Moroccan-Style Shaved Cauliflower and Chickpea Salad

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This shaved cauliflower and chickpea salad has a vinegar-forward dressing and a nice crunchy texture that almost gives off pickled slaw vibes, but with warming Moroccan-style seasonings, dried apricots and toasted pistachios! 

An overhead photo of a shaved cauliflower salad in a serving bowl next to a wooden serving fork.
Photo Credits: Mark Beahm

I have been making different versions of this shaved cauliflower and chickpea salad for many years. Its assertive punchiness makes it the perfect accompaniment to heavier meats, such as lamb, as it cuts through the richness perfectly. However, it can happily hold its own as an appetizer or a light lunch. 

Like my Endive Salad, this raw cauliflower number was first inspired by a restaurant dish that stuck with me long after it was finished. This time from a dreamy salad at Barbuto, in New York’s West Village back in 2016. It had shaved raw cauliflower, scallions, and golden raisins all bathing in a vinegary dressing with a generous dusting of freshly cracked black pepper. 

I was instantly hooked—and have been striving to make something similar ever since! This version, inspired by Moroccan flavors such as the warming, earthy spice blend ras el hanout, has chopped dried apricots, pistachios, protein-packed chickpeas, and also lots of black pepper! 

And, because the cauliflower is raw, there’s little cooking involved–simply toast the nuts to enhance their sweet and savory flavor, and shave the cauliflower as thinly as possible with a sharp knife or mandoline. The nutrient and fiber-rich vegetable retains its satisfying crunch while yielding to some of the more delicate flavors of the herbs and spices.

Table of Contents
  1. Shaved Cauliflower Salad Ingredients
    1. For the Salad
    2. For the Dressing
  2. How to Make this Shaved Cauliflower and Chickpea Salad Recipe
    1. Prep the Ingredients, Mix, and Chill
    2. Assemble and Serve
  3. Ways to Mix it Up
  4. What to serve with Shaved Cauliflower Salad
  5. More Raw Vegetable Salad Recipes
  6. Moroccan-Style Shaved Cauliflower and Chickpea Salad Recipe
Ingredients for shaved cauliflower salad including cauliflower, pistachios, vinegar, honey, olive oil, ras el hanout, salt, pepper, chickpeas, scallions, dried apricots, and parsley.

Shaved Cauliflower Salad Ingredients

Raw cauliflower is rich in nutrients and antioxidants and–IMO!–is an unsung hero when it comes to salads as it brings so much delicious crunch and texture. The mild, almost nutty flavor means it can carry a lot of big, punchy dressings or accompaniments. You’ll need:

For the Salad

  • Shelled Pistachios are lightly toasted (so they don’t lose their bright green hue) in a dry skillet and roughly chopped. Add them at the end, so they retain their crunch.
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to round off the dressing. One teaspoon of each may sound like a lot, but the cauliflower can take it!  
  • Raw Cauliflower is broken into florets and shaved very thinly on a mandoline. You can also use a sharp knife for this task.
  • Chickpeas bring protein and sustenance to the party, and as they are the canned type—no overnight soaking is required! However, if you want to make chickpeas from scratch we have you covered.
  • Scallions subtly bring the aromatics without overpowering the flavors. The cauliflower, chickpeas, and scallion whites are tossed in the dressing and popped into the fridge for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. The scallion greens are added at the end. 
  • Dried apricots bring sweetness and chewiness. They are chopped and stirred in just before serving, as they lose their beautiful bright orange color if you allow them to sit in the dressing for too long. 
  • Flat-leaf parsley leaves are chopped and added to bring freshness and brightness to the finished salad. 

For the Dressing

  • White wine vinegar is the main component in the dressing, almost giving a pickled flavor, which works well against the raw cauliflower. 
  • Honey brings sweetness to the tart dressing. Use a high-quality variety, like Greek Alfa honey from our shop.
  • Extra-virgin olive oil is whisked in to help emulsify and add a smoothness to the acidity. You can use any high-quality extra virgin variety you have on hand, or stock up at our shop. 
  • Ras el hanout, the Moroccan spice blend, is whisked to add a mild heat and layers of spiced flavor. Two teaspoons are added (as the vinegar can take a lot of flavor).
A close up of a shaved cauliflower salad on a plate with a fork with another in the background.

How to Make this Shaved Cauliflower and Chickpea Salad Recipe

For the best flavor, give this salad time in your fridge to soak up the dressing—at least 30 minutes, but you can start 3 hours in advance if you’d like. Here are the steps:

