Pesto Cauliflower & Potato Salad

Terry Hope Romero
Serves Serves 3-4
Print recipe
  • Prep time 15 mins
  • Cook time 30 mins
  • Ready time 45 mins

This classic combination of pesto and potatoes is lightened up with irresistible grilled cauliflower.

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For Cauliflower Potato Salad

  • ½ pound/225 g cauliflower
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ pound/225 g waxy yellow or white potatoes, unpeeled
  • 1 cup/200 g fresh or frozen green peas
  • ¼ cup/30 g chopped toasted walnuts or toasted pine nuts

For the Basil Pesto Dressing

  • 1½ cups/150 g lightly packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar or white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


Remove the thick inner stem from the cauliflower, slice into thick 1-inch slabs. Preheat a cast-iron grill pan over high heat. Rub the cauliflower with olive oil and arrange the pieces in a single layer in the preheated pan. Grill the cauliflower until charred on the outside and crisp-tender inside, about 4 to 5 minutes, flipping halfway through. Transfer the cauliflower to a cutting board, chop into bite-size pieces, and place in a large mixing bowl.

Peel and dice the potato into ½-inch pieces, transfer to a large saucepan, cover with 4 inches of cold water, and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook the potatoes for 6 to 8 minutes, or until almost tender. Stir in the peas and cook another minute. Reserve ¼ cup of cooking water, then drain the potatoes and peas and rinse with cold water. Add these vegetables to the cauliflower.

In a food processor, pulse together the pesto ingredients plus 2 tablespoons of the potato cooking water until smooth. Spoon onto the vegetables, add the nuts, and combine thoroughly. Cover and chill for 10 minutes to blend flavours. Serve the salad slightly chilled or at room temperature. Garnish each serving with a few nuts.


Additional notes

“This classic combination of pesto and potatoes is lightened up with irresistible grilled cauliflower. For a more substantial pesto entrée, replace half or all of the cauliflower with pasta, preferably those tight little twists called gemelli.

This recipe uses half an average-size head of cauliflower, but you might as well grill an entire head. Pack up the leftover cauliflower and use it in practically any salad in the book, or enjoy hot with a scattering of sea salt and a squeeze of fresh lemon.”

From Salad Samurai: 100 Cutting-Edge, Ultra-Hearty, Easy-to-Make Salads You Don’t Have to Be Vegan to Love by Terry Hope Romero. Reprinted courtesy of Da Capo Lifelong Books.