competent new board members! The same thing happened to me my 3rd year and someone ended up nominating themselves for the lulz.

    I like the sound of your cauliflower salad recipe! Thanks for sharing it :)!

    1. ooof. 2 positions filled, 8 to go. very interested to see how it turns out, and hoping for the best.

  21. I’m a huge fan of Cauliflower! It’s seriously my JAM. I’m also a fan of pickled grapes, sweet, sour and tangy. I’m always super busy but I value the time I spend with my friends. If your friend always makes excuses they may not really be your friend, just a thought. Raw Cauliflower is super crunchy and satisfying, this looks like one tasty salad. Thank you for sharing Heather.

    1. everyone steers clear of the raw cauliflower on those crudite platters, but i dig it! that crunch is so satisfying (:

  22. I love the flavours in this salad Heather….never tasted pickled grapes before, so definitely want to give this a try. Thank you for the delicious recipe 🙂

  23. i never tried cauliflower in salad form.. sounds delicious.

    1. oooh you should!! i basically throw any and all veggies into my salads to keep it interesting (:

  24. Great post, Heather! It’s definitely tough to stay friends with someone when they’re not willing to make an effort. We all have THAT friend who is just ridiculously frustrating. When I graduated college, I had a few friends like that. I tried to make an effort to stay in contact with them, but with long distance it was difficult. Eventually, only your closest, mutual friendships will make the cut. I learned that there’s only so many hours in the day and you can’t make time for people who don’t instigate or reciprocate. Anyway, just my two cents. 😉

    This recipe looks mouthwateringly delicious! It’s starting to get warmer where I am and I’ve been craving those yummy spring salads! This one definitely fits the bill. I love the idea of the pickled grapes! I had a pickled grape and nut cheese appetizer on my previous food blog. They’re so delicious and simple to make and I bet they go GREAT with roasted cauliflower. I’ll be trying this soon! Thanks for sharing!

    1. yeah, the distance will be hard. for whatever reason, the majority of my close friends in college are from the same-ish region as me (meaning less than an hr drive from my hometown), so even if they don’t move back like i’m planning to, they’ll still have to visit (;

      and what?! southern california is in a major cold snap this week, so i’m all about the soups right now haha. and oooh, i love fruit + cheese so i bet that’s a great appetizer!

  25. Sadly there’s always friends in college that don’t last beyond graduation, and if it wasn’t for Facebook you’d never think of them again! On a plus side this salad sounds just perfect to me. I always add grapes to my salad for a little sweetness.

    1. yeah :/ (although tbh i already know i’m going to do a facebook friend purge post-college and i won’t even think of them again lol). i add fruit to all my salads (; i found some 88 cent blackberries the other day and they’ve been in my lunches all week!

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