Prep the Ingredients, Mix, and Chill

  • Toast the nuts. In a dry medium skillet over medium heat, add 1 cup raw shelled pistachios. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the nuts are lightly toasted, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool. Once cooled, roughly chop and set aside. Pistachios being toasted in a skillet.
  • Make the dressing. In a large salad bowl, whisk together ⅔ cup white wine vinegar and 1 tablespoon honey. Whisk in ¼ cup olive oil until smooth, along with 2 teaspoons ras el hanout, 1 teaspoon salt, and ¾ teaspoon pepper (it may seem like a lot of dressing, but the chickpeas soak it up). The dressing for the shaved cauliflower salad in a bowl with a whisk.
  • Prep the ingredients. Drain and rinse one (15-ounce) can of chickpeas. Thinly slice 4 scallions and set aside the white and green parts in two separate piles. Chop enough dried apricots to yield ¾ cup and enough parsley leaves to yield ⅓ cup.
  • Shave the cauliflower. Trim the bottom thick stem of 1 large head of cauliflower. Discard the leaves, and break into large florets. Slice the florets as thin as possible (no thicker than ⅛-inch), preferably using a mandoline. Add the shaved cauliflower (and any tiny florets or crumbs of cauliflower) to the bowl with the dressing, along the chickpeas and scallion white parts (reserving the dark green parts for serving). Toss to coat. Cover and transfer to the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (up to 3 hours) to allow the flavors to meld.Cauliflower florets bing shaved with a mandoline slicer on a cutting board next to a bowl with some shaved cauliflower.

Assemble and Serve

  • Assemble the salad. Before serving, gently fold in the pistachios, reserved scallions, dried apricots, and parsley leaves. Season to taste with salt and black pepper and sprinkle the surface of the salad with a generous amount of black pepper and ras el hanout. Serve immediately. An overhead photo of a shaved cauliflower salad in a serving bowl. Next to this is a set of wooden serving utensils on a cloth napkin.

Ways to Mix it Up

This shaved cauliflower salad recipe is easily adaptable, so you can swap out some ingredients to suit your taste or what’s available in your fridge, pantry, or store. Here are some ideas for alternatives and substitutes:

  • Raw shelled pistachios: You can use roasted shelled pistachios instead, but as they are usually salted, the lightly salted variety is best. And make sure to taste the salad at the end, as you may not need to add extra. Alternatively, use toasted pine nuts, walnuts, or chopped toasted almonds. 
  • Scallions: Chives will bring a similar aromatic flavor. Chop the chives into 1-inch pieces so they don’t get lost in the salad.
  • White wine vinegar:  Use any light vinegar, such as white balsamic, champagne vinegar, or apple cider vinegar.  
  • Ras el hanout: Cumin is a great replacement that goes well with the Moroccan theme, but as it has a strong flavor, you only need ¼ teaspoon in the dressing. However, ras el hanout is a wonderful blend to add to your spice drawer. Not only is it great in salads like this one but you can also use it in recipes like Fish Kofta Balls or Moroccan Chicken.
  • Dried apricots: Substitute with golden raisins. 
  • Flat-leaf parsley: Cilantro leaves can be used instead, but only ¼ cup so the flavor is not too overpowering. 
An overhead photo of a shaved cauliflower salad.

What to serve with Shaved Cauliflower Salad

Any lamb dish, such as Orange Harissa Lamb Chops, will go exceptionally well with this salad, as the acidity of the vinegar-forward dressing and the sweetness of the apricots and pistachios cut through the richness of the fatty meat.

The cauliflower and chickpea salad would also be great to serve in small bowls alongside this delicious Easy Moroccan Lamb Stew.

It’s also a crowd-pleasing salad for a summer cookout or party! A crisp, cold glass of Sauvignon Blanc pairs surprisingly well with this salad, as the tartness of the wine against the acidity of the dressing will make the wine taste fruitier and be a perfect accompaniment. 

More Raw Vegetable Salad Recipes

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Try Our Ras el Hanout!

All-natural blend of warming spices including turmeric, allspice, cumin, ginger, and more. 

a bottle of ras el hanout from the mediterranean dish.
  • Toast the nuts. In a dry medium skillet over medium heat, add the shelled pistachios. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the nuts are lightly toasted, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board to cool. Once cooled, roughly chop and set aside.

  • Make the dressing. In a large salad bowl, combine the white wine vinegar and honey. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until smooth. Whisk in 2 teaspoons ras el hanout, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper (it may seem like a lot of dressing, but the chickpeas soak it up).

  • Prep the cauliflower. Trim off the cauliflower’s thick base and discard along with the leaves. Use your hands or the tip of your knife to break them into large florets. Slice the florets as thin as possible–ideally no thicker than ⅛-inch, preferably using a mandoline.

  • Mix and rest. Add the shaved cauliflower (and any tiny florets or crumbs of cauliflower) to the bowl with the dressing, along with the chickpeas and scallion white parts (reserving the dark green parts for serving). Toss to coat. Cover and transfer to the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (up to 3 hours) to allow the flavors to meld.

  • Assemble the salad. Before serving, gently fold in the pistachios, remaining scallions, dried apricots, and parsley. Season to taste with salt and black pepper, and sprinkle the surface of the salad with a generous amount of black pepper and ras el hanout. Serve immediately.

Calories: 279.4kcalCarbohydrates: 24.8gProtein: 6.9gFat: 18.7gSaturated Fat: 2.5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3.8gMonounsaturated Fat: 11.5gSodium: 36.4mgPotassium: 746.9mgFiber: 5.8gSugar: 15.2gVitamin A: 1042.7IUVitamin C: 53.6mgCalcium: 74.5mgIron: 2.4mg