Grilled Cauliflower, Roasted Swede, and Avocado Salad with a Balsamic Pesto Dressing

A complex dish that is perfect for a cold winter’s night and a little time to spare. I invented this after simply getting bored with my usual steamed vegetable dinner and was craving to do a fancy vegan dish. It is really remarkable how if you spend time with vegetables and work with them a bit, you can get unbelievable flavors out of them.

Healthy/Vegan/Gluten free

Serves 2. Takes about 40 minutes. I know, it’s a long time, but its worth it.

Pesto required. (see recipe for vegan version or cheat and buy from a shop)

For the dressing:

  • 2 tbsp of Pesto
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar (preferably condensed)
  • 1 tablsp olive oil (the good stuff please)
  • salt and pepper

Take two tablespoons of the pesto and add two lemons (squeezed), one tablespoon of olive oil, one tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, and mix. Add one whole red onion sliced on a mandolin or very thinly and pour into dressing. Let it sweat.

For the rest:

  • 1 whole swede/ peeled and diced into 1” chunks
  • ½ head of cauliflower sliced into thick slices and cut into halves
  • 5 garlic cloves, roughly diced
  • 1 bunch of basil, chopped roughly
  • a handful of raw pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of agave syrup or maple syrup
  • 10 thyme branches, leaves taken off
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ an avocado
  • Small portion of baby greens or herb salad , about two handfuls
  • 2 lemons

Preheat oven on high.

Peel and chop your swede and put into a boiling pot of salted water for 8 minutes. Drain and place onto a foil wrapped cookie sheet. Dry it out in the oven for five minutes. Then add the garlic, thyme, balsamic vinegar, syrup, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, place your cauliflower slices in a steamer and season with lemon and salt and pepper. Steam for three minutes or until slightly tender. Let it rest and take out a grill pan.

Cut half an avocado and arrange into chunks around two round plates. Place your salad leaves in the center of each plate. Heat your grill pan on high. Check on the swedes, and take a spoon and toss your swedes gently so they are evenly burned on edges. Lightly brush with olive oil each cauliflower slice and place onto the grill pan. Take a flat spatula and gently press on them. Place the dressed onions onto the leaves and a tiny sprinkle of pine nuts. Toss again your swedes. After five minutes, turn cauliflower. Grill another 3 minutes and turn off heat and set aside.

Take swedes out of oven, toss. Place one layer of cauliflower on top of plates. Drizzle half a lemon and some dressing, then place half your swedes. Let them tumble all over the plate joining the avocado. Place another small layer of onions and some basil. Layer until finished. Sprinkle basil and remaining lemon on top. Sprinkle remaining pine nuts. Take a tbsp of olive oil in a spoon and drizzle it over dish.

Shaved parmesan goes well as a finish.

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