Pesto Cauliflower & Potato Salad + Salad Samurai Giveaway

Backyard Buffalo Ranch Caesar Salad - Salad SamuraiIf I was exiled to a desert island and was only allowed to bring cookbooks from two or three authors, the books of Terry Hope Romero would definitely be on my list. You may be asking yourself – why are you being exiled and what sort of strange punishment would involve cookbook requirements? Let’s not quibble about the who-did-whats and why-on-earths… The point here is that when it comes to cookbook authors, Terry Hope Romero is well loved in my household.

To name a few, I’ve raved about Veganomicon, Vegan Eats World, and Viva Vegan (which is probably still my all-time favorite). So when I heard Terry was releasing a book devoted to salads, I could hardly wait to get my greedy fingers on it.

Salad Samurai - Terry Hope RomeroSalad Samurai includes 100 meal-worthy salads. These aren’t the kind of salads that leave you hungry an hour later. These are stick-to-your-ribs dinnertime salads that include dishes like Tempeh Reubenesque Salad, Coconut Samosa Potato Salad, and Asparagus Pad Thai Salad. Plus, there are all kinds of dressings and add-ons like Roasted Hemp Seed Parmesan and Coconut Bacony Bits.

This book came at just the right time. With a farmers market exploding with summer’s riches, I’m going to be very busy. I’ve only just begun with Salad Samurai, but here are a few of the things I’ve made so far:

Grilled Kale Salad - Salad SamuraiI made this Grilled Kale Salad with Spicy Lentils, which uses kale that has been marinated in coconut milk and lime juice. It’s topped with lentils, onions, and tomatoes for a warm take on kale salad. (This recipe is available on Chic Vegan.)

Lentil Pate Banh Mi Salad Rolls  - Salad SamuraiI never would have considered using a lentil pâté for rice paper rolls, but these Lentil Pâté Banh Mi Salad Rolls showed me the error of my ways. The black lentil and walnut pâté gives savory depth while cucumber, carrots, lettuce, cilantro, radish, and scallions balance it. I especially liked the added vinegary crunch of pickle. I made these for lunches for a couple of days, and they are surprisingly filling! David is not a fan of rice paper, and so I packed his lunch with the black lentil pâté and crackers for a snack, which he really enjoyed.

Backyard Buffalo Ranch Caesar Salad - Salad SamuraiMy very favorite thing I’ve made is this Backyard Buffalo Ranch Caesar Salad. It involves several steps – making Back at the Ranch Dressing, Red-Hot Saucy Tofu, and Classic Croutons – along with chopping lettuce, celery, carrots, and cabbage. However, the results are totally worth it. Every bite gives you something new to mmm over. The hot-out-of-the-oven croutons are tinged with the flavors of lemon and garlic while the tofu is tossed in Frank’s Red Hot Sauce.

I made the full recipe – enough for two meals for two – and found myself on Day 3 sad that it was gone. So after eating it for two meals in a row, I made it again! It is one craveable salad. (You can find the recipe over at The Sweet Life, where Sarah is also offering a copy of the book for a giveaway!)

Pesto Cauliflower & Potato SaladI had a chance to pull out the grill pan for this Pesto Cauliflower & Potato Salad. Grilled cauliflower along with fresh green peas and boiled potatoes are tossed in a basil pesto. This fresh salad would be wonderful for a summer potluck or even served warm for a main course-style salad. I like that the pine nuts are toasted and added on top, as opposed to blending in the pesto itself. Since pine nuts are on the pricey side, I like really being able to see them and taste them, as opposed to them just falling into the background of the dish.

The publisher of Salad Samurai, Da Capo Press, is letting me share the recipe for the Pesto Cauliflower & Potato Salad with you today, along with one of the photos from the book (shown below). The photos in Salad Samurai were taken by V.K. Rees, the same person who shot the photographs for Isa Does It. I love her style and the way her photos have an action-shot quality as you can see for yourself.

Pesto Cauliflower & Potato Salad - Salad Samurai

Pesto Cauliflower & Potato Salad

45 minutes

Serving Size: 3 to 4

Pesto Cauliflower & Potato Salad

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


  • 1/2 pound cauliflower
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 pound waxy yellow or white potatoes, unpeeled
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen green peas
  • 1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts or toasted pine nuts
  • Basil Pesto Dressing
  • 1 1/2 cups 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
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. 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.
  2. Peel and dice the potato into 1/2 inch pieces, transfer to a large saucepan, cover with 4 inches of cold water, and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Reduce th 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 1/4 cup of cooking water, then drain the potatoes and peas and rinse with cold water. Add these vegetables to the cauliflower.
  3. For the Basil Pesto Dressing
  4. 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 ten minutes to blend flavors. Serve the salad slightly chilled or at room temperature. Garnish each serving with a few nuts.


