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Cauliflower leaves used as salad greens

Cauliflower Leaf Salad with Creamy Dressing

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  • Vinegar. Stacy used ¼ cup white wine vinegar. You could sub whatever vinegar you have on hand.
  • Milk. ¼ cup.
  • Mayonnaise. ¾ cup. 
  • Poppy seeds. 2 tablespoons. While we’re normally all about substitutions, poppy seeds are pretty essential to this recipe. Feel free to experiment without them, but if you don’t have them, Stacy suggests honey mustard or blue cheese dressings might be good alternatives.
  • Sugar. 2 tablespoons. 
  • Salt. ½ teaspoon.
  • Dry mustard. ½ teaspoon. If you don’t have dried mustard, use bottled mustard and add until you get a flavor you like.


  • Cauliflower leaves. Enough to fill a 4-quart bowl when chopped. More or less is fine too, but you’ll want to adjust the amount of dressing.
  • Dried cranberries. You can substitute dried cherries or another tart fruit if needed.
  • Sunflower seeds. Roasted pecans, almonds or another nut could also work.


  1. Trim the leaves off the thick ribs. Set the ribs aside — you could pickle them or make them into a dip.

  2. Stack the leaves and roll them in into “cigars.”

  3. Position your knife perpendicular to the cigars and make narrow slices. This should net you some nice, thin ribbons of leaves. (Stacy compared her technique to a chiffonade, for a visual on how to do this, check out a video from Martha Stewart at the end of this post.)

  4. Stir, shake or whisk the dressing ingredients together.

  5. Use your hands to massage the dressing into the leaves. This will soften them (the oil dissolves the waxy covering on the leaf, and the massaging damages cells just enough to make them more supple and less tough, as J. Kenji Lopez-Alt explains on Serious Eats)

  6. Add the dried cranberries and sunflower seeds.

  7. Play with the amount of dressing and additional dried cranberries and sunflower seeds until you get a ratio you like.


Enjoy the salad as a side dish or make it a meal by adding chickpeas, chicken breast, eggs, or whatever protein sounds good to you. Stacy said it was also great with toast.