From Salad Samurai by Terry Hope Romero. Reprinted with permission from Da Capo Lifelong, © 2014

The folks at Da Capo Press are also offering one copy of Salad Samurai for a giveaway. The giveaway is open to residents of the United States and Canada. The winner will be chosen at random. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received a complimentary copy of Salad Samurai from the publisher, but the thoughts and opinions are totally my own.  This post contains Amazon affiliate links.


  1. I love arugula in salads! But really I like all greens so it’s hard to truly pick a favorite. I’ve had my eye on this cookbook for a while – that buffalo caesar salad sounds insane! Thanks for the opportunity to win :)

  2. Can’t wait to try the Pesto Cauliflower & Potato Salad recipe!!! Thanks for sharing!!!

  3. My favorite right now is arugula but I’m also a big fan of spinach and Kale.

  4. I love spinach in salads!

  5. Arugulal

  6. My favorite leafy green in salads is probably kale, especially when it’s chopped small and doused in a delicious homemade dressing.

  7. I’m loving arugula right now!

  8. I am a romaine fan in my salads. Or spinach if it is super farm fresh.

  9. Spinach!

  10. While I appreciate spinach, arugula, and kale in a good salad, my go-to is always romaine. So crispy, refreshing, and easy. Love it!

    P.S. That Backyard Buffalo Ranch Caesar Salad is making me drool bigtime!! =]

  11. butter lettuce! they dont call it butter for nothing 😉

  12. Mixed baby greens and baby kale.

  13. Gutted to not be able to enter the comp. due to being an outsider, but at least I’ve won this delicious sounding recipe to try!

  14. My favorite leafy greens for salads are mesclun mix and arugula

  15. Purnima Barve says:

    My favorite green in salad is arugula.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Romaine lettuce is my fave green in salads!

  17. I love salads with mixed greens so that I get different flavors and textures, but raddichio makes me really happy. Thanks for the chance to win Terry’s book! I eat a salad almost every day and I could use some new ideas.

  18. Lydia Claire says:

    I really like the crunchiness of romaine hearts. Iceberg of course but romaine is more nutritious.

  19. I think Romaine is my favorite leafy green for salads. But I like it interspersed with dill!

  20. Anonymous says:

    Favourite leafy green: Whatever is freshest at the market or in my CSA! I don’t play favourites :)

  21. acookinthemaking says:

    Ahh I love it when a new cookbook comes out and my feed is full of awesome reviews, especially when they include a recipe from the book! It totally whets my appetite (literally and figuratively!) to see what else is in there :)

    My favorite salad green changes with the season. Right now I am loving arugula and spinach; in winter I often prefer kale and romaine.

  22. Carole Porter says:

    I am a pretty simple salad gal- butter lettuce and spinach work for me.

  23. Romaine is my fave! Thanks for the chance to win 😀

  24. I love cool, crispy romaine in a salad.

  25. I like romaine, crunchy and leafy all in one.

  26. I really like arugula.

  27. I like fresh herbs in salad – lots of ’em!

  28. I love the sound of the backyard buffalo ranch Caesar salad. Divine-ness in a bowl!

  29. Corrine says:

    Spinach is always good.

  30. Kale, spinach, arugula — it’s all good to me! :)

  31. I love curly lettuce or baby greens

  32. I’m so excited about this book, I ordered my copy yesterday so it should get there soon. I’m a very recent salad convert and it’ll be arriving at the perfect time!

  33. I like spinach in my salads!

  34. Becca F says:

    I’m a big fan of baby beet greens

  35. Baby spinach is my fave leafy green!

  36. Kale or chard with tahini dressing and raisins!

  37. Every recipes I’ve seen from this book looks incredible. One way or another I will have this on my bookshelf…

  38. baby kale

  39. Silly but … iceberg lettuce!

  40. Lately I’ve been all over spinach but it’s gotta be kale when there’s sweet potatoes involved. Thanks for the contest!

  41. Thanks for this wonderful giveaway !!!

    My favorite leafy greens is definitely baby spinach and kale…miamm !!!

  42. Jennie L. says:

    Got to be spinach or frisée. Haven’t gotten a taste for arugula yet!

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